Rio 2016: Callum Hawkins trains in heat chamber for Olympics marathon

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Hawkins turns up the heat for Rio

Great Britain's top Olympics marathon hope Callum Hawkins believes training in a heat chamber in 35C heat and 80% humidity will give him an edge in Rio.

The Scot, 24, has been spending an hour at a time in the machine to simulate the conditions he could face in Brazil.

Having recently returned from a two-week training camp in Mallorca, he will top up his acclimatisation work before heading to Team GB's holding camp.

"It is usually the humidity which is the killer," Hawkins told BBC Scotland.

"Or the 'slow killer', as we call it. It is about trying to take it as easy as possible.

"There is no point in blasting it and then ruining yourself at the end.

"That is the problem with the heat. You feel fine at the start, but it will soon kick you in the head."

Paisley-born Hawkins finished eighth in this year's London Marathon - only his second attempt at the distance - in a new personal best of two hours 10 minutes 52 seconds and says he is hoping for a "top-20" finish in Rio.

He will be joined by older brother Derek, 26, and Tsegai Tewelde, a Glasgow-based Eritrean who claimed asylum in Britain in 2008, for the men's marathon on Sunday, 21 August, the last day of the Games, with a 09:30 start local time (13:30 BST).

GB male marathon runners at last four Games - time & position
2012 - London: Lee Merrion 2:17.00 (30th), Scott Overall 2:22.37 (61st)
2008 - Beijing:Dan Robinson 2:16.14 (24th)
2004 - Athens:Jon Brown 2:12.26 (4th), Dan Robinson 2:17.53 (23rd), Matthew O'Dowd 2:22.37 (50th)
2000- Sydney:Jon Brown 2:11.17 (4th), Keith Cullen 2:16.59 (19th), Mark Steinle 2:24.42 (56th)

"It is all about pacing," the younger Hawkins explained. "I found out the hard way when I was in Mallorca.

"I did a session and went at a pace that I would normally do back here. But it was lot hotter there and it caused me to 'pop'.

"But it was a great lesson to learn. This way, I can work out my pace and calculate what I need to run at certain temperatures."

Hawkins finished ninth in the half-marathon at the European Championships in Amsterdam earlier this month, a race run in relatively cool conditions.

However, he believes using the heat chamber at Glasgow University - under the supervision of Shannon Connolly, an exercise physiologist at the national agency Sportscotland - will provide a mental edge in Rio.

"It is not so much the acclimatisation," Hawkins explained. "Just getting used to it mentally and knowing this is normal in these type of conditions will help stop me panicking on the day.

Callum Hawkins runs in the recent European Championships half-marathon
Hawkins finished ninth in the recent European Championships half-marathon

"A huge part of running is mental - it is probably a 50/50 split. You can feel down and out but you are not actually."

Connolly says they have looked at the worst possible conditions Hawkins might face in Rio and tried to simulate the extremes - the high-end temperatures and high-end humidity.

"There are a number of physiological changes when Callum is exercising in the heat," Connolly said. "The more accustomed his body is, the lower his perceived rate of exertion will be.

"So that is one benefit, but also the mental aspect is really important. Knowing he has done this on a number of occasions before the big day is really important."

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