Heat Adaption for a Rookie Marathoner

Editor's note: While the top athletes in sport are using heat adaption for incremental gains, amateur athletes are also realizing how it can boost their own performance. Age-group athlete Nikyallan Soares Rodrigues (Instagram @nikyallan) shares how he incorporated heat training with CORE into the preparation for his first-ever marathon.  



Physician and Professor of Human Physiology Nikyallan Soares Rodrigues has always taken a keen interest in the human body and its ability to adapt to new conditions and overcome perceived physiological sensations of pain. It’s no surprise then that this amateur triathlete began to hear the siren song of his first marathon calling – and not just any race –  the famed New York City Marathon. 

November weather conditions in New York City vary widly, so Nikyallen opted to train using measures he could actively control. Living in a hot city, he opted for indoor training sessions two times a week for more dynamically-controlled heat sessions, both on the treadmill and bike trainer in the 12 weeks leading up to the race.  



The starting temperature of the race was 13° C/55° F and ended at 19° C/ 66° F with humidity of 80%. Nikyallen monitored and kept his core temperature as low as possible by wearing light-colored clothing, an Omius Headband, and wetting his head with water at every hydration station. He observed that his core temperature initially rose, but stabilized and dropped until the end of the race, while he maintined the same heart rate.   

Nikyallen reached the finishline 3:14:37 later, without cramps, excessive fatigue or heat strain, and while earning his first marathon finisher medal. He now sets his sights on the Chicago Marathon.  

[Editor’s note: Nikyallan’s temperature plot is typical for a heat adapted athlete running a marathon and using good cooling strategies. There is an initial spike in core temp and Heat Strain Index, but as the strong sweat response kicks in, core temp declines. The cooling measures kept heat Strain Index below 3.0, which for most people means there is little or no performance loss].