Sunday, August 7, 2011

Tips for Running in Heat and Humidty

Yes, it's about time I talk about is seriously challenging and I know many of us deal with it.

Let me tell you about my training. Saturday I got up early to meet Sarah downtown for a long run. Neither of us had run more than 3 or 4 miles since Seattle Rock n Roll so we were just out with hopes of 5 or more. My new Run Less, Run Faster plan told me I was to run 15 miles. HA ha ha ha!!! Yeah, right. I knew that was not smart. Sure I could have suffered through it but I don't want to get injured. Things are looking UP for me fitness-wise right now and an injury is the LAST thing I want. So in my mind I had a 10 mile limit. No more than that but I wanted to hit at least 5 miles.

I showed up and parked and quickly noticed downtown was bustling with bodies, running bodies!! A race was happening! I texted Sarah and told her I thought something was going on and she recalled a race going on down there. We didn't have enough time to register last minute so we watched for a few minutes and then made a game plan. We would run the first mile of the course in reverse so as not be confused as racers, then turn around and run the 10k race course. The race was small. I'm pretty sure I could have maybe placed Age Group, maybe....I like sizing up the competish these days.

We were on our way and it was muggy, humid and hot. In fact, this is a good time for me to tell you what I learned about running in heat from Run Less, Run Faster:

Reduce exercise intensity in very hot conditions. When temps exceed 90 degrees F or when the sum of the temp (F) and humidity (percent) exceeds 135, runners should modify their workout. Uh.....that wold be 24/7 here in the south from June-Oct. So Saturday it was about 84 degrees at 7 AM with 76% humidity. Any math whizzes out there? No, ok I'll do the math...160. I think that means go to breakfast for an iced coffee or mimosa....

Second thing I learned, and I am SO guilty of this, when it is humid it is BETTER to drink that water and try to stay dry. Why? Good question, here is what RLRF says: Your body adapts to the heat through increased blood flow to the skin, increased sweating, and a higher core temperature. You need to replace the sweat lost through regular hydration. Only water that evaporates results in significant cooling; the sweat running off your body reduces your body heat very little (Think about this one, the sweat running off and NOT evaporating does not really work to cool you). Higher humidity reduces the rate of evaporation. Wet skin does not sweat as much as dry skin; therefore, "poor it in, don't pour it on". In other words, drink water rather than pouring on top of your head.

So how many of you pour that water all over you, and on top of your head trying to get relief from the heat? ME! I am guilty! Just last weekend I was doing so. And frankly, I can see now that it did not help. The water just does not evaporate, and in high humidity, neither does your sweat. It is the sweat that evaporates that cools you, so if it just beads up there on your skin it is not really cooling you. So how do we adjust to this? How can we help ourselves? I'm not sure it is possible actually. Research shows that running times and paces slow while running in heat (temps over 60 degrees F) and humidity. In fact, you will not be able to sustain as fast a pace as normal in the heat, even if you are acclimated.

So all this to say, I should't be so hard on myself. And you shouldn't be either! It is stinking HOT and HUMID.

Back to the run...we ran opposite the race for about a mile then joined the route. I felt kind of bad but hey, it's a public road and we ran on the opposite side of the road and did not interfere with the racers. It was nice because Sarah and I could pretty much run our own pace and just follow the route, otherwise we run together since I have no idea where I am going in that part of town. I tried to keep my pace around 9:54 (my Marathon Pace +45 seconds). I was happy with my effort but I still have a had a hard time maintaining a consistant pace. Back in the day I would run every mile within 2-4 seconds of each other. Those days are gone.

We followed the course and when I ran back by my car I stopped for a quick shoe change, from my Saucony's to my NB w10s. I wanted to get at least a mile in with them on.

LOVE. Can you say love at first stride? Om my goodness! They felt amazing! Light! Comfortable! I did my 8th mile with them on and had no problem or pain whatsoever! I think my transition to these shoes will be negligible, and here is why: I walk around barefoot all the time, whenever socially acceptable. I love to be barefoot. And if not barefoot I wear flip flops that are equivalent to wearing a 1/3 inch slab of rubber, no real support. I even run in my flip flops when I need to, chasing LB or Lazy Dog, running in the park, playing catch or football. You name it I have done it in flip flops. I toured Italy in my flipflops, walking on the marble slab ground. No support this transition will be A-okay.

BUT, that does not mean I will be running barefoot. No-siree. I am not jumping on that bandwagon. The thought of stepping on dog poop or a nail or a rock or spit or a snot-rocket, or getting a hook worm,you get the idea... I'll be wearing shoes thankyouverymuch....



After the 8 mile run (completed at about 9:30 min/mile pace) I was drenched in sweat but I had plans to meet J-Ninga for yoga! I headed to the studio and changed in the bathroom where I had to literally wring out my shorts into the sink before I dared put them in my Marc Jacobs bag. Seriously, priorities people! I have never seen such a thing. It was gross. Yoga was amazing though...I hope I can make it a routine to hit up the 9 AM morning class after my Saturday longruns. That would be awesome!

And finally I hit the road today with J-Ninja and her Hubster for a 20 mile bike ride. It was a good ride and I felt pretty good. We didn't ride too hard but the course was our old favorite, the Ranges, with hill after hill...So my quads were screaming at me! I passed on an even yoga class with J-Ninja. My back is so sore, most likely from plank into chaturanga then into cobra and down dog....over and over.

So this weekend was totally awesome! I got in a lot of training. The only thing I missed was a swim. Twice, Saturday and today, I put it off and didn't make it to the pool. I hope to make it there straight after work tomorrow. I'm packing all my stuff to be prepared.

This weekend I rediscovered Pandora Radio. Oh. My. Goodness. I am listening to Amy Winehouse station (a mix of music and artist of the same genre). It is awesome! So what are you loving today!?


  1. OMG! I thought that was you! I was running the race. I thought I saw you earlier with a friend and then later on the course. I was going to yell out amanda...but I was hot and sweaty and couldn't catchmy breath in the humidity! Next time I will stop and say hi!

  2. AH~ !! No way LiZ!! YES, next time say HI!! I am so sad I missed out on meeting you! If you ever need a running buddy let me know! I think I'm gonna try to run downtown on the weekends. It was a great course!!!

  3. I'm glad you like the new shoes! I actually won a pair and had a really hard time running with them. I tried alternating between those and my Vibrams and they killed my calves! Thanks for the tips...although I wish you had posted this before I about died on a 10-miler this morning!

  4. I'm loving the weekend training. I'm loving the fact that you inadvertently RAN into a race. I'm loving the New Balance shoes! The radio station, however, I could do without.


    Glad you got so much done over the weekend. And I'm jealous you got in some yoga. I've done some on my own since leaving the gym that offered a class, but it's not the same. The class was a lot more fun.

    Here's hoping you make it to the pool. Don't want to get out of balance!

  5. Interesting about the hydration and sweating!!! I definitely have a habit of pouring water on my head. It just feels good but only for a minute!! I'll try that technique next Sunday when I run the half!!

  6. Today I had plans for a bike ride & a run. It was pouring in the morning, and although I'll run in the rain, I won't bike in the rain. I was planning on biking to my work, then over to the track, run, then bike back home. So I waited. By the time it stopped raining it was so hot and so humid, I decided against outside activities. I'm letting myself off the hook for today, even though I should have just hopped on the treadmill.

  7. You pretty much said what i could not effectively communicate. +1

    My blog:
    rachat de credit

  8. over the humidity!!! yuck I can take the heat but the sopping wet air sucks!! You rock though :)

  9. Those shoes look great!! I am so over this humidity!! I can't take it anymore!!

  10. Thanks for the info on running in heat and humidity. Like you, I dump water on me, but after reading this...yikes! Sure makes sense why I'm miserable, so I'll try it without the midrun shower.

  11. I'm tired of it being hot and humid. I've only been doing my long runs outside, early. I have been guilty once of dumping water on my head while running but that was in GA on July 4th. I was drinking though but there are times you just feel the need to dump it on your head too! haha

  12. Totally read an article on this the other day to make myself feel less insane for not running fast in heat/humidity. When it's humid (like you need gills or something) sweat does not no cooling off. THIS WILL MAKE US tougher! Heading back to the PNW in a week, bet my runs will feel easy-peasy!

    Looking HAWT in your trail shoes!!

  13. Love all the info on heat and humidity! This summer has been brutal and I finally gave in and scraped a run last weekend when I was incapable of breathing.

  14. My problem is, when it's humid especially, my shirt is sopping wet within 3 miles, and anything past 5 I'm completely drenched. Do they make air conditioned suit with a separate chamber full of desiccant?


You're pretty much awesome!!


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