Having trouble acclimating to the heat and humidity this summer? You’re not alone. Try as we might, many runners struggle to adjust to the soaring temperatures and stifling dampness found in so many areas this time of year. You may find yourself why, more than a month into the official summer season, running just doesn’t seem to be getting easier. Fall marathon training might seem like a joke right now. Trust me, I get it.
Before throwing in that sweat-soaked towel entirely, ask yourself this one question: how much time are you really spending outside? If the answer is the total amount of time you spend running every day, you may have just found the reason why acclimating to the heat is so challenging. Think about it: if you spend 30-60 minutes outside during your run each day and then spend the other 23-23.5 hours inside in the air conditioning, how can your body adequately adjust to the heat? While we are by no means suggesting spending the majority of your day outside, it’s possible to speed up your acclimation with a little more exposure.
One key is spending time in the heat at a variety of different times during the day. If you live in an area of high humidity, you probably notice that the humidity is worst in the mornings, while the temperature is cooler. By contrast, it is less humid, but hotter, later in the day. Getting used to both types of weather can help your body acclimate more quickly, so consider going outdoors for a few minutes three times a day: morning, lunch, and evening. A typical day might look like this:
- Morning: Early morning run, 30-60 minutes
- Lunch: 15-30 minute walk outdoors during lunch break
- Evening: 15-30 minute walk after dinner
You’ve now doubled the amount of time you are spending outdoors, thereby giving your body double the time to adjust. Feel free to move the run and walks around to accommodate your schedule. Remember, the walks do not need to be a hard effort or even a brisk walk. You are simply getting your body used to the feeling of the heat and humidity throughout the day. As you build up a tolerance, you may find yourself adding on to your walks or runs!