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Effect of cold and wind on racing (Read 146 times)


No more marathons

    I've read much on the effects of high temperature on racing, specifically at the marathon distance.  But hadn't really seen, or experiecned much on the oposite extream - until this weekend.

    I was initially disappointed with my race this past weekend until I started reading others comments.  The course itself was much more difficult than I had expected (about 2/3 rough gravel roads with ruts and lots of ups and downs) but also the weather was not too inviting.  Air temp was about 25 degrees F, with a 9 to 15 mph wind, giving a wind chill of single digits.  It was so cold that water and fruit on the course froze.

    So, my question is to what extent cold (and windy) temperatures have on race performance?  Any studies out there?


    Feeling the growl again

      I think you will find that people respond differently to this.  My personal experience has been that performance will somewhat deteriorate when it is mid-30s or below, regardless of how I dress.  If I run bare-legged below high 30s there is a bigger effect; if I wear tights I am somewhat slower but the effect is less pronounced.

       

      But I got trounced last month by a guy wearing nothing but shorts on a breezy 10F day, so YMMV.

      "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand

       

        When I searched for cold-weather information for runners or other athletes a number of years ago, most of what I found was for military-related work. Researchers apparently don't think that runners run below about 40F or there's no effect. Wink

         

        For us (southcentral Alaska), +25F would be about right, maybe a tad on the warm side right now. Wind is always going to provide some resistance - laws of physics. Up here, temperatures are usually confounded with snow conditions. (I'd be happier with colder temperatures right now.)

         

        When to worry about cold is when it's freezing your water bottle of what was warm fluid, and your clif bars try to break your teeth. Wink

         

        That said, iirc, from reading Performing in Extreme Environments (Lawrence Armstrong), energy requirements (? can't remember what the Y axis was for sure) were least about 40F and increased whether colder or warmer. BUT there were very few data points (4?) on that graph so I question the exact point where the minimum occurred.

         

        What I have found is that I have to keep my legs warm to keep running well. But my core will overheat if I wear too much. If you were running on rutted surfaces, then having warm legs for agility would be really useful. For me, I may go through a couple stages of warming up - maybe at 30 min, then 1-2 hr or so. But if I don't have the layers on, I can't move well enough to warm up.

         

        We've had people run in shorts both in a recent race (near freezing, iirc) and a snowshoe race about 8 yr ago.

         

        In summer, we've started races near freezing in shorts and t, maybe light wind shell - but the surrounding ground isn't a cold sink then as it is in winter.

         

        Note: Temperature and wind are different things that are dealt with differently. Temperatures are dealt with by insulation and wind by windproof shell. Thick fleece insulating layers may still allow wind to get through.

        "So many people get stuck in the routine of life that their dreams waste away. This is about living the dream." - Cave Dog


        No more marathons

          AKTrail - the wind in this case added some interesting twists.  Running with the wind you became warm(ish), but running into the wind all the sweat that had build up then froze.  The last three miles of this marathon were directly into the wind.  When I finished my hat was stiff with frozen sweat.  I had trouble speaking because my face was so cold.  Fun stuff.

           

          My initial plan was to ware shorts and two layers of tech shirts (one winter underarmor).  On my way out the door I added a third shirt and long running pants - just to keep warm while waiting for the race to start.  Thank goodness for those last minute adjustments.  I don't believe I saw more than a handful out of 1,000 in shorts - and they looked none too comfortable.  There was one point about 8 miles in when I briefly thought about losing the pants, but a turn into the wind quickly dissuaded me from that.

           

          Spaniel - I had first thought about tights but then figured I'd go with shorts - the running pants were a last minute addition, and they did flap in the breeze a little Big grin, but the alternative would have been much worse.  On that same note, over the course of a marathon does the effort required in bending the knee, and the corresponding tighness of compression tights add up to any noticable decrease in time?


          MoBramExam

            Poster does not guarantee accuracy of calculator, but interesting to play with:

             

            http://www.runworks.com/calculator.html

             




            Chasing the bus

              My limited experience with temps correlates to 40F being ideal temp to work hard. Below that and I need insulation, above that and I can't get naked enough, but I grew up here in south-central AK. Wind is much worse than cold. It not only chills, but pushes back, of course. I'm also always surprised at how much a rough surface can slow you down.

               

              Speaking of which, AKTrail,...thinking of running   http://www.willowrunningcompany.com/no-canoe-loop-11-miler saturday for my long run. Got any idea what that trail will be like this weekend?

              “You're either on the bus or off the bus.”
              Tom Wolfe, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test

                Poster does not guarantee accuracy of calculator, but interesting to play with:

                 

                http://www.runworks.com/calculator.html

                <chuckle> That calculator says anything below +60F can be run at the same pace.

                 

                Obviously, they did not have Alaskans in their data set. Wink

                "So many people get stuck in the routine of life that their dreams waste away. This is about living the dream." - Cave Dog

                  My limited experience with temps correlates to 40F being ideal temp to work hard. Below that and I need insulation, above that and I can't get naked enough, but I grew up here in south-central AK. Wind is much worse than cold. It not only chills, but pushes back, of course. I'm also always surprised at how much a rough surface can slow you down.

                   

                  Speaking of which, AKTrail,...thinking of running   http://www.willowrunningcompany.com/no-canoe-loop-11-miler saturday for my long run. Got any idea what that trail will be like this weekend?

                  Yep. I was peeling layers at +40F today. Wasn't expecting it *that* warm with no wind where I was.

                   

                  No-Canoe Loop Race. Trail conditions for winter races can always be a surprise, esp. if there's a snowstorm - or worse, rain - the day before. Right now (Feb 17 to now), most of the swampy trails that I've been on (Iditarod, some nameless trail near Willow, and one out in Moose Range near Palmer) have been in decent condition - best all winter. However, there's a warming trend with rain forecast on Friday. This isn't good. But regardless of weather, there can always be overflow. I'm not sure if they just depend on usage for packing the trails or if they can groom via snowmachine. One of the RD's mushes, so she might prep the trail, even if they can't use motorized equipment.

                   

                  [Edittted: Forecast has changed (no surprise) with possibility of snow and no rain in the forecast - and that will likely change. Also, they can use snow machines there, so I expect the trail may be groomed.]

                   

                  I was talking with the RD's a couple weeks ago, and they suggested if there's a lot of bad overflow, they would reroute part of the race over an upland trail. I doubt that they've checked trail conditions recently as he just won the foot division of Iditarod Trail Invitational (1.5 days before the next guy) (he got home a couple days ago)  and she's been helping with entering data for them. I wouldn't expect them to check until closer to the weekend since things can change so rapidly.

                   

                  Mother Nature has been so kind to the recent races, esp. the Iditarod races, it wouldn't surprise me for her to get nasty, but maybe she'll continue to play nice until the mushers are finished.

                   

                  I may see you on Saturday.

                  "So many people get stuck in the routine of life that their dreams waste away. This is about living the dream." - Cave Dog

                    AKTrail - the wind in this case added some interesting twists.  Running with the wind you became warm(ish), but running into the wind all the sweat that had build up then froze.  The last three miles of this marathon were directly into the wind.  When I finished my hat was stiff with frozen sweat.  I had trouble speaking because my face was so cold.  Fun stuff.

                    ...

                    That's fairly standard. Wind blows in various directions.

                     

                    Seirus Quick Draw is what I use a lot in cold temperatures - the face protection is lighter material than the top. It's breathable so needs a windproof hood with it if the wind is blowing 50mph. I can use the face mask or not, defrost it if it freezes. It's probably overkill for you, but I've used it a lot the last couple years.

                    "So many people get stuck in the routine of life that their dreams waste away. This is about living the dream." - Cave Dog


                    No more marathons

                      That's fairly standard. Wind blows in various directions.

                       

                      Seirus Quick Draw is what I use a lot in cold temperatures - the face protection is lighter material than the top. It's breathable so needs a windproof hood with it if the wind is blowing 50mph. I can use the face mask or not, defrost it if it freezes. It's probably overkill for you, but I've used it a lot the last couple years.

                      AK - I can only hope and pray that I never need such protection.Big grin


                      MoBramExam

                        <chuckle> That calculator says anything below +60F can be run at the same pace.

                         

                        Obviously, they did not have Alaskans in their data set. Wink

                         

                        Agree!  Personal experience of racing much better at 40° than 60°.

                         



                        ilanarama


                        DREAMCRUSHER

                          Headwinds are the absolute worst.

                          PRs: 10 1:12:59 (4/2014) 13.1 1:35:55 (10/2013) 26.2 3:23:31 (12/2013)

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                          bloggy stuff at http://ilanarama.dreamwidth.org

                          spinach


                            <chuckle> That calculator says anything below +60F can be run at the same pace.

                             

                            Obviously, they did not have Alaskans in their data set. Wink

                             

                            It also says that 0 is not a valid temperature. Minnesotans are left out also.

                              I have raced very well in the 20's before (HM -- I don't think it would have gone nearly as well at 5k or 10k), but wind is a crusher for me.

                              - Joe

                              We are fragile creatures on collision with our judgment day.