Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Running in the Heat and Humidity

I read an interesting article on about how your performance can be negatively affected by heat and humidity.  Not that this was news to me - I experience this firsthand every summer.  What I didn’t realize, however, is just how much even slight temperature increases can slow you down.  For example, the article states that someone who runs an average 8-minute-per-mile pace might slow down by anywhere between 5 seconds and 1 minute, 35 seconds, depending on the temperature.  Add humidity on top of that and I imagine it’s even worse.      
Obviously, this is an example and everyone deals with heat differently but it helped me feel a little better about my performance during the Dexter-Ann Arbor ½ Marathon!  I have a race this Saturday so I’ll have to remember to start out a little more slowly until I get a feel for how the temperature will affect me.  And I need to make sure I stop for a drink at every aid station, whether I feel thirsty or not, since being dehydrated obviously makes you more susceptible to heat illness.

The article gives some suggestions for dealing with heat and also ways to help your body acclimate to hotter conditions.  When I think of training I think of speed work, hills, endurance runs, etc. but I never would have thought about training my body in this way.  Even if you aren’t training to run through the desert, just adjusting to the season changes in Michigan can be challenging.  I think if you follow some of the recommendations and give your body a little extra time to acclimate at the beginning of the summer, it will make for a more enjoyable running season.

You can read part 1 and part 2 of the article on

What do you do to help your body adjust to running in the summer heat and humidity?

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