Summer running – 4 ways to make running more tolerable

What was I thinking?

Marathon training in the South and in the summer.

I had a great run with TJ yesterday and actually ran my 8 miles 5 minutes faster than Monday.  But my pace is still down and the heat is really difficult.

There are ways to enjoy running in the summer.  Okay, maybe not enjoy, but to make it more tolerable.  I have been trying to tweet articles as I have come upon them, but they mainly seem to “boil” down to the same things:

STAY HYDRATED:  Personally I try to drink at least 96 ounces of water a day before I go running and preferably 128 oz.  I can feel the difference, even in the winter, when I haven’t had enough to drink.  I began drinking half my body weight in ounces of water back when I was dieting and have been able to keep it up.  The way I do this is to drink 32oz (1000 ml) of water as soon as I get to work.  I just down it quickly and get it out of the way.  Then I drink another 32 oz before lunch and a final 32 oz after lunch.  I try to finish my last 32 oz about 2 hours before I go running, if at all possible.

STAY COOL:  That may seem like a stupid thing to write about running in 100 degree heat, but it is true.  Anyway to keep yourself cooler during your run is very helpful.  I have gotten a hat and shirt that cool as they get wet (or sweaty).  I also have heard that just running your hands under cold water before you head out of the house goes a long way in helping you stay cooler.  Some people will run early in the morning or in the evening to make sure that they don’t run in the heat of the day.  Unfortunately I can’t do that with my schedule, so I have to come up with other ways to cool off.  I have even gotten to the point of going inside after the first half my run to drink some water and cool off a bit before continuing.

RUN SLOWER:  This is a hard one on me.  I worked all Fall and Winter to move my pace up and was pretty successful. Now as we begin with the heat of the summer, I am happy with 45 to 60 seconds a mile slower pace than during the winter.  The psychological effect of this is the most difficult to get beyond.  But now I have resigned myself that slowing down now will keep me alive for another run tomorrow, so that is good. 🙂  Basically as you run your blood goes to your skin to help cool your body.  This is blood that used to be available to your muscles.  So you will run slower in the heat because your body has to cool itself.  Just slow down and enjoy the run!

BE SMART: Pay attention to your body as you run.  Don’t push beyond what you can handle, even if it is less than normal.  Heat isn’t something to play games with.  Drink a sport drink or something equivalent right after exercising and rest.  If you feel at all nauseous or have weakness or other unusual symptoms during a run, call someone to pick you up.  TJ, RS and I have begun texting my Lovely Wife when we leave and when we expect to get back.  That way if we are out too long, someone knows to come look for us.

This isn’t an exhaustive list – obviously.  Just a couple of things I have picked up throughout the past several months.   I am not a doctor, but I like to learn from experience. I hope this helps.

Enjoy the summer.  Enjoy your runs.  Enjoy life.


Running in the heat… A blessing and not a curse

Hot and tired.  That seems to be the theme of my runs this Spring (not even summer yet).

Yesterday was National Running Day ( and even though I was going to run anyway, it was pretty cool to be a part of something bigger than just my neighborhood :).

I went out after work and got some pickles.  Pickle juice is supposed to be good for the heat because of the sodium and other ingredients including vinegar.  TJ sent me an article that says that you only need to consume 2 oz of pickle juice before a run to keep the cramps away. So I figured I’d give it a try.

I didn’t cramp.  But the run was still hard.  I ran my 7 miles and then sat outside with the Dog and TJ and soaked my foot in ice water and drank my Gatorade.

I really want to figure out the “key” to running in the heat.  I run, but it isn’t fun at all.  Most of yesterday I was hoping for the storms to come so I could cut my run short.  Not because I couldn’t do it, but I didn’t want to do it.  Just being real.  If it weren’t for the Lehigh Valley Marathon in 14 weeks, I wouldn’t be running this much right now.  But the marathon cometh and I have to run whether I want to or not.

One benefit to running in the heat is my metabolism has seemed to kick in again.  I have been hovering around 182 for several months now, but for the past three days I have steadily been losing weight.  Of course everyone is probably thinking it is water weight, but I drink a gallon of water a day and eat salty pickles and I am still losing weight.  As of this morning I weighed 178.9 which is 2 oz short of my best weight.  So, wether it is water weight or just my body grabbing what it can for me to keep running, I’ll take what I can get. To be honest, I would really like to be in the 160’s by the marathon.  I don’t think I can get there without dieting and it is hard to diet and run, let alone diet and train for a marathon.  So, perhaps the hot weather is a blessing and not a curse.  Time will tell.

Today I will try for my 9 mile run I have to run this week.  If I can get that out of the way, then the rest of the week I can coast on my 7 mile runs until my 13 mile run on Sunday.

Happy National Running Day – one day late!!!

The dreaded hill/trail/hill run

Some days you head out to run and things just click.

Some days you head out and it is just a normal run.

Other days are like yesterday…

TJ, RS and I decided to try out the 5K course of the CityFest 5K that is happening a week from Saturday.  Being a new course to us and an area we hadn’t run before, it was exciting to see how to run this race.  Now understand it was nearing 90, but this was a rough 5K.  Almost every 5K I have ever run starts with a downhill in the beginning, not this one.  It has a slight upgrade for about half a mile and then the hills start.  I’m thinking about 2 miles of up and down hills and not necessarily small hills either. TJ remarked that this course is not a course to set a PR on.  I guess I’ll keep to my original plan to just go out and have fun.  I know though that the competitiveness in me will come through and I’ll want to do well.  We will see.  There is a masters award given (40+), I’d like to win that.  My thought is that those who aren’t expecting this course won’t be able to keep a good pace.  I just have to figure out a strategy and then run the plan.

After the course, RS went home as he didn’t drink enough water for the heat.  I don’t think I did either.  I thought I had 96 ounces of water, but it might have been 64.  Anyway, TJ and I decided to run a trail that goes down to a park.  Not a good idea.  After the hills and a gravel trail for a mile, I was shot.  At the end of the trail we had a choice to make.  One was to go back via the trail and the other was to run up a rather large hill with traffic and very little shoulder (actually no shoulder, just lumpy grass).  We went for the hill as I couldn’t face the trail.

After the hill we just ran the neighborhood home.  Not bad, but at the top of the big hill my heal / achilles / something started hurting.  I was all taped up, but I found out after I got home that the tape didn’t hold for some reason.  So I concentrated on relaxing my foot and not pushing off but using gravity and actually had a good run at the end.   I was glad to stop and go soak my foot in ice water and drink Gatorade.  TJ went on for another 5 miles.  I had nothing left.  The hill/trail/hill run took everything out of me.

All in all it was a hard, but good workout.  I realized that during the summer I won’t be pushing speed as much as distance (except for speed workouts).

It seems summer is finally arriving a month or two late.

Victory over my long run day – Finally

It seems that all the pondering yesterday of my long run day did in fact help.  As I wrote, my long run days have been quite difficult.  Not just the mileage, because even at mile 3 I can feel awful.  Also I cannot seem to run them even close to my average time.  Somewhat I understand that, because it is a longer day and I don’t want to push too much, but considering I ran my half marathon under 8:00 pace and I cannot even run 10 miles under 9:00, it is frustrating to say the least.

What did I do differently yesterday?  Quite a lot.  Unfortunately, when you change multiple things at one time, you don’t really know what helped and what didn’t. I admit I was desperate to figure this out, so here is what I did differently.

  • I got up and drank 32oz of water as soon as my feet hit the floor.
  • I drank a cup of coffee (as I do most of other mornings)
  • I took a shower (I normally don’t take a shower until after my runs if I run early in the morning)
  • Right before my run I walked a quarter mile and ran very slowly another quarter mile.

So something in this mix helped me tremendously.  I felt great when I started my run and, in fact, felt good for most of it.  My hip began to hurt around mile 7, which was annoying, but I did well overall until mile 11.  Now you need to know that I haven’t run over 10 miles since February when we did our half marathon, and I wanted to run 12 miles yesterday.  Mile 11 was just hard.  I felt like I had nothing left.  However, when I got to mile 12, I thought, if this was a race, I would find something inside to pick up the pace, so that is what I did.  In fact the only mile I ran over a 9:00 pace yesterday was mile 11.

I finished my run, drank my chocolate milk and looked at my time.  I ran the 12 miles at a 8:38 pace!!!  Other than the half marathon, I have never run a long run in our neighborhood under 8:55 and it has been a long time since I have been under 9:00.

So, now I look at the 4 things I did differently and wonder…  which one helped, or was it just TJ’s advice to not over think the run.  Either way, I know myself, now each Sunday I will have to do those 4 things to make sure I am covered.  I know I’ll have good runs and bad, but yesterday made running fun again.

Today is our traditional off day, but TJ and I are going to run very slowly for a few miles.  Just for fun 🙂

Pondering my long run day

My run yesterday was an easy run. 4 miles and then home. I am trying to run less on Saturday since on Sunday I have my long run. For some reason, I do not run well in the morning, so my long runs have been quite difficult. They have been so difficult that by 3 or 4 miles, I just want to quit. I have two thoughts as to why. First is that I usually run around 3:00 in the afternoon, so when I start my Sunday run it hasn’t been 24 hours since I last ran. The second is that I am used to running after a day in which I have drunk 96 ounces or more of water and my morning runs happen before I drink any.

Well to figure this out, I ran a quick 4 miles yesterday. I ran it early and I drank 32 ounces of water this morning already. That last one may backfire, but I really want to enjoy my long runs more since I will be doing longer runs as the summer progresses.

Not much else to report. Our weather here has been fantastic and today is going to be another great day.

No more delay. Off to the hills.

Running again

Today is the day.  Diet: Over.  Running: Starting.  Me: excited.

Since I ran my half marathon, I have lost 18 lbs.  The biggest reason this was crucial is because my hips and back were giving me a lot of pain.  I could cover the pain with ibuprofen, but I didn’t want to be on that stuff long term.  Loosing that weight will take a lot of stress off of my back.

This morning, I weighed in at 178.4.  Exactly 100 lbs since my highest weight July 2011.  I am pumped and can’t wait to run this afternoon.  I’m going to take it easy for a couple of days and only run 3 -4 miles.

Can I say what has helped me more than anything else in running and dieting?  WATER.  I have been drinking almost 100 oz of water a day for 18 months.  I believe that is close to 3 liters.  This has been huge with my running and weight loss.  I am almost always hydrated, except sometimes in the middle of the night.  I can run 13 miles and not need a drink.  It keeps me full and makes me feel so much better than before I used to drink it.

So, going past water, today is the day for my first run in 2 weeks.  Of course the forecast is for storms this afternoon.  The only weather I won’t run in is storms, especially with lightening.  But, maybe I’ll hit is right and get in 25 minutes of running.

I love running.  I can’t wait.  By the way, congratulations to Emma for running her first half marathon and beating her target pace and raising money for her charity.  Very exciting.