Running in heat/high humidity | 80/20 Endurance

Running in heat/high humidity

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    I live in south central Texas. In the wintertime, my HR and pace zones line up very well. But this time of year, I can be chugging along in Zone X HR, while in Zone 1 pace. If I’m doing a foundation/easy run in zone 2, do I allow for an increase in HR? Or do I basically walk to keep my HR in zone 2. Or do I stick with zone 2 pace and not worry about my HR?

    Thank you,

    David Warden


    Stick with Pace, but don’t let HR span more than one zone as a secondary safeguard. For example, On a Zone 2 run, use Pace, but if HR drifts into Zone 3, back off until HR is back into Zone X.



    Can you please elaborate a little on what’s permissible on long runs? I have the same problem, with a huge difference in pace to keep HR in zone 2 when it get’s warmer/more humid. It isn’t as noticeable at first, for the first mile or two, but then with heat, cardiac drift, and probably some dehydration it gets worse and worse to where I’m creeping along at an annoyingly slow pace with low RPE but HR struggling to keep under the zone 2 ceiling.

    Can I use RPE with the same guidelines you put in the above answer for pace?
    Do you think that the extra 5-10 HR points when it’s from heat is different from when it is from actual effort or pace and so it won’t negate the benefits of a low intensity run?

    Thanks very much

    David Warden


    My concern with mixing HR and RPE is now we have two subjective measures, reminds me of the blind leading the blind. RPE and HR are good, but are both heavily influenced by environment and perception. You really need an objective “3rd-party” when training in extreme environments, like Pace or Power. So, my recommendation is “no” to RPE + HR in poor conditions, but I suspect that other reliable coaches would have a different opinion.

    For sure, that extra 5-10 points in hot/humid conditions is different than elevated HR from actual intensity. Just like when I come up behind you and say “boo!” and your HR spikes to 140, that’s not a workout, no fitness is gained. Regrettably, a HR is not necessarily linked to output. Like the engine temperature gauge in your car, it can be sky high when you are sitting at a red light.


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