The mental and physical affects of running in humidity: a memoir.

I did not approach this post lightly. I approached it with the weight of the humidity that beats down and pushes down my entire body into the depths of the ground every time I try to run.

Dramatic enough?

Maybe it’s because this is the first summer I’ve been training, or maybe the world is really deteriorating in front of our eyes – but the heat and humidity this year have been no joke. Coming off of a week where two of my professionally organized runs were canceled due to the heat, I wanted to see what there was to this whole climate and running thing.

Here’s some things I’ve learned.

Take it off. 

I remember when I was panicked for what to wear during the NYC Half because it was going to be in the low 30s and I had barely run in those conditions before. Every blog said, “dress for 20 degrees warmer than it will actually be” — why’s that? Because your body will very quickly warm up and you will feel like you’re actually in 50 degree conditions. Cool. So that makes sense for winter running – but same goes for summer. If it’s 80 outside (which would be a cold front at this point) – then after a few minutes of running, your body will feel like it is at 100 degrees. Now add in the fact that your run will likely start off at 85-90 degrees and about 75-90% humidity.



Bottom line here is: If you want to survive out there – where as little as you can. I mean, all about the #sportsbrasquad on this one, and shorts shorts shorts (and body glide).

Your pace is going to suck 

Ohhhhh my god it’s going to suck so much. To all you runners out there running goal paces outdoors, you are superhuman.

All bodies are different, so maybe your body adjusts less poorly than mine to the elements, but here is a nifty calculator that can show you how much your pace can change depending on heat.

Here’s what my 10K time looks like, shifted from 60 degrees to 100 degrees:

Screen Shot 2016-08-15 at 5.41.39 PM.png
Not even factoring in humidity

Follow your heart. 

Humidity has a very serious affect on your ticker. Your body is working over-time to cool you down, and your heart rate goes up 10 beats per minute in 50-90% humidity. That’s another reason an easier pace on the Garmin actually feels impossible on the legs.

What I really love about Mile High Run Club classes (aside from their total and 100% lack of humidity) is that all “levels” are solely based on a Perceived Exertion Scale. Meaning, my neighbor’s 2 out of 4 is could be my 4 out of 4. It usually is.

Best practice for this running outside nonsense is to run with the perceived effort. If you’re meant to run easy that day, run easy. Even if easy in March was 10:00, today it might be 12:04. Follow your heart and f*ck the numbers for now. The thermostat, the Garmin — they’re all lying, just keep kicking ass.


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