Friday, June 10, 2011

Summer Fun Running

I haven't blogged much about running lately. I will give you a hint as to why.


Yes, it's that time of year again. Despite the fact that I have lived in East Texas for nearly seven years, the onslaught of summer never fails to smack me in the face and make me beg for mercy. And it's not just the triple degree temperatures (because it may say 98 but, as the local weatherperson likes to gleefully inform us, that's before the heat index). In my part of Texas, we also have to contend with the rampant humidity. Lovely.

Despite the challenges of the weather, I have been averaging about three runs a week. Since I'm not training for anything and will be moving in a few weeks, my summer goals are to maintain my running fitness while establishing my strength training routine. (You can lift weights indoors! A major plus.) This has been going swimmingly the last few weeks and, speaking of swimmingly (because running outside feels closer to swimming at this point), I have established three golden rules for Summer Fun Running which may be of interest to you.
  1. The earlier you run, the better. The streets are cooler in the morning because they've been under the cover of darkness all night, and your body temperature is lowest when you first wake up. I like to start my runs at 6am at the absolute latest.Warning: running in the morning is still hot and humid and hard, but it's not impossible.
  2. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Also, hydrate. I can't stress this enough. Lots of people like fancy sports drinks full of electrolytes and vitamins; I prefer plain, honest water. I always carry a bottle of water on my runs and I drink about two liters a day. (My Nalgene bottle is never far from my side.) 
  3. Now is the time to practice acceptance. It is a known fact that when the temperatures rise and the humidity thickens, my pace will drop... and drop... and drop. My former easy, recovery pace is my new speed workout. Struggling through a slow three miler can be demoralizing - it feels like I'm going backward in my training - but everything is relative. As long as my heart rate is up and my legs are working hard, my pace is irrelevant. At least until fall, anyway. 
On the bright side, here's the ten day forecast for Wilmington: 


A full fifteen degrees cooler on most days, and look! Actual rain! That will be a nice change from the three year drought in which Texas is currently languishing. I already have my eye on two races in North Carolina (a half marathon in November and a full in March) but I'll wait until I get there and see what my new schedule looks like before making any firm commitments. Knowing the summer will be slightly more forgiving and my days a little more flexible, however, makes me hopeful.

How do you handle exercising in extreme weather? I could always use more tips!

13 comments:

  1. I really can't imagine trying to run in Texas *shudder*!  I've been running right before dark, at 8:30 pm or so since that's when it's the coolest here.  Wilmington will be a great switch for you guys :)

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  2. It's been a long time since I've run in an east Texas summer, so I don't have much advice for you other than to be patient with pace and to keep hydrating away.  Maybe do one tempo run a week on the treadmill just so you can run a bit faster and feel more accomplished....

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  3. Good for you for still going :) We've had so much smoke from the Az fires that it's literally impossible. Also unhealthy.  I actually like running in the heat for some reason(I think I like to punish myself for whatever reason), so these tips are great! Hope you get rain!! 

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  4. Wow, is that really the weather in Wilmington? I wonder if it's proximity to the ocean brings the temps down. I'm two hours east in Durham, and we're high 90s with a few triple digit days and humidity that feels as oppressive as it did when I lived in Houston. But I love summer, so I'll take it, though now I'm thinking I need to drive to the beach this weekend. 

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  5. We hope so! Considering no one has said a bad thing about Wilmington yet, I am optimistic. :)

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  6. Good idea! I throw in progressive runs every now and then, where you run each mile slightly faster than the last one. It's a nice way to get some speed work in a gradual sort of way. 

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  7. And I hope your fires extinguish soon! Scary!

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  8. That's the weather according to weather.com. I hope it's always like that. I'm ready for a slightly cooler climate. And the fact that I think 88 degrees sounds perfectly lovely is saying something about Texas!

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  9. Wow, Texas is hot!  (Obvious comment of the day.)

    I have advice only for handling the other extreme of weather.  Maybe get up and run before the sun rises in the morning - although that's a whole 'nother form of torture.

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  10. I would rather run in the heat then very cold weather. 40 degrees is as low as I like to go. :)

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  11. I'm about to start the 30 Day Shred video. I've heard good things and I'm trying to establish a weight routine in the middle of planning to move. A short DVD seems like a good route to take. :)

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  12. I just read a blog this weekend dealing with a person doing that. She said it was really tough near the end. 

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  13. Tough is good! I'm canceling my gym membership after June so it's a good time to try an at-home workout. I will post a review if/when I survive. :)

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