Written by DBR Ambassador Bobby Le
It looks like we made it to spring, everyone. Summer will be here before we know it, which means the temperatures are on the rise. Hotter temperatures also bring humidity – and in Arkansas, we get a lot of it. Can you relate?
So why is running in the heat and humidity so tough? I will do my best to explain.
When it’s warm, our body sweats. When that sweat evaporates, our body cools down. When it’s humid, our sweat is unable to evaporate since the air is already saturated with water. If our sweat can’t evaporate, our body has trouble cooling itself. Makes perfect sense right? Good.
As endurance athletes, we do not always have the luxury of skipping out on training during the summer months. In fact, for fall races, our peak training will likely fall within the hottest and most humid time of the year. If we want to perform our best, we must train during the worst.
So. How can we beat the heat and humidity?
Well, I can’t say that I can actually beat it, but I have learned to endure it. Take these steps, and you can survive training in the summer months as well.
Humidity Hack #1: Stay Hydrated
Drink water. Drink Gatorade. Drink Tailwind. Drink something that will keep you hydrated.
Even if you go out for a planned “short, easy” run, bring some hydration with you. You do not want to be caught in the middle of a run dehydrated and with no water.
Humidity Hack #2: Choose the Lesser of Two Evils
If you run early in the morning, the humidity is higher. If you run in the afternoon, the temperatures are higher.
While neither option is optimal, choose the time of day that makes you more comfortable.
Humidity Hack #3: Plan Your Route
If you prefer to run later in the day when humidity is lower but temps are higher, choose a route with plenty of shade if possible, or take it off the road and hit some trails.
If you prefer not to carry a water bottle, find a place along the route to stash some.
Bonus: find a route by a creek. The air is normally cooler and you can always jump into the creek to cool down.
Humidity Hack #4: Dress Appropriately
Wear light colors and sweat-wicking fabrics. Protect your face with a hat and sunglasses.
You should always avoid cotton as a runner, but you definitely want to avoid it during the summer days as cotton has a tendency to retain moisture.
Humidity Hack #5: Embrace the Suck
Just know that running in the heat and humidity is going to be tough. You’re likely going to run slower, so avoid worrying about your pace and go by effort.
I won’t promise that you’ll ever get acclimated to running in the heat and humidity, but your body does adapt. Once the weather starts cooling down, running will feel that much easier. Come race day, you will be that much more prepared.
This was Bobby’s first contribution to the DBR Blog. Check out Trail Tips for the Newbie Runner for more running tips and tricks.