Did you know that...

Valentin Belz 28. July 2022

...the ideal outdoor temperature for a new best time is surprisingly low?

You've probably noticed it over the past few days and weeks. The heat really affects your pace. It's almost impossible to run the same times as when it's cool and fresh. This is particularly because the body needs to cool down more in these hot temperatures and we lose more fluids through excessive sweating. As a result, we don’t have the energy required to “give it our all”.

This attracted the attention of scientists. They wanted to know what the ideal outdoor temperature would be for a new best time. The following findings emerged:

  1. The longer the distance or duration of the competition, the lower the ideal temperature. For a 5-km race, this lies at 15 degrees, for a 10-km race around 10 degrees and for a marathon, roughly 7.5 degrees.
  2. The higher the temperature, the greater the drop in performance. For example, at 25 degrees, elite runners are 6% slower on the marathon route, whereas recreational runners are 12-18% slower.

What can we learn from this?

  • Best times are run in cool temperatures. When it’s hot, you need to adjust your performance target.
  • The ideal seasons for new best times are spring and autumn. 
  • The summer months are suitable for trail and mountain running, where the focus is on the experience.
  • If you compete in races during the summer months, you should get your body used to the heat.
Foto: iStock.com/Sjale