(Adapted from: Article from Runner’s World – http://www.runnersworld.com/running-tips/tips-for-running-in-humidity)
It’s not (just) the heat that matters! Ways to cope with the muggy weather:
- Humidity makes warm summer runs even more taxing because the higher the moisture content of the air, the hotter it feels.
- If you are dehydrated, your body goes into survival mode – watch out for nausea, it may be difficult to digest sports drink & gels.
- HYDRATE throughout the day to prevent this!
- Side stitches can also occur if you are overheated – due to shallow and uneven breathing.
- Be wary of your heart rate too, because it will escalate as your heart and lungs are working overtime to deliver oxygen throughout your body. Wearing a heart rate monitor is not a bad idea to make sure you are in reasonable zones.
- If you start to lose control over body/mind mechanics like form and footing are getting sloppy, you start to feel dizzy or disoriented, and/or you are feeling chilled or goosebumpy – STOP RUNNING!
- The faster you run, the more body heat you generate. Do your hard runs when humidity is at it’s lowest. It’s also important to recognize that feeling sluggish on a sticky day doesn’t indicate a lack of fitness or a lapse in mental toughness—it’s your body’s physical response to a stressful environment.
- Body size is one factor—the more body mass you have the easier it is for you to overheat.
- Age is another variable—Sorry guys the older you are the less you are able to cool yourself effectively.
- Sweat content varies: Some people lose more sodium in their perspiration than others, and that can impact performance and increase risk of cramps if these salty sweaters don’t take in enough electrolytes.
- Where you live also plays a role – so check the forecast and refer to what the heat index will be for the hours that you like to run. Humidity above 40% can impact performance.
- In those conditions, you should opt for a treadmill in AC. If you don’t have access to one, go for a shaded path, or run close to water and take walk breaks. It’s essential to hydrate properly and let go of any time-based goals—run by feel instead of pace.
- Heat exhaustion and heat stroke early signs: fatigue, nausea, dizziness, headaches, tingly skin, and confusion. Call it quits if you experience any of them—even if you haven’t reached the end of your run or the finish line yet.
On a positive note, any training you do now will only make your fall runs all the more enjoyable.