Running in High Humidity – How To

Running in High Humidity – How To

Running in high humidity
The image is an actual photo from a humid morning in Atlanta by the river trail!

It is already starting to get humid and hot in Atlanta and in various parts of the country (except Colorado. Where it snowed last week. In MAY!). One of the things that many athletes do to avoid the summer heat is to change their running schedule so they run early in the morning or later in the evening when the sun goes down. Running around with kids and activities and dinner, I find it really really difficult to do any sort of workout after my regular work and getting out to run at 8:00pm is not even a top 10 priority for me in the evenings. Early mornings are my best bet to escape the sun. But there is no escaping the oppressive humidity (85-90% at 5am!!). Even a 4 mile easy run leaves me soaked and dripping!

Running in High humidity

Why watch out while running/cycling in high humidity?

When you workout, your core temperature raises and you sweat (buckets, in my case). Sweat evaporates naturally from your skin. But excessive humidity prevents sweat from evaporating. So your body ends up holding on to the heat. You might notice

  • dehydration
  • GI issues
  • cramps
  • higher heart race
  • chills and disorientation (in severe cases. I had chills during a training ride in the blazing heat and humidity of Augusta!)

All because the humidity and sweat not evaporating is playing havoc on your core body temperature.

Running in high humidity
The “I-can’t-open-my-eyes-because-sweat-is-rolling-down-and-it’s-burning” face.

Tips for Running in High Humidity 

Hydrate Hydrate Hydrate

I never go without water no matter how short my runs. Plenty of water during the activity and plenty of water during the day too

Don’t forget your salt/electrolytes

Electrolytes help regulate body fluids. When you sweat, out goes electrolytes as well. And you need to replenish those as well as water to maintain the balance. (My go to is the base salt – one lick and you are good!)

Choose the right clothes

Wicking, breathable clothes over something else with a certain color or design. I’ve seen a lot of this particularly during the 4th of July races where awesome designs of red, white and blue are often on cotton Ts.

Take time to acclimatize

Running in humid conditions at an average of 1hr per day takes about 2 weeks to acclimatize to the heat and humidity. Me being me, I take 3-4 to acclimatize

Run by Effort

Forget the pace and run by feel or heart rate when it’s hot. Easy runs should feel easy, even if you are running much much much slower than you are used to. The pace will get better as you acclimatize and the cooler temperatures of fall will make you feel like

Body Glide/Other Lubes

I can’t imagine my shower life after running without body glide/hoo ha glide/any other anti-chafing product. I often have to stop to reapply once or twice mid run as well!

Just remember, be prepared for the humidity. But feeling sluggish on a sticky day doesn’t indicate a lack of fitness or mental toughness—it’s your body’s physical response to a stressful environment.

Does it get humid where you run or cycle?
What tips do you have to get used to running or cycling in high humidity?


Linking up with Running on Happy & Fairytales and Fitness for the Friday Five 2.0 linkup!

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  • Kimberly

    The humidity simply kills me when running in the summer! It definitely takes me a few weeks to sort of get used to it, although I don’t think you ever get used to it, lol

  • A lot of us wrote about this topic today! Guess we’ve got summer on our minds. We get hot humid days in Chicago but I know it doesn’t touch Hotlanta!

  • It gets pretty hot and humid in Iowa in the summer (though probably not quite as severe as in the south). I actually don’t mind it…but I’m not usually out there attempting crazy speed work on the really hot days. It’s been awhile, but I really like going for a run on a hot summer evening…just as the sun goes down and all the bugs start chirping is pretty tranquil for me 😉

  • It gets so humid around DC and very quickly. It always takes me a few weeks to get used to it for sure. I have to carry water even on short runs

  • Rachel

    Great tips! It’s been humid here in Cleveland (thankfully not too awful yet) so I’m acclimating as the days go by. I did feel rather exerted today but at least there was a cool breeze.

  • Elaine @myRUNexperiment

    No problems with humidity in San diego😄 Can’t imagine running in 90% humidity – great tips!

  • The humidity is the worst! I try to do all of these things.

  • Toni Church

    Great post!! I am actually working on a humidity post myself. I have never experienced it so much as I do here in Florida.

  • Kathryn Thayer

    I’m with you, I never run without water, especially when its hot and humid outside. If I’m thirsty during a run that normally means that I’m in need of some water. The last thing I want when its hot and humid outside is to become dehydrated.

  • Oh the humidity! The struggle is definitely real here in the East Coast! Thanks for linking up!

  • Humidity is definitely an issue here. And sweat in my eyes – ugh!

  • Vicki M (Fueled by Carrots)

    Whew… we get humid in Houston! I use all these tips, and totally get the sweat rolling down in my eyes thing.

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