We have previously reported that, following continuous exercise, a prolonged elevated plateau of esophageal temperature (Tes) was directly related to the Tes at the time of cutaneous vasodilation (Thdil) during exercise. In order to investigate the hypothesis that the factors which result in an increase of the post-exercise Thdil and define the post-exercise Tes elevation are related to pre-exercise Tes, nine healthy, young [24.0 (1.9) years], non-training males rested at 29 degrees C, 50% humidity for > 1 h (control). They then completed three successive cycles of 15 min treadmill running at 70% maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max) followed by 30 min rest. Esophageal, rectal (Tre) and skin (Tsk) temperatures and forearm cutaneous blood flow were recorded at 5-s intervals throughout. Laser-Doppler flowmetry of forearm skin blood flow was used to identify the Thdil during exercise. Pre-exercise Tes was 36.74 (0.25) degrees C and post-exercise Tes fell to stable and significant (P < 0.05) elevations above pre-exercise values at 37.22 (0.27) degrees C, 37.37 (0.27) degrees C and 37.48 (0.26) degrees C following each successive work bout respectively. Correspondingly, Thdil during each work bout rose in proportion to, and was not different than, the post-exercise Tes in the following recovery [37.20(0.23) degrees C, 37.41 (0.24) degrees C and 37.58 (0.24) degrees C]. Although the increases were less with each successive exercise bout, the differences between each exercise bout, in terms of post-exercise Tes and Thdil values, were significant (P < 0.05). These results reinforce our previous observations of elevations in Thdil and post-exercise Tes after a single exercise bout and lead to the tentative conclusions that (1) pre-exercise Tes has a direct influence on Thdil and post-exercise Tes, and (2) the exercise-induced increase of Thdil persists into recovery, influencing post-exercise thermal recovery.