Running in warm, humid, and hot weather can be particularly discouraging, exhausting, and even life-threatening.
Your body temperature rapidly rises. Sweat forces its way out of your body. Your heart rate rapidly increases.
And you need more effort to maintain the same pace when running, the veins in your head violently popping.
But here comes the good news: you can make running in humid weather enjoyable too.
So in this post, you’ll learn the best tips you can use when you run in humid and hot weather.
To help you understand the impact of these tips, let first of all understand the body’s response to humidity when running.
How does the body respond to humidity when running?
Running in warm weather is tasking on the body enough as it is. Adding humidity to the equation makes things a lot trickier.
There is a popular expression that ‘it’s not the heat; it’s the humidity,’ and to be frank, it’s a valid point.
You remember how the body loses temperature through evaporation of sweat, right?
Well, when humidity is high, the evaporation of sweat becomes way more difficult. Let me explain.
Evaporation, the conversion of liquid to gas, depends on humidity. High humidity inhibits evaporation.
When we say humidity, what we are talking about is relative humidity.
Relative humidity is simply the amount of water vapor in the air in comparison to the maximum water vapor the air can hold.
So, if the relative humidity is 100%, evaporation can no longer occur, as the air is saturated with water vapor.
Cooling of the body depends on the evaporation of sweat, and humid conditions mean sweat evaporates at a lower rate.
If this happens, the body is not able to sufficiently regulate its core temperature. And that is bad. Very bad.
So what can you do about all this? Let’s dive into the best tips
Best tips for running in humid and hot weather
1. Base your run on effort, not pace
It is only right that this is the top of our list.
Running on hot days are usually more effort-intensive because the body is using a lot of energy to reduce its core temperature.
This means you will have to put more effort to keep up the same pace.
The easy way around this is to judge your run based on the effort you are exerting rather than pace or time. This is useful whether you’re running for weight loss or cardio health.
2. Pick the right time of the day
Temperature varies throughout the day. It is usually lowest before sunrise in the morning, while it is at its peak around midday.
Run early in the morning or in the evening when the temperature is usually low.
Morning exercises have more benefits beyond escaping the scorching heat later in the day.
Take for example this study published in the International Journal of Obesity
Researchers supervised overweight and sedentary young adults in an exercise program for over 10 months.
Participants were grouped based on the time they finished working out:
- between 7:00 and 11:59 am
- between 3:00 and 7:00 pm
- any time during the day
- no exercise at all
The results showed that the group that exercised before noon lost more weight than those who worked out after 3 p.m.
Although generalizations can’t be made because of the small sample size, the report is clear that exercising early in the day has more perks.
3. Run in shaded areas
This probably goes without saying. Shaded areas are usually cool, and this corresponds to lower temperatures.
Lower temperatures mean a lower body temperature.
4. Take sports drinks to replenish electrolytes
In general, working out for longer periods will lead to an incremental loss of water and electrolytes from the body.
This happens through sweat. Sweat contains electrolytes.
The intensity of sweating depends on your work rate and most of all your environmental temperature.
Your body produces more sweat in warm weather. This is why it’s important to quickly replace lost electrolytes when you run in humid and hot weather.
Sports drinks and beverages help to replenish your body of these electrolytes.
It is better to drink diluted drinks during your run as they are more rapidly absorbed.
4. Split long runs
Do you want to run for 90 minutes? Split it into two 45-minute runs.
In between the runs, you can take a short rest or break to cool off and then get right back on the track.
6. Be mindful of the medications you use
Some medications don’t work well with high temperatures.
Take this into consideration before running on a warm day. Talk with your doctor if you have any doubts.
7. Run with a hat or visor
Yes, we know we asked you to wear as little clothing as possible, but hats and visors are valuable additions.
They help to protect your skin from the sun and also keep you shaded.
If you are going with a hat, be sure it is one with a mesh top and not one that will trap body heat.
8. Have shorter warm-ups
Warm-ups are good as they get the muscles warm and prepared before running.
Your muscles need energy. And this is what they obtain from pre-workout exercises.
When you warm up before a workout, blood in your muscles flows and produces a series of chemical reactions.
This leads to the slow burn of fats and carbohydrates and which in turn starts an increase in your muscle temperature.
But if you are going to be running in warm and humid weather, reduce the time for warm-up, as starting your run with a high body temperature can be dangerous.
Some specific yoga stretches can help runners stay flexible.
9. Wear sunscreens
Sunscreens are often overlooked. They protect against sunburns and other skin conditions like skin cancer.
Sunburns can mess with your body’s ability to produce sweat apart from the obvious fact that sunburns are quite discomforting.
Ensure that the sunscreens you wear are sweatproof.
10. Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes
Sunglasses protect your eyes from sun rays. They also give you a cool look, and when running in warm weather, anything cool is good!
The more you run in warm and humid weather, the more your body gets used to them.
Let these tips be a guide when you go running in hot and humid weather or exercise in the heat.
But don’t injure yourself in a bid to acclimatize yourself to this type of weather. Twice or thrice a week will suffice.