This past weekend reminded me of just how much I hate humidity and hills when running. Well I actually don’t HATE hills- I really enjoy a nice downhill and I am learning to conquer the uphills slowly but surely. But they still make my legs tire much more than running on flat ground.
Humidity and Hills
My run on Saturday was a lovely combination of hot/humid/sunny weather and lots of hills. We had signed up for a training run with Falls Road running and ran a similar course to the beginning of the Baltimore Marathon. I have mentioned this before but when I ran the Baltimore Marathon last year I went out too fast and totally killed my legs before mile 15. Running this course brought back memories of that day and reminded me of how challenging of a course it is.
The training run started at the inner harbor and then had us run an 8+ mile loop to get back to where we started. If we wanted to do 12+ we could continue the run downtown and do an out and back along the harbor.
The run started at 7am which is early enough but I think it would have been better on that particular day to start running around 5:30 before the sun was up. By the time we got outside it was already really hot and humid. As we ran the sun was beating down on us and I was seriously the most sweaty I have been in a LONG time.
I’m pretty sure by the end its was more like 85 degrees
I ran with Rob for part of the run and he struggled just as much as I did (if not more). When we got back downtown I think we both considered cutting the run at 8 miles. I had wanted to do my last 3 at 8 min/mile pace. Until then my miles were averaging around 8:55. I decided to just got for it and managed to hit the last 3 on target…but it felt SO much harder than that pace has felt during other runs lately.
The other crazy thing was that I ran the 12 miler a month ago on a similar course. I was able to do that at a 7:48 pace and it didn’t feel as hard as this run did. But the weather that day was a million times better.
I think that my hill workouts lately have helped to get me better and more comfortable with hills. Humidity however- you can’t really plan “humidity runs”. I mean, I guess when you are forced to run in it you adapt. But we have had a nice (less humid) August and hopefully the weather will improve from here on out.
Running in Humidity
I read this article about running in humidity and here are a few things I learned:
- Humidity makes warm summer runs even more taxing because the higher the moisture content of the air, the hotter it feels
- Humidity prevents sweat from evaporating, so the heat stays put rather than evaporating
- There is less blood will flow to your GI tract, which will make the digestion of sports drinks or gels difficult, and you may feel nauseous as a result
- Your heart rate escalates higher as your heart and lungs work harder to deliver oxygen throughout your body
- You’re more prone to side stitches due to uneven breathing
- You’re brain temperature can rise putting you at risk of not being able to assess how hot you actually are
- You may lose control over body mechanics or feel dizzy/disoriented
- As humidity increases, thermal strain and premature fatigue increase exponentially, and so running at your normal pace will feel very difficult
- Some variables that play a role in how runners respond to humidity are body size, age, sweat content, and where you live/if you’re used to running in humid conditions
So there are alot of legitimate reasons why humid runs feel so much harder!
Which is worse for you: Running hills or running in humid weather?