Just as there are a number of ways to run, there are also a number of good weather conditions. The right condition depends on the area in which you're running, how you prefer to run and similar factors. If you're looking for the best weather to improve your breathing while you run, though, the key is the right balance between temperature and humidity.
Balancing Temperature and Humidity
One measure of the balance between temperature and humidity is called the wet bulb globe temperature index (WGBT). This measure takes into account how the humidity, the sun's rays, the wind and ambient temperature work together to affect temperature perception. Each WGBT temperature has its own risks, and many sports organizations rank WGBT on a scale of white flag to black flag. At WGBT temperatures above 82 degrees Fahrenheit, an event is a black flag and may be canceled, while WGBT temperatures around 65 degrees Fahrenheit show a decreased risk of heat-related illness.
Rainy vs. Clear Weather
Rainy weather can take the edge off of severe heat in hot regions of the country, and a light rain can be ideal in the hot summer months. Rain poses some risks, though, particularly if you run in or near the street. Decreased visibility increases the risk of injury, and slippery pavement can increase your risk of a fall.
Hot vs. Cold Weather
Very hot weather is almost never ideal for running. You'll get hotter and sweat more, increasing your risk of dehydration and heat-related illness. You might even burn fewer calories. According to a 2014 "Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism" study, your body has to work harder to stay warm in cold weather, so you tend to burn more calories when you run while it's cold outside. At very low temperatures, however, you face an increased risk of hypothermia, and the excess layers you have to wear to keep warm increase your risk of overheating.
Humid vs. Dry Weather
High humidity generally makes it harder for your body to cool itself because sweat takes longer to evaporate. You may have to drink more fluids to stay hydrated, which can slow you down. Humidity can make mild temperatures feel much hotter, increasing your risk of heat-related illnesses and overheating. You're more likely to encounter high-humidity conditions near large bodies of water and after a rain storm.
- American College of Sports Medicine: ACSM Heat and Humidity Guidelines for Races
- New York Daily News: Turn Down the Heat to Burn More Calories, Study Suggests
- Hartford Marathon: Wet Bulb Globe Temperature -- Everything You Want to Know
- Runaddicts: Advice About Running in High Humidity Climates
- Runner Academy: Running in Hot Weather -- Impact on Pace
- Photo Credit Purestock/Purestock/Getty Images