Guide to Hot Weather Running: The Twin Evils

In the second installment of our summer running series, we examine the twin evils that leave people disliking the summer run. Cue the dramatic music, please. 1stFirst, you know that it’s summer and so you expect to experience higher temperatures. You’re not stupid. According to Runner’s World, the general rule “is that above 55 degrees, for every increase of 10 degrees, marathon pace increases by 1.5-3%. This might not sound like much, but that means that a run that might normally take you an hour could be 6 minutes longer when the temperature hits 85 degrees.”2ndSo Runners’ World tells you all about how hotter temperatures can affect your running performance and we saw these at play in marathons where it was, you know, hot out. Like at Disney World, because there’s no place you’d rather be in 80 degree heat than on a long stretch of Florida highway completely devoid of shade.

3rdBut what the summer running guides don’t mention as much, and what I think is even more nefarious and evil than the heat (or for that matter a man with strong ties to his mother) is it’s companion… Humidity. Yes, 93 degrees sucks and yes it can be downright dangerous, but when you combine the two on a run through Georgetown you can’t help but look at all the townhouses and make the sign of the cross because surely something unholy is lurking behind those colonial style facades.

Personally, I’ve found that I can run better in just heat than I can in humidity. And when the two are combined I need to just hide in a cool, dark place like my apartment with the blinds down and the AC turned all the way up.

But what do you do if you’ve got a marathon in October and need to exorcise/exercise yourself of these demons?

Damned if I know. I’ve found it works to look at the hourly forecast and plan my runs accordingly. Know what I’m getting into and adjust my pace accordingly. I’m also cool with packing it in and heading to the treadmill. The miles have to get done and better to have a done run on the treadmill than a run I never even attempted, right?

And if you’re running through Georgetown and hear a voice screaming to a priest to do something obscene to a little girl… Well, perfect time for a little speed work, right?

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