Running in high humidity feels like being trapped inside a giant water droplet covered by a thick fleece blanket filled with a swarm of disease-carrying mosquitos. It’s more than uncomfortable. Running in high temperatures and humid conditions is hard for the body, no matter how fit you are.
As one of the more humid regions in the country, the RGV provides a relentless bath of humidity year-round. If you’re an RGV runner, check out this tidbit of info and tips to cope with muggy conditions during your next run.
What Humidity Does to Your Body
When humidity reaches 70% or higher, you’ll need to look out for your health. During physical activity, your body temperature rises to cool off. Your glands produce droplets of sweat that carry heat to the surface of your skin where they evaporate.
However, too much humidity prevents the evaporation of sweat, and instead of ridding heat, your body retains it. As a result, your body quickly dehydrates, losing precious electrolytes and triggers an automatic survival response to maintain blood flow to your organs.
What happens next is a domino effect of internal problems. With less blood going to your muscles, your lungs work harder to deliver oxygen to all parts of your body, increasing your heart rate. As your body temperature rises, your nervous system beings to suffer. You’ll be less able to determine your body temperature with many symptoms and side effects appearing. You may experience:
- Upset stomach
- Muscle stitches
- Difficulty breathing
It’s not as hopeless as it seems, though. Running in Valley weather is very doable and simply takes time. It may take up to two weeks for your body to adapt to the weather, but here are a few tips to always keep in mind.
Only you know your limits. Your health and age need to be taken into consideration during running sessions. Also, whether you’re an experienced athlete or a newbie runner, running in humid, hot weather is never easy on the body. Most will still suffer with health and performance if they don’t pace themselves during running. Adjust your workout times and pace to properly monitor your health and progression.
It may sound repetitive, but your physical abilities and limits are truly unique. Sweat loss varies from person to person, so finding the proper fluid intake to stay hydrated while running is critical. To perform your best and reap the benefits of running, pre-hydrate and rehydrate.
Know Your Environment
During the summer, run when the sun is lowest, near shaded paths or near bodies of water for a cool breeze. If the Weather Channel says to expect temperatures in the high 90s with humidity levels above 70%, opt for an indoor workout on a treadmill. Never put yourself at risk for dehydration, so know outdoor conditions before running.