A few weekends ago I met a run buddy at 8am for our run and it was already 78 degrees and 93% humidity. Before I even took off I was already thinking about how the heat affects running pace. Then, I seriously spent the whole run feeling:
1. Like I was on the surface of the sun.
2. That breathing was suddenly impossible.
3. As if someone had put lead in my shoes.
4. That my Garmin was a lair!
5. And that it I only going to get hotter from here!
See, as we are all hoping back into summer running sometimes we can forget the affect that the heat and humidity have on our runs. You will feel like you are pushing harder than normal – yet your Garmin will show slower times, it’s not you – it is the weather.
So we know the heat and humidity are awful, but sometimes how the heat affects running pace seems to be a bit of a mystery. We know it makes things harder, but how much?
First, use a handy dandy little chart like this one from the National Weather Service to put your temperature and humidity together in order to find the temperature your body really feels when it runs. So, for my run a few weekends ago that means even though it was 78 degrees with the 93% humidity it felt more like 85/86 to my body.
Then, once you have determined what temperature your body is really feeling from the heat and the humidity together, look at the pace converter to get an idea about how the heat affects running pace:
So according to all the experts I should not have run outside this weekend (I hate the treadmill so I run outside all summer – whoops), but since I did run outside I should expect to be over 2 min a mile slower than what I would run in perfect 50 degree weather.
When I am running outside in August and it is 92 degrees and 90% humidity and my body feels it as 131 degrees, according to the chart, then it could be closer to 3/4 minutes slower. *Side note I am not suggesting you run outside if it is over 80 degrees, I just do this personally because I don’t have treadmill access, but I am very careful, take it crazy slow, and have stopped many runs and turned them into walks due to heat.
Are the numbers in this chart spot on?
Remember that sometimes we have better days and sometimes we have worse days so at time you may be slower than predicted, and on certain days you may be much closer to your normal speed. Don’t stress it. Listen to what your body can do.
What can you do about all this:
1. Give yourself grace/be kind
2. Know it is not you, it is the weather
3. Run by feel, not by time
4. Stop and walk when you need to
5. If you ever feel dizzy or dehydrated – STOP (one run isn’t worth it)
6. Carry water with you on every run
7. Add electrolytes to your water (I personally use Nuun tabs)
8. Get outside as early as you can
9. Hit the treadmill instead when you need to
10. Think about how freaking awesome you’ll be in fall when it cools down.
Remember – you are freaking awesome and the weather bites!
Let me know –
How do you cope with the summer weather?
Treadmill or outdoors?