Updated: Dec 31, 2019
The weather can make running outside not very enjoyable. It can slow you down if the heat index is really bad and speed you up if you are racing a thunderstorm. You CAN run in any condition but when are the elements too much for when you should stay inside and dare I say it, hit the treadmill? 1. When it is very hot outside, you should stay indoors. Running outside during the summer will be a sweat producing workout, and cause your body to work harder to cool itself down while keeping your pH and electrolytes balanced. But when the temperature increases to 95+, try to get your runs in during the early morning hours when the temperature is at its coolest. If you wait to run in the evening, be aware that it can still be 90+ degrees outside at 9 p.m. during the summer. So either run early or stay inside. If you must run during the day, bring hydration with you, wear proper gear and stay fueled. If you find yourself slowing down, do not be surprised. They say for every 5-degree increase in temperature, you slow down 20-30 seconds. Otherwise, choose to stay cool inside.
2. If the heat index (which is the temperature outside + humidity) is above 100, you should probably stay inside. This is when the heat will become almost unbearable. Your body will be working in overtime to cool itself down, but with the release of sweat, it won’t be evaporating off of your body during moments when the humidity and heat index is incredibly high. This prevents the heat from leaving your body and you could then be at risk for dehydration. If you decide to run outside, choose a shaded path and take some walking breaks, but be aware that you may feel “off” because of the weather. If the humidity is above 40%, it will feel even hotter outside than it actually is. Times like these, I try to get it done early, or head indoors. 3. You don’t swim during a thunderstorm, so why would you run in one? Dangerous weather such as thunder and lightning should always prevent you from running outside. If you are already out, make sure you take shelter. Plus sometimes thunderstorms bring nasty pelting rain where you can’t see in front of you. Also, who wants to get struck by lightning? Just wait it out because more than likely, the thunderstorm will move out of the area quickly. If not, get your treadmill session on. As I like to say, if you shouldn’t swim during a thunderstorm, you shouldn’t run in one either.
4. If water can freeze when thrown in the air, you shouldn't be running in it. Arctic blasts of air can make breathing outside very challenging. Now try running in it. A mask can only do so much if the arctic air rolling through is equivalent to below freezing temperatures. When you are running in the extreme cold, your body is working in overtime to keep you heated, so adding in extreme elements such as running into the wind, will make your body work harder than it needs to. If you don't care about the cold, just be smart. If it is too much, take your run inside. There is no harm in keeping warm.
5. Ice, Snow or a Blizzard
Blizzard conditions battling the snow and wind should automatically keep you inside. Running in 1 foot of snow is tough because you will be doing more high knees than focusing on your gait. Plus who knows where your foot will land whether it will be on black ice causing you to eat it, in a hole causing you to hurt your ankle or worse break it. If there is minimal snow on the ground or it its not sticking while coming down, you are ok to hit the roads. But remember it is better to be safe than sorry.