6 Tips for Running Through Humidity

HumidRunI went for an easy 5-mile run yesterday morning before work. I woke up at 6 a.m. threw on my running clothes I laid out the night before. Put my hair in a bun. Threw on my Nuun visor and headed out the door.

My apartment felt cool but with the first step out the door I was smacked in the face by a wall of damp moisture. Well, good morning to you too, humidity.

Humidity and I are not friends and we haven’t been for a long time. Before I was a runner, I hated humidity because it caused my hair to have a mind of its own and become curly beyond belief. Now that I’m a runner, well, every humid run feels like I’m breathing under water. Not to mention my allergies are also terrible this time of year, so there’s that.

Any runner will tell you there’s nothing you can do about the weather, that’s why we’re out there in the dead of winter running through snowstorms and getting our sweat on in the summer under the hot sun. We put up with the weather because we don’t really have any other option. (The treadmill is NOT an option- for me, at least.)

So, yesterday, as I turned the corner onto my street to end my 5-miler I thought, how the hell can I deal with this for the rest of the summer and not completely fail on all of my runs? Luckily I know some pretty weather-savvy runners and was able to get some tips. Here are the best ones:

  1. Slow down, speedy! – Just like you slow your pace in the winter when it’s snowing or icy out, slowing down in the summer when it’s extremely hot will help you finish your run strong. Remember how much faster you were in the spring after a winter of slow running? Same thing will happen in the fall. So, pull in the reins and be OK with taking it slow.
  2. Hydrate (and drink tons of Nuun!) – Hydration is key to running in the humidity. Make sure you’re drinking plenty of water, not only before and after your run but throughout the entire day. You can hydrate with water but also try to add in a sports drink or electrolyte-enhanced water (like Nuun) because since you’ll be sweating a ton, you need to replace the sodium in your body to absorb water.
  3. Run early or later – I personally prefer to run before work as opposed to after but by getting out the door in the morning or evening, you’re avoiding the warmest part of the day. I love going on lunch runs but on really hot days, feeling overheated just isn’t worth it to me. So, on those days, I’ll opt to go run before work.
  4. Do not wear cotton, I repeat, do not wear cotton – Humidity and heat make you sweat so try to wear moisture wicking clothes on your run to avoid chafing and overheating. I go by the as-little-clothes-as-possible-without-being-naked rule on hot runs so I have a lot of spandex and sports bras in the near future.
  5. Wear a visor or cap – I don’t know if this will really help but it seems to keep a little heat off of my head. I wear a visor on most of my runs to protect my skin and keep the sun out of my eyes but it can help to keep my face cool. One person even suggested soaking a run cap in cold water before heading out the door to lower body temps.
  6. Don’t worry! – I know I was upset looking at my splits from this morning’s 5-miler. I was slow and it felt hard. But I know I shouldn’t worry about it because with every change in seasons there’s a period of adjustment (unless you live in a season-less place like California, which, if so, I am envious). The body is an amazing thing and it will adjust and adapt to the change in temps. So don’t fret over lost fitness, the fitness is still there, it just needs to make some changes.

This is just a rough list and I’m still learning so please, please give me your suggestions! Have any tips for running in the humidity? Leave them in the comments section below or tweet at me at @FitHappyGirl.

17 thoughts on “6 Tips for Running Through Humidity

  1. Good list! I did 5 miles yesterday, and I did loops so I could leave a bottle of nuun in the front yard. When it gets like this, I remind myself that the body will acclimate to the conditions, training in this nonsense will make fall races sweeter and it’s better than ice. I also try to map out runs in the beginning of week, putting quality runs on days it’s to be cooler.

  2. I’m one of those weird people that LOVES running in the heat and humidity. I know, I’m strange. In the summer I do run early though and the second it gets to a temperature that’s a little too hot for me, my shirt comes off and I sports bra it up. Time is the one think you just can’t worry about when it’s hot out. Great tips :)

  3. Definitely agree that it’s best to stay hydrated while running. It’s adjustment but with the summer coming it’s adapt or risk injury.

    I’m also an early morning runner. Ugh, even on the weekends. But during the summer it’s the on option especially when it’s 80 degrees at 6AM.

    Good tips and thanks for posting.

  4. Great tips! I ran less than 4 miles on Monday and I should have brought a water bottle, it was a struggle. I hate running in the humidity! I’m a serious sweater anyways, so I just end up looking like a steamy wet bag after humid runs. :-(

  5. My run on Monday was greeted with a smack in the face of humidity. I get really frustrated with slower paces but actually somewhat enjoy running in the summer. I really need to do a better job of waking up and running before the temps rise

  6. My run yesterday was definitely way harder than it should have been because of the humidity. I ran at the slowest pace possible and ran with a water bottle. I still have to find the best way possible to carry water because I don’t really like just holding it.. maybe an amphipod? I also run with the “wear as little as possible” rule.. I dont understand those people wearing capris and a tshirt when it’s so hot out!

    • I’m in high school right now, and cross country season has already started. Our first race was today, and I’ll have you know it was SO hot and humid (XD), but I was the only one running on the team with a headscarf, leggings, and a full sleeve shirt beneath the shorts and tank-top for religious reasons. If I can run in that, mind you, so can others. XD Even though I was dehydrated after our race, I was just as dehydrated as everyone else, not more, not less. I guess it ranges from person to person because I’ve trained myself to run in a sweat-jacket, sweat pants, and a scarf throughout the fall season so far (only a week, really) I guess you could say it’s “heat-resistance training” and all, but, like I said, personal preferences. Or misjudgment of how hot it’ll be. You be the judge.

  7. These are GREAT tips!!! I was thinking I really wish I had more nuun this morning. I did 4 miles and should have worn my fuel belt because it was humid and hot. I liked what you said about slowing down. I’m a before-work-morning-runner too! :)

  8. Great tips! I also have to remind myself to breathe deeply during humid runs. If I try to keep my breaths even, it takes my mind off of the heat. I also like to wear a decent sweat-proof sunscreen!

  9. Great tips! I abide by the same clothing rules for hot and humid runs. The heat and humidity officially hit NY this week and I’m struggling to get acclimated. I absolutely LOVE the heat and humidity, but even at my most hydrated (literally — 80 oz of water/electrolytes before my afternoon track session) I still can feel the affects towards the end of my runs… I think it’s important to know when to call it quits, too. If you’re feeling dizzy or weak at any point, even during rest, hydrate and go home!

  10. Pingback: On Summer Running | Geek Fitness

  11. Pingback: How to Run When the Heat and Humidity Make You Want to Die | Don't Blame the Kids

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