I live in the south and I am a runner so I know about trying to run in humidity. I’m originally from Chicago so I grew up trying to play sports through a wall of air. That feelings where your legs feel like lead and you can’t get enough air. It feels so hot, like center-of-the-sun hot. Yet you push on because exercise is good for you, movement is life. Humidity works the same way wind chill does. In the winter you feel colder because of the wind; in the summer you feel hotter because of all of the moisture in the air. Great for your hair and skin though!
This article in Runner’s World magazine has some great tips for running in the humid weather. I read this magazine when I was training for a marathon. It’s how I learned I wasn’t feeding my body the right things to run long distances. The article first walks through the biology behind the heat, some signs you may be overdoing it and alternative suggestions. The first thing is to understand your body’s response to the humidity. Your core temperature is rising because you’re running, because it’s hot outside and because the humidity makes it feel even hotter. The hotter you get the more dehydrated you get. This overheating can cause your brain to overheat. You will reach a point where your body will be unable to accurately asses its own temperature. Getting goosebumps or chills can be a sign of this. It is for me. If I get goosebumps while I’m running or playing sports outdoors in the heat. I stop. That’s a sign for me I’m heading toward heat sickness.
Some tips for dealing with the humidity if you feel the alternatives to running indoors on a track or treadmill are unacceptable (I don’t blame you – me too):
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate – before, during and after
- Run in the shade
- Take walk breaks (you can walk back the way you came in order to get in your full mileage)
- Check out the heat advisory for the day and be prepared
- And from me – wear sweat-wicking materials to keep the wetness off of you
Most important is to listen to your body. You can train your body to endure the heat and humidity, but you have know your limits. It’s not cute passing out on the trail in front of strangers….or alone.
I’m just keeping it new.