As a runner and resident of the South, I have to adjust each year to the heat and humidity. It does not get easier to adjust, but my mindset is different now that I understand what is happening to my body, how I can adjust and what I can expect. There is some important information to note and some good strategies to help acclimatize your body to running when the temp is 75 degrees and the humidity is 80%.
These list are by no means exhaustive. If you click on the red words, they will connect you to the full article on heat/humidity. There is also a lot of things to try. If you have a suggestion that I have not noted, comment on my blog. I love the read comments.
Did you know. . .
Researchers suggest that when the temperature rises about 65 degrees, your heart rate rises by 10 degrees. When you add humidity to that number, your heart rate rises another 10 degrees.
Dr. David E. Martin, director of GSU Laboratory or Elite Athlete Performance, noted that marathon run time increases by approximately one minute for every 7 degrees Fahrenheit above 54 degrees.
When humidity is low, evaporation increases; when humidity is high, the rate of evaporation decreases and less cooling occurs.
When you sweat your blood volume decreases, less blood returns to your heart, less oxygen-rich blood reaches your working muscles, you produce less energy aerobically and you run slower for a given effort level.
The greater the amount of heat that we need to dissipate, the greater the proportion of blood that is diverted to the skin and therefore not available to supply working muscles and deliver oxygen to them. (Dr. Bill Henderson in his article, “Heat Acclimation for Runners”)
It takes about 2 weeks for your body to adapt to the heat and cool itself more efficiently.
What you can do. . .
Run early or run late
SLOW down, even add walk breaks, if it is an especially hot/humid day
Drink water & electrolytes-If you are running over 45, minutes bring water and an electrolyte drink.
Wear light and wicking clothing
Use water to splash on your head and your body
Consume less protein-it requires more heat to metabolize, drink a smoothie before a long run/race instead of bagel and peanut butter.
Begin hydrating several days before long run or a race in the heat.
Don’t wear your watch, for the first 10 days, when you run and it is hot. This will require you to go by feel. It will be GOOD for you.
Freeze a wet baby wash cloth. When you wake up to run, stuff it in the back part of your sports bra. It will keep you cool. You can also use it down the road at a restroom stop or stream to soak and squeeze on yourself.