Summer Running: Tips To Deal With Heat And Humidity

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.

Grandmas1

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.

Slow1

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.

Euhydration

Source: usada.com

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!

CherryFest6

Source: usada.com

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.

Euhydration2

This is how I feel the morning after eating sushi or pizza!

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!

16 thoughts on “Summer Running: Tips To Deal With Heat And Humidity

  1. I’ve started to run with two Simple Hydration bottles. I used a Flip Belt because it’s sturdier and I still don’t notice them. With a SpiBelt, there’s a bit more bounce, but nothing annoying and in this heat, I quickly go through the bottles.

    Before a race, I bring extra ice and ice myself. Every extra bit of relief helps!

  2. I like to find really shady trails or paths to run on! That way I’m staying out of the direct sunlight as much as possible. It helps me carry on because I can pretend its not as hot in the shade lol. I love your tip about eating something salty to retain water!

  3. Great tip on retaining water and thanks for a practical excuse to enjoy some pizza! Summer is my hardest running season. Snow and sub-zero temps I can work with, but heat and humidity is a brick wall. I try to get out early and cut them short when depletion starts setting in. Long swims help burn off that extra energy minus all the sweat and bugs!

  4. Living in south FL means year round running in the humidity. I also find it takes me longer to warm up when the % hits 70-80 and everything feels more achy at the start. Maybe it’s all in my head, but I definitely have to go the walk/jog/walk route for the first half mile or so before I can ease into a full run.

    • I cannot imagine running in that weather year round! I agree that it takes longer to settle in when it is really humid. Half of the time my mind is trying to talk me into going back home!

  5. Yesterday I did a 17-mile training run. I started at 5 am when it was still dark to try to get a few miles in before the sun came up. I cycled back to my car a couple of times to drop off my reflective gear, grab more fuel, and refill my water bottles. I carried an electrolyte drink as well as water (I have a Fitletic belt with two bottles attached, plus my Simple Hydration bottle I hook on the back.) Plus I stopped off at a couple of public restrooms to refill as well. Fortunately there was some cloud cover for most of my run, although the sun did come out at around Mile 11-12 and that’s when I really started to feel the heat. I kept it slow and when I got to Mile 15 I had a choice to run just one more mile and end up one mile short of 17, or push myself to run two. I chose to push it, and even though I ended up walking the last half mile or so I’m glad I did that. And I didn’t feel wiped out for the rest of the day like I have on some of my long run days.

    • Nicely done! That is dedication with the early start. You certainly proved that a well thought out hydration plan is vital for a hot long run. Congrats on pushing through and for being a wise runner.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s