That being said, I’ve decided to dedicate this blog to piss-and-moan about just how hot it is out there.
Although there are races scheduled throughout the entire year, you would be hard pressed to find anything longer than a 5K scheduled during the summer months (especially in the south). Although the majority of races begin between 6am and 7am, it’s still too hot and humid for competitive racing conditions. With that in mind, the “unofficial” race season typically starts in October, and runs (no pun intended) through April.
In years past, I have used the summers to do most of my intensive training for my upcoming races. My philosophy was that if you can run through the extreme heat of the summer, you would be totally prepared to run in milder weather conditions of fall and winter. In fact, I would actually start out running around 10am, trading the intense heat for the extra sleep. It worked out pretty well, although I finished up pretty late (which ate up a good portion of the day). However, something happened two summers ago that changed everything for me.
My best guess is that the ozone layer just totally fell apart. I can remember running on one particular Saturday, and could not believe how brutal the heat was. I had to cut the run short, which is something I very rarely do. When it happened again the next week, I knew I needed a new game plan. I actually started setting the alarm to get up earlier in the morning in an effort to beat some of the heat, but it only helped marginally. Running as much as I could before the sun came out was the best option, but it really takes commitment to set your alarm for 5am on a Saturday to go out and run; fortunately, I have that kind of commitment. The early runs have helped in terms of avoiding a total beat down from the sun, but the humidity does you in as well. I have found myself gasping for air, but my heart rate is not accelerated. The air is so thick, it’s just been impossible to push myself more than 17 miles on any given day.
Hydration of course is another issue. I carry two 24 ounce water bottles on my belt, but of course that’s not enough fluid. Many runners will go out in their cars before their runs and stash drinks in the bushes along their routes. I am fortunate, as I run past my mother-in-law’s condo around the 10 mile point of my run. She hooks me up with a couple of bottles of Gatorade and a bucket of ice water. I also take my gels every 45 minutes, and my Endurolytes every hour. I’m sure they help, but there are some days that it’s all I can do to finish the runs.
I have had to rethink my training strategy for the summer months. I have been running more after work, which doesn’t seem to be as humid. I’m not a big fan of running at the end of the day, but it’s a great way to escape the heat.
Not that I’m complaining…
KEEP TRACK OF MY RUNNING ON