I may not be running right now, but I’ve heard quite a few comments from my running friends about the heat and humidity already. Doesn’t anyone remember the winter we just had? I know it was a long, cold winter and we aren’t used to it, but c’mon on! It’s only May and we are complaining about it being too warm? Sorry friends, it’s only going to get warmer from here. Let’s rejoice that we can wear less clothes and actually sweat. Soak it in and ring out that shirt! We’ll be complaining about the cold before we know it.
I do my best racing in cool weather. But regular running and training? I love summer. I don’t have to bundle up from head to toe in a million layers. I don’t have to worry about slipping on the ice. I can run at zero dark thirty and it looks like it’s the middle of the day.
But there’s no doubt, summer running is hard. It can make it feel like you need gills rather than lungs on even your easy paced runs. The warmer the weather, the harder your body has to work to keep you cool. Heart rates are higher and breathing is more rapid at your normal running pace. As your body heats up, blood is directed to the skin, to cool you off through sweating. This means less blood is available to transport oxygen to your muscles, making what usually is an easy effort, way harder.
So do you have to retreat to the climate controlled room with a treadmill once the hazy, hot and humid weather is here? Absolutely not (unless that’s your thing).
Here are 7 tips for running in the heat and humidity to keep you cool all summer long.
1. Run early. Morning temperatures are usually the coolest during the summer. It also will give you a break from the strongest hours of sunlight. It’s also the best time to see a hazy sunrise. You know I love my sunrises!
2. Less is best. Wear as little clothing as legally possible. Also stick to light colored, loose, wicking material clothing. Now is not the time for wearing all black or wearing cotton. Please, for the love of your skin, no cotton.
3. Wear a hat or visor. This will not only protect your skin from the sun, but it will also help to keep your face cool. Soaking the hat or visor in cold water before heading out the door can help to lower body temp and keep you cooler.
4. Slow down. Run for time and effort rather than distance and pace.
5. Start slow. A warm up prior to a run should always be done, but even more so when the temperatures are high. You want to gradually increase your heart rate rather than starting out too fast.
6. Hit the trails. When the temperatures rise, asphalt and concrete absorb heat and radiate it back into your face. Trail running usually offers shade from trees. It also forces you to slow down. Bonus if the trail has the perfect place to jump in a lake or river along the way.
7. Drink up. If you are running more than 75-90 minutes, carry a hand held water bottle or a hydration pack with you. Or stash water bottles along your intended route ahead of time if you don’t like carrying anything in your hands. Or plan your route along accessible drinking fountains.
What do you consider “hot” weather running?
What are your tips for running in the heat and humidity?