Runners in tropical countries can relate to this everyday. Running in humid climate comes with its own set of challenges, Nandini Reddy talks about how to be prepared for it.
What happens in humid weather
A 2012 study by Nour El Helou and other researchers at the Biomedical Research Institute of Sports Epidemiology in France analyzed the performance of almost 1.8 million marathon finishers at major-city marathons over a ten-year period and identified temperature as the strongest environmental factor associated with marathon times.
When you are trying to run in humid weather it is best to check on the relative humidity for the day. Relative humidity refers to the amount of water present in the air. If the figure is high then it means that the chances of sweat evapourating from your body is lesser. Sweat will stay on your skin and you might experience more discomfort because the body cannot cool down as fast. An overheated body can lead to early exhaustion and might increase your timing per km or mile of the run. So it is important to remember that pacing for a marathon in a humid climate might differ from running in cooler weather. You will also need to hydrate better in humid climates as your body needs help cooling down.
How do you train in humid climates?
In order to adapt to the weather you will need at least 2 weeks worth of training. With training you can teach your body to respond better in humid running conditions. As you train more your body will adjust to the weather and you will also find a comfortable pace. In humid climates it is important to drink water before a run and during as well. The body will not only need water but also electrolytes. In most humid climate runs the water stations will also have a salt to help you replenish you lost salt from all the sweating. Clothing should be light and loose so that it doesn’t stick to your body further hampering evapouration.
Your heart rate is another thing that can go up in humid climates. So you need to be watchful if your feeling exhausted. If you are then slow your pace, hydrate a bit more and give yourself a few minutes to recover before hitting the hard running again. Muscle cramps are also more common while running marathons in humid climates. But hydration can take care of them too.
It is also important that you start slow and then ramp up your pace when running in humid conditions so that you give you body enough time to adjust to the weather conditions. Most Asian countries have humid climates so if you are running in any of the marathons across Asia then remember to train right. So whether your running in Singapore, Thailand or India you might encounter humid weather so it better to be prepared for it.