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.
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?