Summer Slow Down

Summer running putting a damper in your training? SAME.

Heat

Rewind to early spring: I was feeling great. Long runs were a breeze, workouts flew by, and easy runs actually felt easy. Then, the humidity hit. If you’ve spent even a moment in D.C. during the summer, you know I’m not exaggerating when I say it is brutal. Today’s run was 89 degrees with 70 percent humidity. Waking up early hardly provides any relief, the humidity just hangs around.

As I’ve begun working with a coach for my Chicago Marathon training, I have been determined to do everything right. Relax on easy days, crush workouts, listen to my body, and focus more on how I feel than the pace on my watch. It’s easier said than done, especially in the summer. For the most part, my training has been going well but day after day I look at my average pace when I finish my run and I’m disappointed.

Frustration

It’s frustrating and discouraging when the same effort three months ago would have been run at a pace more than thirty seconds per mile faster. It’s hard to gauge your effort and listen to your body when even the easiest of runs are uncomfortable due to the heat. And when there is never a break in the heat or humidity, it can take a toll on your motivation. For some, summer may be a good time to take a break or try a new activity (like finally adding swimming into the cross-training routine), but for those training for a fall race, it’s important to stay on track through the summer. It’s even more important (and tougher) to keep the enjoyment alive.

Today, as I shuffled through my easy 6 miler, I repeatedly glanced at my watch and got angry with myself for not running faster. I knew it was an easy run and I knew running any faster would take me away from that, but the frustration built anyway. About two miles in I took a quick pause to give myself a pep-talk and put things in perspective. I’ve decided to share that pep-talk for anyone who needs the same reminder I seem to need every single hot summer day.

It’s hot. It’s humid. You are supposed to slow down.

You are not slow. 
You are not out of shape. 
Your training is going just fine.

When it’s over 60 degrees, your body starts working harder. Right now, it’s almost 90 degrees and the humidity is through the roof. If you were running the same pace you do in 50 degrees, you’d be overtraining.

Give yourself a break. It will cool down and when it does your paces will return to normal. If you’re smart over the summer, you will enter fall as a faster runner.

It’s hot, it’s humid, you are supposed to slow down.

Accept It

Remember, you are not the only one who feels like this. It may seem that way, but I promise you are not. Even my puppy refuses to go for walks during the heat of the day. When it’s hot and humid, your body works harder. It’s not just okay to slow down, you need to slow down.



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