Okay, I have to say that summer is one of my favorite times of the year. I really like the feel of just a soaking-wet sweat following a run (you know, it’s kind of a cool to wring out your shirt and it just makes a big ol’ puddle on the ground). : ) Okay, maybe that’s just a guy thing! Ha! Ha!
ANYWAY, that summer, pore-cleansing sweat is one thing I really love about summer runs – that and not having to worry about dressing in layers.
But in reality, there are things I hate, Hate, HATE about running in the summer, especially once the sun comes up and it’s the typical summer heat/humidity. For example, I was running this past Saturday and it was around 70 at 6 a.m. and the sun wasn’t quite up. Well, there’s this point when the sun is up and there’s no escape — the humidity jumps, temp jumps, and for me, it’s like my body starts to stop working. It goes from “I got this” to “Okay, who just pulled the plug on my energy level?”
Honestly, I used to run all the time in 90-degree heat – 8-10 miles right after work. Maybe it’s an age thing or maybe I pushed too hard in the heat when I was younger, but in the last several years, heat and humidity have become more difficult for me to “love.” Sometimes I step out the door at 4:30 a.m. and it’s already hot and humid (relatively speaking) and I groan because I know that it will mean I’m not going to be able to run as far or as fast as I hoped that day. I hate that.
BUT there is something about that hate…something kind of weird. Although I hate that feeling, what I LOVE about that feeling is that it’s like this magical moment that I know is coming. Huh? Well, follow me . . . all summer long, I struggle through the heat and humidity. My running advances much more slowly, some days even seeming to take a step backwards, but then comes that day in October (since the heat tends to last a bit longer down here than further north), when I get up and walk out the door for my run and it is 45 or 50 degrees and humidity is 30 percent. Yup, it’s magical. It’s like BAM! The pace is quicker and wanna do an extra 2 miles? NO PROBLEM!! It’s like a 50-pound weight has been lifted off my shoulders and I feel so great running.
Yes, all that hated stuff in summer results in a great fall! So, even if you find yourself having to walk some of the time on a run, go ahead and walk! Those minutes and cumulative hours in the heat and humidity of summer have a big payoff in the fall. However, having said that, be VERY aware of your limitations – heat stroke is a real and dangerous threat in summer.
I have a missionary friend who’s a good runner. He just came back to the U.S. from southern Mexico where the temps and humidity are almost always in the 90s (both temp and humidity). The weather we’re having here in southern Missouri is MY fall weather to him. He just smiles when I mention the temps and heat here (though, it is pretty funny when I’m still running in shorts in the 30s and he thinks I’m next to crazy). I mention my friend because there COULD be those of you who struggle when the temps get into the low 60s and 60 percent humidity, so adjust accordingly.
So, this summer as you’re slogging through another sweat-drenched, humidity-filled, body-baking run – and you find yourself walking from time to time — just let it go/don’t be worried that you’re losing your conditioning. Know that even though it doesn’t seem like it, you are building endurance and strength and conditioning . . . and in just a few more months, you’ll be marveling at how good you’re running when the heat and humidity are no longer a problem.
But for now, stay hydrated, be patient with yourself, be willing to take walk breaks when needed, and understand what heat and humidity do to your abilities -- just don’t take the summer off from running and miss out on the good it can do for your fall running (though always listen to what your body is telling you – summer weather is not a good time to push the bar).
Well, hope you’re doing great and have an awesome run today! : )
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!