We're talking about running here, specifically running in the summer heat!
I'm all about running in the hot summer temps. Granted, I realize I'm one of very few who glorifies the summer heat...but it's really not THAT bad. Honestly!
There are many reasons I love summer running...care to hear a few?
Personally, I love the beautiful scenery and fragrant flowers everywhere. The grass is a vibrant shade of green (and usually has that fresh-cut smell). Flowers are in constant bloom, and every week there's a new set of blooms to admire.
The most significant reason to love summer running, though, is it's an opportune chance to train in the very weather you may have on race day. A lot of fall marathons and half marathons will have the necessary training miles happening in the summer. Sure, you can avoid the peak heat of day by heading out in the (very) early hours or opting for an indoor track or treadmill. If you don't train in the heat, though, your body (nor mind) will not know what to do if faced with unusually warm temps on the big day.
This same concept goes for taking walk breaks. Practicing a few walks breaks, during a hot/humid run, will not only give you a mini reprieve and recharge, but you'll get an idea on how long YOUR walk breaks should be (and how frequent). Some runners don't believe in taking walk breaks (not even while going through the water stations of a race), so the first time they DO try to walk briefly can be a shock to the system...and difficult to resume running. Wouldn't you rather do a little experimenting, while in training, than try to figure it out during the challenging miles on the race course?
A few things to note:
*Although I often joke about preferring the heat (and humidity) of summer over the frigid temps of winter, I always run with caution...and you should, too. All of my training runs involve looping back to my house every few miles for hydration (plus I usually have water with me).
*The extreme heat is no time to flirt with a PR attempt or an especially long run. I have never DNS'd a race due to the heat, but I have run with a slower pace and taken walk breaks. I seldom pay attention to my Garmin (as far as pace), but I pay close attention to how I'm feeling....if I'm feeling tired/thirsty/light-headed, then I ease up, without hesitation. I have no shame in walking with a race bib.
*Pay attention to your salt intake. In recent years, I've noticed my muscles (my calves, in particular) tend to cramp-up after several miles on a hot and humid run. Keeping the electrolytes replenished is key, as well as staying ahead of your hydration. If you start to feel thirsty while running, it may already be too late...so keep the water coming, even just a few sips, every mile or so.
*Finally, if the heat is just not your gig, that's alright. We all have different levels of tolerance and individual goals. Running is a very personal sport, after all....that's what is so great about it.
I'm linking this with Meranda and Lacey for the Friday with Fairytales and Fitness link-up.
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