Running When It’s Sticky
Being a runner in the Chicago Area you always need to be prepared. It could be 75 in the morning, 95 in the afternoon, and snowing by early evening, but one thing is certain the weather in Chicago is always changing. However, as were coming into the main running season one of the things that becomes prominent is heat and humidity. On one hand a day like today you might not notice it… it’s currently 60° and overcast with a high today forecasted at 76°. That said, just the other day the forecast was for 72° yet when I went running at 4:30 at in the afternoon it was 79° and probably 130% humidity.
For many runners out there, running in the humidity feels like slogging through a swamp. For me, I knew it within the 1st mile that things were different. My easy 3 miles felt like they were going to be more like 17 and just trying to pace through that 1st mile was fatiguing my entire body. The culprit wasn’t temperature because I run in the 80s and 90s with relative ease (I prefer to run in the afternoon opposed to mornings) so I’m used to warm temperatures the differential this run was the humidity.
Why Humidity Matters When you run, your core body temperature naturally rises, and your sweat glands produce droplets that carry excess heat to the surface of the skin, where it evaporates. But humidity prevents sweat from evaporating, so the heat stays put. “On a hot, humid day with no breeze, you have lost a key way to get rid of your building body heat, which can make running dangerous,” says Michael Bergeron, Ph.D., a professor at the Sanford School of Medicine of the University of South Dakota.
I recently ran across this article that provides more focus and information on humidity and it’s impact than I ever could. I hope it helps you understand the dangers of humidity and provides some options to get you through your runs.