If you have run in high humidity weather, you know just how difficult and unappealing running in humidity can be. The muggy weather is bound to have an effect on your run, and has potential to cause health problems such as heat exhaustion.
I have heard, although I do not have any true research to back this up, that running in humidity can be comparable to training in altitude!! (I like to tell myself this is true, because running in the humidity can be a struggle).
Although running in humidity is not always ideal, there are some tips and tricks that can help you get through that training run, or decide when it may be time to go another route for the day.
Ready? Let’s go!
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
If you have ever run in a humidity, you have probably realized that your sweat rate may have increased. Hydration is always important for runners, but on a hot and humid day it becomes vital for safety.
Stay ahead of your hydration by drinking well before, during, and after your run. Bring water with you, and if you need a refill don’t be afraid to stop and fill up your bottle. This is for your safety to avoid dehydration!
Add some additional electrolytes
When you sweat you don’t just lose water, you also lose minerals including electrolytes. It is important for your body to maintain homeostasis to have these electrolytes. Pre-load with electrolytes prior to your run, and be sure to consume adequate electrolytes after you run.
If you are out for more than an hour or so, try to take some electrolytes during your run. You can do this either via a gel or electrolyte drink.
Pre fuel appropriately
It is always very important to have the proper nutrition prior to your run. It becomes even more important while running in humidity, as your body is burning more energy to keep up with cooling itself.
You should eat a pre run meal about 2-3 hours prior to your run, and a snack high in carbohydrates within 30 minutes of your run.
Protect your skin with sunscreen
Although the main topic of this post is humidity, with humidity there is often a lot of sun, especially in tropical areas. It is important to load up on sunscreen to protect your skin while you are outside on your run. Try different types and brands to find what works best for you!
Get up and get going early
If you want to beat the heat, then you can get up early before the real heat of the day occurs. Many runners enjoy getting up and getting out the door to get their run in to start their day off right.
The weather is typically cooler in the morning. Just remember to not run fasted, even though you may have less time to have a full meal and snack before your run, you still need to get appropriate fuel in.
Run later in the day
On the flip side, if you aren’t a morning person, you can get your run in later in the day when the heat of the sun is over. Just be sure to properly hydrate and fuel throughout the day, especially if you are out and about doing outdoor activities.
Fuel during your run
If you are running for more than an hour, be sure to have some sort of fuel during your run. This can be whatever you typically consume during your run, but you may need a bit extra to sustain.
Bring an extra gel, gummy, or whatever you typically consume so you are not out on your run without any additional nutrition.
The shade is your friend
A hot and humid day is not the time to run in an open area with the sun blazing down on you. This is the time to find a trail that has a lot of tree coverage and shade. Take advantage of shady areas!
Take it easy
During a humid run your body’s working overtime to keep up, so take it easy on yourself. This isn’t the day to go out on a super hard workout. Don’t get caught up on the times on the watch, even if the time doesn’t show it, your effort will still shine through.
If you are marathon training, maybe switch your training days to be sure you have an easy day on a humid weather day.
What you wear will matter
Make sure you are wearing sweat wicking clothing. This will help prevent your clothing from sticking to your body. Also, try out a hat or visor to protect your face and eyes from the sun.
Take breaks as needed
If you are feeling more tired than usual, take a break. There is no harm in taking a break to gather yourself, or determine if it is not safe for you to continue on your run. If you don’t want to stop all together, a walking break would work.
Remember, taking a break doesn’t make you any less of a runner!
Know when to stop
Listen to your body, if you are feeling lightheaded or just downright lousy, take that as a sign to stop. There is no harm in cutting a run short, but there may be harm if you continue to run when it’s not safe for you.
Pay attention to your post run nutrition
Post run nutrition is key to recovery and repair. Be sure to eat something as soon as possible after your run and have a full meal within an hour or two. Your body works hard while running, give it the energy it needs to recover!
This may be a good time to try out a post run smoothie, it will help cool you down and fuel your body!
If the weather is not worth it for you, head to the treadmill. Running inside is a great and safe alternative to running in the heat and humidity. Be sure to have a podcast or great playlist to listen to while on your run.
Attitude is everything
A positive attitude and a smile can go a long way. Running in heat and humidity is by no means ideal, but a positive attitude can change everything.
Use positive mantras throughout your run to help keep your mind from wandering to the negative mindset that it can sometimes go to.
Running in humidity can be rough, but with these tips and tricks your run will be more tolerable.
Safety is the most important thing, so if the humidity and heat are too much, take it easy or take the day off.
Pay attention to your fueling and hydration, a hot and humid day is not the time to not appropriately fuel and take care of your body.
If you enjoy this post, be sure to check out some of my other posts and follow me on instagram for more running and nutrition information!
Happy running 🙂