When preparing for a triathlon or any other endurance race, running outdoors is excellent for build in stamina and strength. You’ll notice a significant difference in how you run and how you recover depending on the weather. What follows is a winter vs. summer running comparison.
Running is much easier
Our bodies find it much easier to run at low temperatures. This was demonstrated by a study run by St. Mary’s University in London. The study took place in a lab, which simulated temperatures of 46 and 75 degrees.
Participants did runs of 3 and 40 minutes, and, according to the research, their thermal sensation was 32% higher in the cold temperatures that in the hot temperatures. This means that, in winter, runners are able to consistently sustain effort and feel comfortable.
The risk of dehydration is higher
When running winter, you might feel you are not sweating as much and you aren’t as thirsty. However, this can be deceiving; as the body’s sweat rates don’t actually change in the winter. That’s why is really important to drink half of your body weight in fluid ounces daily and drink 16 ounces of fluid two hours before running.
Running can be harder
When you run, your body temperature increases about 10 degrees. When running on a hot summer day, your body temperature will likely increase to a level of discomfort quicker than if you were running on a cold day. Warmth and humidity, which is normally higher in certain locations or in winter months, just make everything more challenging.
Sweating is the way for your body to cool off as the water evaporates from your skin when it reaches the air. During the summer, however, the air’s humidity can cause sweat to sit in the surface of your skin making it harder to cool down mid-run.
This is because of the quick increase in body temperature and difficulty in getting it back down compared to the winter months.