As we have mentioned before, the two of us behind The Right Fits live in two different cities, which have two completely different climates. Cool J lives in the Midwest, and I live in the Mid-South. So, we face different weather extremes when it comes to running.
So we asked ourselves: which is worse – running in the scorching heat or the bitter cold? We decided to debate this topic – Cool J taking on the cold, as she is faced with at least five months of bone-chilling cold every year, and me taking on the heat, which I deal with eight months out of the year.
Here we go…I’m bringing the heat!
There are obvious negatives to running in the heat, as well as some not so obvious ones.
- Salt Lines: When you sweat, the water evaporates and leaves the salt behind as white lines on your skin.In particular, they tend to form along your hairline and under your eyebrows. Sometimes, you can taste the salt left along the edge of your lips. I like to tell myself that when I rub it off, I am exfolliating…maybe?
- Dehydration: This is a given. When you sweat just by walking out the door, think of how much fluid you are losing when you run! This can be very serious, so you need to bring plenty of water/Gatorade along in your fuel belt.
- Excessive Sweating: When it is very hot, you will sweat more than normal, which makes everything more uncomfortable. Think about your Porta-John stops on a hot run. For women, it is nearly impossible to get those shorts/undergarments off to use the toilet…and even harder to pull them back on. Everything sticks.
- Rest Stops: And everything stinks…at least at your emergency rest stops. Where restrooms along running paths/race routes are not ever very nice, when it is hot, small spaces get hot and things start to smell – especially Porta-Johns. You think you were sweating going into the John? Try balancing on sore legs so to avoid touching the contaminated seat, while trying to unstick your undergarments, and standing in a confined space with no circulation…that smells. Enough said.
- Sweat Stings: When you are sweating so much, you cannot avoid sweat dripping into the eyes. And that sweat normally stings, and burns, making it very hard to see. The worst is that when it is sunny, you are normally wearing sunblock to avoid a sunburn, which makes the stinging even worse.
- Sunglasses: Normally when it it hot, it is sunny, so you commonly wear sunglasses, which will fog up (even with the best antifog lenses), and slide down your nose with your sweat and sunblock. It is almost worth not to wear them, but then you end up squinting, which leads to crows feet.
- Nappy Hair: Do not even think about looking cute at the post-run celebratory drink. Your hair will be slicked back and matted to your neck and checks, looking like a mullet and sideburns.
- Raccoon Eyes: If you wear a little mascara for a run, you will have raccoon eyes – even if you have some amazing waterproof mascara. With the quantity of water running down your face (and your eyes tearing up from the sweat/sunblock), rest assured that your mascara will run.
- Sunburn/Tan Lines: As stated above, commonly found with the heat is the sun. And you can put on as much sunblock as you want (and end up with the stinging/burning eyes), but no matter what you do, you will end up with either a sunburn (after your sweat removes all your sunblock) or really wicked tan lines (sunglass tan lines, sports bra/racerback tan).
- Chafing: The salt discussed above – think about the roughness of that. Kind of like sandpaper as you move your skin repeatedly over it. Yes, chafing increases with the heat.
- Increased Wetness: You are so dehydrated from the heat that there is no way you had to go to the bathroom, but yet, because of the sweat, you look and feel like you just wet yourself. Your shorts (or skirts) stick to your legs and start to ride up.
- Swollen Feet: Heat makes your feet swell. So, when you are running in the heat, your feet will swell more often, causing your toes and heels to rub, and making it extremely uncomfortable to run downhill.
- Slower Times: It is really hard to PR in the heat. If you did it, props to you. But normally you will run slower and heavier on hot race days.
Living in the Mid-South, I have had my fair share of really sweaty races. Most road races in April – September are held at night (after 7:00 pm), but that doesn’t necessarily help. For example, every year my husband and I run a race that his company supports. The race is in June and starts at 7:00 pm. And it is always insanely hot. So hot that I am wearing a sweat bib on my shirt just from walking from the car to the start line (about 400 meters). It is a race through a residental neighborhood, so at least the locals come out to hose the runners down as they run by.
But then at the end, you can feel your heart pounding in your temples, and you are so sweaty it looks like you wet yourself, and you aren’t cooling down…at all.
Races commonly get canceled due to the extreme heat. Think: the Chicago Marathon 2007. But, I don’t often hear about races being canceled due to extreme cold, at least not big ones (No sleet, snow, or cold has stopped the Boston Marathon!). I’ve even run a 10k in a blizzard before…nothing compared to even running a 5k in 90 degrees with 75% humidity. But one positive – after running the heat, your numbness is more a testament to how hard you pushed yourself, not how cold the weather was. And you probably do not have snot on your face and gloves; or hypothermia!