The one thing that is miserable about running that I have zero control over is the weather. I actually ended up doing a lot of research about heat and humidity and the effect it can have on running as well as some tips to combat the weather. When running it is important to keep an eye on the weather especially in the extreme weather like heat and cold. One important factor with heat is humidity which has even more of an influence than heat and cold. The higher the moisture content in the air the hotter it will feel to the runner. When you check the weather do not solely look at what the temperature is you want to make sure to check out the heat index. The heat index combines temperature with relative humidity to give you an idea of how it will actually feel outside. If the heat index is above 40% it is going to have an impact on your workout.
When running, your body temperature naturally rises, and to help keep you cooler your body produces sweat and then sweat evaporates and helps you maintain your body temperature and stay cool. The problem is that when it is humid the sweat doesn’t evaporate so the heat stays put. If your body heats up you can become more dehydrated and then it can go into survival mode where it will work on blood flow to essential organs and to your skin to help regulate temperature. At this point you are more likely to become sick to your stomach, develop side stitches. If over heated breathing can shallow and become uneven because your heart rate will escalate because your heart and lungs are trying to deliver oxygen throughout your body. There is the saying no pain no gain, but when it comes to humidity and heat don’t push too hard because then your brain temperature will increase which will only make things worse. You will have a difficult time assessing your own body temperature, you lose control over body mechanics like running form, and your mental abilities may even start to break down.
Sometimes it’s best in these conditions, especially if you want a quality workout, that your best is a treadmill in air conditioning. If you are going to be running outside in the heat and the humidity try to stay in the shade and take walk breaks. If it is at all that possible cougardatesites you can also run close to water because bodies of water often offer breezier conditions. Especially with heat and humidity it is essential to hydrate. It is better to run by feel instead of by pace. With the heat your heart rate can increase which will make your perceived effort greater and with humidity the effort becomes even greater.
Some other tips include allowing yourself to acclimate to the heat. It takes about two weeks for the body to adjust to the heat and cool itself appropriately. Try to run in light colored, loose fitting, moisture wicking clothing. You can also wear a hat or visor, wear sunscreen, and wear sunglasses. You can also try to run at cooler times of day usually that means morning or evening. The air quailty is also better in the morning. Avoid running from noon to three not only because of heat and humidity are at their highest, but the air quality is poorest at that point. And I know I have posted so much about this but hydration is essential especially in the heat.
Here are some early warning signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke: fatigue, nausea, dizziness, headaches, tingly skin, and confusion. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms call it a quits and stop even if it is tempting to try and finish your run or race its important to stop before things get worse.
How do you do stay cool in the heat? What are some ways you keep cool? Do you have a great indoor workout? Share your story with us through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram from now until the High Bridge Half Marathon and 5k on September 6th. Connect with other runners and see where running has led them. Use the hashtag #lovefarmvilleva #runfarmvilledowntown to participate.
If you have any questions or want a workout buddy I will be around all summer running and working out so don’t hesitate to say hi or ask me anything. Be sure to tune in on Tuesdays for my weekly blog entry about training and anything running related!