Summer is in full swing, and that means I am getting a lot of e-mails regarding humidity and training. Just about anywhere you are running right now you are likely experiencing heat and humidity. In my opinion, humidity is one of the most difficult factors to deal with as a runner. I personally experienced this at Grandma’s Marathon in June. It took me down. And it took me down hard and fast.
Unfortunately, when humidity rears it’s ugly head, there is very little we can do in the midst of a run. However, there are a few things you can do to prepare as well as a few things you can do to make running more tolerable.
First, remember that it will get better and you will come out on the other end, a stronger runner. While running in muggy conditions can be very difficult, our bodies do adjust over time and will handle the weather more efficiently. You likely won’t be running at your normal pace or feel as great as you do under perfect conditions, but your body will begin to deal better after approximately two weeks.
If you allow yourself to slow down and work through the conditions, your body will adapt and you will actually find that you become a stronger runner.
Slow it down. As I mentioned before, you will need to slow your pace down. Be patient with your body. If you try pushing it too hard, it will revolt and give in. If you need to do a six mile training run and you try to push at your normal pace, you might fall short of your planned mileage. It is much better to slow down and get those miles in. You will likely feel much better about your training. Falling short of mileage often leads to frustration. Running your miles at a slower pace will give you a sense of accomplishment once they are done. Remember that slower running has many great benefits for your training. It will by no means destroy your pace.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Hydration during the hot and humid season is essential. You will sweat a lot under these conditions. Proper fluid intake is essential to get through all of training. Keep in mind that hydration begins days before a run and not just the 24 hours prior to one single run. It is essential to aim for maintaining euhydration, which is a normal state of hydration; meaning neither dehydrated or over hydrated. Aim for light yellow to straw colored urine as a way to ensure this status.
If you are having trouble finding a hydration system for your run. I highly recommend the Simple Hydration bottle. It hooks to your shorts or running belt and you will quickly forget it is even there. I am a big fan!
Consider retaining some water. If you see that the forecast calls for hot and humid conditions, consuming something salty the night before can be helpful for retaining water. Something like chicken noodle soup, soy sauce, or even pizza has a high salt content. This can help facilitate some levels of water retention for your long run or event the following day.
Be patient and give yourself some leniency. Some days are better than others. Some runs are most definitely better than others. If your body isn’t feeling it, give yourself the option to slow it down, take walk breaks, or cut it short. Missing a run or two is not the end of the world. It won’t hurt your training or make you a slower runner. But it could keep you safe and healthy. Always listen to your body and do what is best for you.
How do you prefer to deal with summer running conditions?
A special best of luck to Chicago Rock n Roll runners this weekend. An extra special shout out to Pamela and Elaine. Super proud of your hard and smart work!