Ahhh, summer, the time of year when we like to exaggerate how hot it is.
The CBC had a great article some years ago about just how and why the Humidex, a Canadian invention, is flawed.
It's especially important for us runners and cyclists, as we may miss other factors that are equally important!
In no particular order:
- Humidity - when it's very humid, sweat doesn't evaporate well to cool you down
- Sun - this is massive - I especially notice it in winter. A sunny day at 0C feels a lot warmer than a cloudy day at 0C! Running at noon vs early a.m./p.m., even at the same temperature, is much more difficult. The direct rays add heat to your body that you need to then expel.
- Wind - the one thing that makes cycling more tolerable than running in hot weather is the speed of travel generates more wind! Ahhhhh.
It's remarkable, I biked yesterday for almost 4 hours in +32C (+36C with the fake Humidex, and in the sun!) but it felt... ok.
Today I ran in cooler temperatures and died by the end. I'm still sweating and that run ended half an hour ago.
- Clothing choice - black in the sun? Long sleeves? Etc! So many ways to either help or stop your body from cooling itself down. I used a singlet today - it really helps with the air flow.
And, as the CBC climatologist notes, "no two people react the same way to weather. Age and health, including respiratory issues and fitness levels, affect how hot it feels".
So when they say it Feels Like 36C - first of all, what day's +36C are they comparing to? A sunny dry day with no wind? Cloudy? Windy? Who knows!
And each person is different, so what might feel like +36C to one person might feel like, I dunno, +42C to another.
Yeah maybe. But I think it's worth paying attention to the other factors and knowing how one's own body reacts to them, rather than just blindly taking a number that "Big Weather" throws out there.