If you live somewhere with humid weather, you might be wondering about the best ways to make a humid run comfortable and safe and whether there are any benefits or drawbacks of running in humid conditions.
We’re going to look at all those things today. Here’s how to run in humidity – 10 key things to keep in mind.
It is very much harder for your body to cool itself when the air is humid. In dry conditions, sweat will quickly evaporate and cool the skin – but in wet conditions, it is harder for the moisture to evaporate, and the body stays warmer for longer.
High humidity levels can make it hard to stay cool, so make sure you are taking this into account when you prepare for a run and try to run at cooler times of the day. Check humidity levels on a weather report as well as temperature levels, and aim your runs to take advantage of cool, dry periods.
You need to drink plenty while exercising in humid environments. Because it is harder to control your core temperature, you should keep sipping water and make sure that your body does have plenty of moisture to sweat with, even if the sweat isn’t working as effectively as it might otherwise be.
Because your body is struggling, it may swap to survival mode. This means it will prioritize the blood flow to your major organs and to the skin (to try and cool you down), and you will struggle to digest sports drinks, which can make you feel sick.
Drinking plenty will help keep your temperature down and prevent nausea.
If need a good hydration pack check out my reviews on hydration packs for runners: Best Hydration Packs For Runners
Although hard work, exercising in humid conditions does have some advantages. Your body will learn to control its core temperature more effectively and to cool down in better ways. Heat training is not particularly pleasant for most people, but it does make you a more flexible and possibly better runner.
If you are carrying extra weight, you are likely to find humidity more difficult to deal with. You have more insulation, which makes it trickier to cool down effectively – and that means you’re going to struggle if sweating doesn’t help you get cool.
Bear this in mind, and go easy on yourself in humid conditions.
You might think that you will realize you’re overheating and stop running, but it may not be quite that simple in some instances. Your brain temperature rises with your body temperature, and that can actually make it very hard to assess your physical condition.
Runners who are too hot will often feel chilled and may suffer from disorientation. It can be hard to coordinate your muscles or think clearly.
Learn the warning signs of heat exhaustion and be aware of your body. Stop sooner rather than later when running in humid conditions.
You are probably already aware of some of the challenges running presents if you’re asthmatic, but you may not know that you need to be particularly careful about running in humid conditions.
The air is heavy with moisture, and this can make it hard for you to breathe. If you are going to run in high humidity, make sure that you have the medication you need, and pay close attention to your body. It might also be a good idea to run with a companion, just in case.
Even if you aren’t asthmatic, don’t push yourself when conditions are humid. Take more breaks, and give yourself time to cool down regularly. You may want to increase how much time you spend walking, and start your run with a brisk walk instead.
This will make running in humid conditions safer and may help you build up your heat tolerance.
Moisture-wicking running gear is great in all conditions, but it’s particularly important for humid conditions. It will help to keep you comfortable despite the wetness of the air. It will also make it easier for the sweat to do its job by pulling it away from your skin.
Make sure your clothing is breathable and light, preferably mesh, to maximize airflow.
You may not have such options in your local area, but if you are determined to run in humid weather, it’s important to think about the location, even if you have to drive a little to get there.
Running beside the water is a good way to enjoy a cool breeze; the air over the water will often provide a bit of freshness, and lift some of the heaviness from the air. Shade is also important. You don’t want to be running on a road that has absorbed lots of heat.
Plants make areas much cooler, so try to find a shaded, foliage-rich spot for any humid runs, even if you have to go out of your way a bit to do so.
Do not push yourself in humid conditions – even if you usually enjoy rising to a challenge. You may want to reap the rewards of building up your heat tolerance, but this must be done in sensible ways.
It is better to work slowly and help your body build up its tolerance a little at a time. If you are finding running in humid weather too hard, take up another form of exercise for a while, such as cycling or swimming, or even just walking.
You need to recognize when you are getting too hot and stop working out at that point. Pushing yourself in humid conditions can be dangerous.
When you’re running in the humidity try to slow your pace down. When it’s humid outside your body will naturally want to run slower – follow your body’s advice! You don’t have to slam your pace down but edge back anywhere from 15 seconds to 1 minute. You’ll still get a good run in and you’ll save your strength for a less humid speed workday.
Let’s face it – nasty weather usually yields nasty results. Expect that it’s not going to be your photo-op PR run and get on with your life. Lower your expectations and put the miles in and call it a day. There is no need to overdo on a day that doesn’t deserve glory.
If this happens to you on race day, know this: Some runners run better in hotter conditions than others no matter how well trained or acclimated they might be. Most of the runners in the race WILL BE affected by the humidity just like you will be. Know this and save some gas for the end of the race instead.
Running in humid weather has some advantages and can help you better control your core temperature, but it can also be dangerous and should be done responsibly.
Ensure you are well-hydrated and check where you can go to cool down (such as an air-conditioned cafe) if you get too hot during your run.
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