Does the impact of temperature on running performance increase with distance? This would mean something like for a 5k maybe a decrease of 3% in avg pace but for a half marathon a decrease of 8% avg pace. These numbers are just random values to try and make the question clear. Also Im asking in respect to the hot side of the ideal 50-60F running temps.

1 Answer 1


Yes, it does. Higher temperature acts as a catalyst when it's comes to your body's energy expenses. Your body does spend more calories, and loses energy faster compared to when it's cold. Lowering of the pace would result in maintaining the balance with high temperature environments. I don't know the exact figures, but on a very hot day performance degrades on a long run. Short sprints may not be affected by the temperature though.

Having said that, 50-60 F would be average or ideal temperature for the body while working out. What I said above applies to 90F and above.

  • Thanks, can you embellish on how the higher temperature acts as a catalyst or how it requires more energy that makes it more of an impact for the more time spent running?
    – Jason
    Oct 8, 2016 at 23:44
  • Of course, you may like to read and interesting study, but the part that you'd be interested more in would be the "Heat Acclimation: The Battle for Blood" mensfitness.com/training/endurance/…
    – xCodeZone
    Oct 9, 2016 at 5:14
  • So blood is diverted to cool your body so less blood is available to carry blood to your muscles, but this would mean an even decrease in pace across distance for constant temperature. If running in the heat burns energy faster then this seems to imply that the same pace should be achievable across temperature differences until reaching this energy limit which I think normally would be a marathon's worth. Are these your two points?
    – Jason
    Oct 10, 2016 at 0:09
  • When you say 'Yes it does' do you mean yes your pace does diminish more for longer distances than shorter ones? In other words do you mean, two miles in the heat can be very close to the same pace for two miles in ideal 60F weather? Whereas 10 miles would have a much greater impact on average pace?
    – Jason
    Oct 10, 2016 at 0:12
  • Yes, in case of 10 miles run, heat would take a toll on your energy level, and to preserve energy, cutting down of pace is required. In shorter distances heat may not affect speed, as your you'd have adequate energy to deal with both conditions for a specific period of time. Energy is directly linked with time and distance has correlation with time and pace, so either cutting down of pace, or reducing the distance is required if you want to achieve certain goal with a particular energy limit.
    – xCodeZone
    Oct 10, 2016 at 0:20

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