Adjusting to the Heat

Warmer temps, higher humidity, and soaring heat indexes are right around the corner! I was reminded of the humidity this week, and it’s not even hot yet!  It usually takes me a few weeks to really adjust to the warmer temps and higher humidity, just the same as it takes a few weeks for my body to adjust to the cooler, dry air of winter.  I’ve become more accepting to the transition period, and today I wanted to share some of my tips with you.

•  Don’t worry about pace; run on effort.  It’s easy to be upset with yourself when you’re not hitting the paces you’re used to, but it’s more of a challenge for your body, so ditch the watch or don’t look at it, and run by feel for a few weeks.  Your paces will come back down once your body adjusts.

• Take water along with you, or stage water bottles ahead of time.  Warmer temps mean (for me at least) more sweating.  I find that I need water sooner than I did 10 degrees cooler.  I either take my water with me or stage water bottles ahead of time.  Most drinking fountains at parks are also on by now, so as it warms up, take note of where the water stops are.

• Be prepared to change the time of day that you run.  During the heat of summer, I run early in the morning, before work.  I do most of my runs in the evening, after work.  As it’s getting warmer, late afternoon is one of the warmest times of the day.  I despise getting up early, but sometimes it becomes necessary to run before work, to avoid some of the dangerous heat.

• Wear sunscreen, and a visor/hat.  As the temperatures rise, you need to protect yourself from the warmth of the sun.  Sunscreen is a good idea any time of the year, but it’s even more important with the extra daylight during the hot months.  Wearing a hat or visor will also help keep your face shaded.

Photo May 07, 11 11 13 AM

Don’t be afraid to walk or cut the run short if you’re feeling drained.  It takes a few weeks to adjust to the higher temps.  Add in humidity, and it’s even tougher to adjust.  It’s never wise to push it and end up with heat stroke or an injury.  Play it safe and listen to your body during the adjustment period, and sooner than you think, you’ll be ready to run safely in the heat!

Do you have any tips for acclimating to running in the heat and humidity?


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