Hot, hot, hot

Back in the beginning of June, I committed to outdoor weekday runs. Determined to become a runner who embraced hot weather pavement pounding, I headed out every Tuesday and Thursday night to get some miles in. It was hot, and the pace wasn’t my fastest, but the runs were done every single week like clockwork.

Then marathon training started. I needed to start hitting faster paces in my speed and tempo workouts. No matter how well fueled or hydrated I felt I was, I still couldn’t drop the pace as low as it needed to be. Incredibly discouraged, my goal for the Philly Marathon was bumped up to sub-5 from 4:40. The heat kicked my ass at the track, leaving me defeated and upset.

There are two times to run during the summer in Texas: early morning or late evening. Early morning (6-7am) you can expect 80-85 degrees with 80-100% humidity, depending on the day. Late evening (8-9pm) is generally in the ballpark of 90-100 degrees with humidity in the 30-40% range, again depending on the day. I logged enough long runs last summer during marathon training to know that yes, I can run through humidity, but my pace will be nothing to write home about. There were a few runs I was forced to do on the treadmill and my pace improved by over a minute per mile. That’s HUGE.

Yesterday I saw a tweet from Jeri that linked to an article on Women’s Running about running through the humidity.

From the article:

Running in humid weather can be a brutal adventure. Suddenly your normal pace takes a good beating as you try to navigate through the thick, soup-like summer air. Though the rays of beautiful sunlight are ever so enticing, running indoors might be a better option during periods of high temps coupled with high humidity. Check out this chart that shows how the percentage of humidity affects the relative temperature:

It’s one thing to push through the heat, but it’s another to be attempting to nail tempo paces (ahem, strenuous activity) when you’re in the extreme caution or danger zone. I’d rather successfully complete my runs than be disappointed week after week as the heat zaps my energy levels and decreases my pace, causing me to miss key workouts. Until it cools down just a bit, I think I’ll be moving my mile repeats and tempo runs inside to the hamster wheel. Better to be safe than sorry!

Is it fall yet?

How do you deal with running in the heat? Do you ever take the workout inside to be safe?

What’s your breaking point, temperature-wise, for when you know it’s time to hit the ‘mill?

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14 Comments

  1. I pretty much always run in the mornings to beat the heat. Honestly, the earlier the better. On Saturday mornings my running group starts our long runs at 5 am which is so nice! If I MUST run at night (which I will be tonight) I always keep those runs short and sweet and try to run when the sun goes down. And I alwaysalwaysalways have my water with me when I run in the summer months. I don’t care if it’s a 3, 4, or 5 mile run. Every little sip counts.

  2. oh my goodness.. i love this article.. i am with you on the tweet you saw.. heat can change up a run so much.. i have to run at 8pm or after in order to beat the heat.. i can’t go in the am.. so this is what works for me. i am a new follower:) love this post. #spa

  3. I expect to have much slower times in the heat and a lot of times I forgo speed work all together. The best part is that all of this hard work of yours and pushing will turn into stellar ability when the weather cools! Keep it up!

    • Thanks Kayla! Unfortunately the plan I follow requires only 3 runs (speed, tempo, long) per week so I can’t forgo the fast runs. Very true though – once the temps dip come fall, running should feel MUCH easier!

  4. I usually run at 5:00 am and don’t take a water bottle under an hour even in the summer. But we got new puppies and if I get up that will wake them and they will wake the family so we’re going to try my running in the evening. That means a 55 minute run for me tonight when it’s 100 or so. You can bet that water bottle will be glued to my hand and I’ll just pay attention to HR and not speed.

  5. Ugh be careful in the heat. Heat I can deal with, humidity NO THANK YOU. This morning was super humid and even though I only did 3 miles, it felt like 15 at the end. If the temp is above 85, I do not run. I’m pretty sensive to heat as it is. I have never had to skip a run because of the heat because I usually go at 5:30am and luckily it has not been over 85 degrees that early in the morning here.

  6. Great post! I live up in New York, and the heat doesn’t get up in the 100s, but it’s been in the mid-90s pretty often, and the humidity is ridiculous. I usually run in the morning and bring a water bottle in case it gets hot quickly. At least when the weather cools, you’ll be well-prepared!

  7. Ick! I hate running in heat or humidity! I feel ya girlie! I’m def an early bird runner getting up at 5am everyday,ad the temps in PA aren’t even that bad!!! I wouldn’t be ble to take that Texas sun!! It’d be tread mill for me!! Best of luck to you and have a great day! SPA love!

  8. There are sooo many days that I wish I could run indoors here but we actually gave up our gym membership a couple of years ago! We were hardly ever using it and realized it wasn’t worth the money for us. Plus we were going to Gold’s and it had just come out that the company was supporting a lot of anti-gay rights organizations so we decided to cancel and just run outdoors. I’m hoping slow paces get us through the rest of the summer!

  9. Kori
    Twitter: ohhayitskk

    Running in the heat is the worst. I used to be so so good about getting up early to do my runs, and I’m trying to get back to that place, because it’s just impossible to run any later in the day, even in the Northeast. I can’t even tell you how slow I am in the heat. It’s truly embarrassing.

  10. Uhh, WordPress just ate my comment. Suffice it to say, I TOO hate running in the heat.

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