If you are an outdoor runner you certainly have noticed that the weather can dictate how well you feel during your run. You may be surprised to learn that your performance during a run or race is directly related to the weather. The "perfect running temperature" has been scientifically debated to be somewhere around 50-54 degrees! Most people begin to slow after 55 degrees and can really "hit the wall" if the temperature rises above 65 degrees while racing.
For people who live in chronically warmer states, such as we are in Texas, it is essential to try and get your runs done in the early in the morning or later at night in order to avoid the heat of the day. However if you are stuck running in the hot weather, there are a couple of things to keep in mind. First, the hotter it is the more your body must work to cool you down by producing sweat. Sweating takes up energy, causing you to tire more quickly and lose fluids and electrolytes more rapidly, making it essential to replenish your fluid levels during and after runs. Increased heat also causes your feet to become moister in your shoes which can cause blisters. Make sure that on hot days you are wearing extra moisture-wicking socks to prevent your feet from blistering.
Besides the temperature, another weather factor that can impact your performance is rain. How rain impacts performance really depends on the amount of rain. If there is a light drizzle coming down on you while you run then the cooling effect of the moisture on your body can actually help enhance your performance. If the precipitation is more extreme, leading to conditions where you are getting totally drenched, then your performance is going to be hindered for a couple of reasons. First, your performance suffers during heavy rain because, whether consciously or not, you run more cautiously in order to prevent slipping on the wet surface that you are running on. Also, heavy rain can get your clothing so wet that you can develop blisters very quickly which can become painful. Some of the most common places to develop blisters from rain are on your feet, between your thighs, and around a woman's sports bra.
Although Mother Nature is not so kind as to provide 53 degrees cloudy running weather every day, there are some ways to make sure your run goes as smoothly as possible for the conditions that you face while running. The easiest way to make sure that the temperature does not negatively impact your performance is to plan ahead and anticipate any obstacles that the weather may provide.