Okay, earlier this year, we talked about the chances of winter basically jumping straight to summer and more or less bypassing spring. For me, that’s what happened in Southwest Missouri. It’s mid-June as I write this, and we’re already looking at weather that more resembles mid-July/August weather – high 80s to high 90s. What’s significant about that is when the weather is in the 90s and the humidity is even a little high, the heat index could easily jump into triple digits.
Now most people don’t take a run at 2 in the afternoon with extreme heat. But with ongoing heat like this, the mornings are also starting out in the 70s at times and it is already sticky out. If you drive to meet someone or to start your run, you certainly already know the importance of bringing towels along so you don’t soak your cloth seats or leave puddles on your leather seats.
So the point? This is not a normal weather season. This could and should impact your training (if it continues to be a hot year). If you’re training for a marathon that takes place in September or October and if this summer continues the hot trend, you’re going to have to start looking at long runs in a different way. It isn’t going to be good enough to do “as you’ve always done” as far as getting out of the door and getting in your miles. I would like to suggest that you put together a PLAN B now.
For example, you see that it’s supposed be over 100 (with or without humidity) on your long run day and it’ll be 80 by 8 a.m. What is Plan B . . . you get up and out the door at 3 or 4 a.m. That means, if you run long on Saturdays, you Plan B yourself to bed by no later than 8 or 9 p.m. on Friday. IF you have that Plan B in your pocket ahead of time, knowing that anytime the temp on your long run day hits a predetermined number, that YES, you’re going to sacrifice to get it in – that’s just the way it is. You’ll know as much as a week in advance that you’ll be Plan B’ing the next long run. So, don’t wait to try to come up with a plan at the last minute and potentially either miss your run, have a run shortened because of the heat, or risk heat stroke — KNOW what you’re going to do. : )
By the way, starting earlier is the first step. If you have running partners, get them involved in this. You may need to plan a new route as well – especially if it could be dangerous earlier in the mornings where you run, whether it’s because you run trails (footing/animals) or city where there isn’t a lot of light or you go through questionable parts of town. It means focused hydrating (including electrolytes) before, during, and after your run. It also means having a Plan C – what happens if the weather still causes you to cut your run short or you start getting dizzy? Yeah, it takes a little extra planning AHEAD of time, but planning can spell the difference between nailing your marathon or allowing the weather to “rain on your parade.”
. . . and don’t forget, if you don’t have access to a treadmill – find someone who does and wouldn’t mind sharing (and has air conditioning). To me, that’s a last resort, but it’s always nice to have that “resort” to turn to in a pinch. : )
Be safe, be smart, be prepared!
Have an awesome run today!
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