Continuous thermoregulatory responses to mass-participation distance running in heat

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2006 May;38(5):803-10. doi: 10.1249/01.mss.0000218134.74238.6a.


Purpose: To continuously measure core temperature (T(c)) and heart rate(HR), and quantify fluid balance during a 21-km mass-participation road racein warm, humid environmental conditions.

Methods: Eighteen heat-acclimatized male soldiers ingested a telemetric Tc sensor on the evening prior to the race and wore an ambulatory T(c) data recorder and HR monitor during the race. Pre- to postrace changes in nude body mass quantified fluid balance.

Results: Environmental wet bulb globe temperature averaged 26.5 degrees C. All runners finished the race asymptomatic of heat illness in a mean +/- SD (range) time of 118 +/- 13 (105-146) min, corresponding to an average running speed of 10.8 +/- 1.1 (8.6-12.0) km.h(-1). All runners recorded peak T(c) > 39 degrees C; 56% (N = 10) > 40 degrees C; and 11% (N = 2) > 41 degrees C. Peak T(c) was 40.1 +/- 0.7 (39.3-41.7) degrees C at 86 +/- 36 (13-130) min, with T(c) 39.9 +/- 0.8 (38.3-41.7) degrees C at race finish. The magnitude of T(c) response was unrelated (P > 0.05) to running time or fluid balance (e.g., fluid intake, % dehydration). Cumulative heat strain index was 2790 +/- 1112 (1046-5144) units at race finish.

Conclusion: Ingestible telemetric temperature sensors demonstrated utility for continuous measurement of T(c) during mass-participation running. Successful application of this technology has highlighted the magnitude and duration of T(c) elevation that runners will voluntarily achieve during mass-participation distance races in heat and high humidity without medical consequence.

MeSH terms

  • Body Temperature Regulation / physiology*
  • Dehydration
  • Heart Rate
  • Hot Temperature*
  • Humans
  • Humidity
  • Male
  • Monitoring, Physiologic / instrumentation*
  • Running / physiology*
  • Singapore
  • Water-Electrolyte Balance / physiology