The Olympic Games always stimulates debate and discussion around heat and performance.
Most elite long-distance runners choose to race at night or during the cooler spring and autumn months – the Olympics changes all that, forcing athletes to race when temperatures may be close to or even above 30°C, with high humidity. Long distance running in Beijing is going to be a very tough prospect, especially when one considers the added prospect of the pollution.
There are two key physiological factors that impact on every runner’s ability to perform in the heat: body size and acclimatization.
Body size is vital because there is evidence that smaller runners store less heat than larger runners.
This is because small runners produce …