These tips and tricks will help you tackle the heat and humidity and have you feeling your best in training and racing. Please remember to be flexible and patient through the warmer months - consistency in your running is the top priority and paces can and should often be adjusted. Studies show that in general runners who average 7:25-10:00 per mile slow down between 4-4.5 seconds per mile for each 1.8°F increase in the temperature over the optimal range of >59°F. This number varies depending on different factors, but it’s an important reminder that it’s ok to give yourself some grace on those warm days and to practice some ways to make your running more comfortable in the heat and humidity.
HEAT & HUMIDITY
Keep your effort and pace in check. Start off a little slower than you think you should and don’t stress the pace as much on hot and humid days. A slower pace DOES NOT mean you’re losing fitness. Pace adjustments in the heat are very real. If you overdo it, you risk dehydration and longer recovery.
DRESS FOR THE WEATHER
Light material and light-colored clothing will go a long way to make your run more enjoyable. Please wear sunscreen and a hat/visor! Consider carrying water (belt or handheld) with you if you’re running long.
Even the smallest amount of dehydration can cause a decrease in your running performance and slow recovery in the days following. During runs in hot weather and especially higher mileage runs, it’s important to hydrate and either carry drinks with you or place them in planned positions to be picked up along the route. The goal is to minimize fluid loss during your run and to replenish fluids lost as soon as possible post-run.
How much do I need to drink?
- The answer is different for everyone depending on body weight, sweat rate, temperature/humidity and your length and intensity of run.
- On a warm day, weigh yourself before and after your run to get an idea of how much you need to drink to get your weight back up to the pre-run level.
- To improve fluid retention on hot and humid days, it’s beneficial to consider bringing a replacement/electrolyte drink with you that contains sodium to enhance water and glucose absorption.
- Drink water regularly throughout the day. Loading up on water right before a run does not make up for a couple of days of poor hydration. Like anything, consistency is key. Have a water bottle close throughout the day.
RUN EARLY OR LATE
Run at a cooler time of day. Peak sun hours are approximately 10am-3pm and should be avoided if possible.
BE FLEXIBLE WITH YOUR WORKOUT SCHEDULE
Keep an eye on the forecast, and be flexible with the placement of more intense workouts. If you have a workout planned on the warmest day of the week, adjust it by a day or two.
PICK A GOOD ROUTE
Ideally a shaded route with trees to block the sun will be best. Another consideration is to pick a route that loops you by home a couple times just in case you need to run shorter. An out and back route may pose a problem if you do decide you need to cut a run short.
KEEP A RUNNING JOURNAL
Ultimately, everyone responds differently to the heat and humidity. It is helpful to make notes in your running journal during the summer months to remind yourself how you felt on certain days and to give you an idea of what works best for you moving forward.