The lower leg of a woman crouching on grass and lacing her shoes

Spring Marathon

The Question

This question is from J.P., who's concerned about the heat of spring marathons:


“I was lucky enough to get a ballot place for the London Marathon. I'm over the moon and have already started training but a friend told me a horror story about how a few years ago they trained over winter then ended up really suffering on the day because it was so hot. I'm terrible in the heat! Any suggestions?”

Phil's Answer

Phil - running coach
Phil - Marathon coach and parkrun fan

“Yep, the annoying thing about spring marathons is that they happen just when the weather is starting to change. It can take a few weeks to acclimatise to warmer weather, so if things suddenly heat up on the big day then performance may be affected.

If you're taken unaware by this on the day then the best strategy is to accept that your performance will suffer a little and to slow down accordingly. This can be incredibly frustrating if you have a target. I would strongly suggest having a few targets for race day (do this regardless of the time of year). An "A goal" that you will achieve if everything (including the weather) goes right; a "B goal" that is more realistic and assumes not everything will be perfect; and a "C goal" that expects several things might not quite work out, but will still leave you feeling like you've achieved something. Make your targets realistic and you should cross the finish line smiling.”

Our Member's Answer

Janie in Gloucester has also had to face the heat in the past:

Janie - running hot

“This happened to me once so the next year I spent my winter and early spring training with too many clothes on. Of course on race day it was freezing... but I do feel it helped me handle the heat better. I definitely got more used to running warm.”

Cool advice, Janie.

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