So it happened, as it does this time of year…..every year. I went on a run on a very humid morning and felt completely defeated. I was slower, lethargic, and kind of miserable. This particular morning wasn’t even sunny, it was just extremely humid. In fact the temperature was in the 60’s. So I had to come in and give myself a pep talk as we begin another humid Nashville summer. Running in humidity has a different impact on running than heat does. (Don’t get me wrong, they are both a challenge!) So I wanted to remind myself (and others) exactly why humidity is so difficult to run in and also share some ways to fight it.
When you are running your body temperature rises, as it does with any exercise. As the sweat on your skin evaporates, the body cools itself down. However, when it’s humid out, that’s a little harder for the body to do. When it’s humid there is more water in the air so it’s more difficult for the sweat to evaporate. (Which is exactly why I often come in with wet socks and shoes!) The humidity can definitely negatively influence your performance. You can and most likely will get more dehydrated and fatigued. After a few weeks of consistently running in the humidity your body will adjust a little. Your body will teach itself to better control your core temperature. The good news is that if you can survive the hot and humid summer months, you may often find that your fall running times improve.
It’s also very important to stay hydrated, even more so than normal. On a very humid, long run…..try weighing yourself before and after the run. For every pound you may lose, you should refuel with 16 ounces of water. You also need to hydrate before a run. If you are a consistent summer runner then you need to consistently drink water every day. During your runs you need to have planned out water stops, even more times than you did in the spring and winter. You will notice that you are thirsty sooner and that you are consuming more water at each stop.
Sometimes it’s better to just let yourself slow down if are feeling fatigued. Shortening your distance and slowing your pace are both ways to remain consistent with your summer runs. You don’t want to push yourself so hard that you begin to view running as a miserable experience. That will just make you not want to go the next day. Listen to your body! It will send you signals, don’t ignore them.
So overall understand that humidity is a challenge. Don’t underestimate that, it’s hard for runners of all stages from beginners to elites.
7 Tips to Beat the Humidity
- Hydrate – 16 ounces of water for every pound you lose during a run.
- Slow down.
- Shorten distance when necessary.
- Remain positive and consistent.
- Wear light weight and light color clothing.
- LISTEN to your body! It always tries to protect you!