It’s been a hot few weeks here in the US. In the mid-Atlantic where I live temps have been in the high 90’s and sometimes over 100, and the humidity is very high as well. High humidity + high temperature = suffering!
Here are some tips for running in these awful conditions.
- Run early. The temperature will be lower, but the humidity will be higher, so even if you are running early you must keep hydrated.
- Run late. After the sun goes down, the temperature will go down too. Just be sure to wear reflective clothing and carry a light.
- Run inside. As horrible as treadmills are, sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and run indoors.
- Find shade. Run on a trail or wooded area that has a lot of shade. Full sun makes hotter temperatures even hotter.
- Wear light clothing. Of course, no cotton. Technical fabrics are made for these conditions. Wear as little as possible – shorts, tank top, low cut socks. No hat! If you cover your head the heat has no place to go so it builds up inside of your body.
- Water. Drink it of course, but also stop to splash water on your head and your neck. It’s amazing how this can refresh you in the middle of a run.
- Take it easy. Hot humid days aren’t good for intervals or tempo runs. Just take a short slow run, and if you want to run a long distance you can break it up into two runs, one in the morning and one at night.
- Drink before you get thirsty. If you are thirsty you could be dehydrated, so drink at least 4 ounces of water or something with electrolytes, like coconut water or sports drink, every 15 minutes. Or sip continuously.
- For every 1% body mass that you are dehydrated, your core body temperature can increase by 0.2 to 0.4 degrees, and your heart rate will increase 3 to 5 beats per minute. A moderate sweater can sweat about 40 ounces of fluid per hour, so be prepared with lots of liquids in your fuel belt!
- Slow down. According to Jeff Galloway you should slow down by the following amounts according to temperature:
- 55-60 degrees: 1% drop in pace
- 60-65 degrees: 3% drop in pace
- 65-70 degrees: 5% drop in pace
- 70-75 degrees: 7% drop in pace
- 75-80 degrees: 12% drop in pace
- 80-85 degrees: 20% drop in pace
- Above 85 degrees: run for fun
- Also take more walk breaks.
|Apparent Temperature||Heat Stress Risk|
|90 – 105 degrees||Heat cramps or heat exhaustion possible|
|105 – 130 degrees||Heat cramps or heat exhaustion likely, heatstroke possible|
|130+ degrees||Heatstroke highly likely|
Sunday on my run the temperature was 85 degrees and the humidity was 70% (at 7:00am). According to the chart the apparent temperature was 93 degrees, and it felt even worse. I did end up “running” 7 miles, but much of it was walking, especially in the areas that were in the full sun.
What can happen to you in the heat? You can suffer from heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. Symptoms to watch out for are:
- intense heat build-up in the head
- general overheating in the body
- confusion or loss of concentration
- loss of muscle control
- cessation of sweating
- clammy skin
- excessively rapid breathing
- muscle cramps
- feeling faint
- unusual heart beat
If you feel symptoms you should get into a cool place as soon as possible and get medical attention. If you come upon someone who you suspect is showing heat related symptoms, cool them down! Soak towels or sheets in cold water and wrap them around the person. Put ice on their body. Never hesitate to call 911.
Fall will be here soon enough.