Do the Dew (Point)

You know those days when you walk outside, prepared to run, and you start sweating immediately? Don’t blame the temperature, it is all in the dew point. Now I’d never heard of this measurement until speed work one miserable day; I started kvetching almost immediately when I entered the track and coach explained that it was the dew point, not the humidity, that was killing me. According to coach (and science) the dew point is the temperature where water vapor will condense into water. To put it a bit more plainly, the higher the dew point, the harder it is for your sweat to evaporate. Sounds pleasant, huh?

Now before I go out for a run, I check the temperature and dew point. It helps to prepare mentally. If the dew point is above 65° then I know not to push myself too hard. The last thing anyone needs is to faint or become horribly dehydrated in this weather. If you notice that the dew point will be lower later in the day, consider changing your routine for the day. Remember to have water and a towel (or absorbent top) easily accessible if you are heading out in less than ideal conditions!

Check out this quick article (courtesy of coach) that gives a slight break down of the different ways to handle the varying dew points – Dew Point Information  If you want a more detailed explanation, well then go to Wikipedia (obviously).

Is this a measurement you’ve ever heard of? Do you take dew point into consideration before going outdoors? 

About Michelle

I'm an engineer living (and running) in Palo Alto, CA.

Posted on June 28, 2011, in Running and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. Carly D. @ CarlyBananas

    Ooooh this probably really explains why I couldn’t get myself moving during my run last night. Good info. I never thought to check this before.

  2. This is great info. Here in the Pacific Northwest, it just rains a lot, so we don’t deal with much humidity. But when it’s there, I really notice it! I’ll retweet this for you :)

    • I’m jealous that you get to avoid humidity, it really gets in the way of life. I’ll happily admit that I’m looking forward to less humidity and lower dew points when I become a west coaster in the fall.

      Thanks for the retweet! :)

  3. Thanks for the info! I’m going to start checking the dew point regularly. Hopefully my sweat can evaporate again someday soon.

  4. Michelle I have heard of the dew point but I often forget about it! :P It doesn’t get nearly as humid in Chicago but now that I’m back in D.C. I can definitely feel the difference in dew point and humidity. When I ran mid morning today I immediately realized now is NOT the time to do any all out intervals!

    Good for you for taking care of yourself! :)

    • I’m definitely looking forward to living in an area with less humidity, it is insane how much it affects my running routine. Hope DC decides to quit it and allows you to get in some all out intervals (although that sounds tough regardless of the weather!).

  5. Aha. This is new learning for me. I’ve been cursing the humidity for years. I need to refocus my whining onto the dew point instead. It terrorized me on a long run last week.

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