I've been thinking a lot about how much the weather affects my running.
Clearly, the heat and humidity are a huge factor in my running. My half marathon times from hot and humid conditions are markedly slower than times from that distance run in much cooler conditions. I know that's pretty standard for most runners. But after watching the women's and men's marathons in hot and humid Rio this past week, I had to ask myself, is it possible to "heat proof" your running?
Thinking back to that Sarasota Half Marathon I ran in March, I knew I was going to struggle with the Florida climate. A sub-2 finish time wasn't even a consideration. But secretly, I hoped that I could overcome the conditions to do just that. In the previous year, I ran a local half, the Great Western, in very warm conditions, and finished in 1:55. The difference that year was that I had done "heat training" over the winter and was well conditioned for running in warmer conditions. I didn't do that to prepare for Sarasota.
This summer, my mileage has really been limited due to my foot issues. I haven't been able to really put in the work needed to condition myself for running in the heat. As far as running goes, this summer is pretty much a wash, but once again heat training is on my mind. Running in these conditions is a good reminder that if I plan on running any warm weather distance races in the future I have to prepare for it.
I also have to train myself to slow down in the warm conditions. Subconsciously, when I start to run, my legs automatically set themselves to run at my usual pace. My heart has a different idea and quickly reacts to the heat and humidity by forcing me to put on the breaks.
Moderation! When will I learn? This old dog has yet to figure it out.
Enough rambling about that. Here's the recap of my week's workouts:
Monday: rest day
Tuesday: I drove to the retention pond for some miles. I was rewarded with a beautiful sunrise. I tried to maintain a slower pace in the very humid, warm conditions and did pretty well until the last mile. It was starting to really warm up at that point and my heavy breathing was getting me some concerned stares from the walkers I passed. I was really annoyed by the old guys on their bikes who treat the 2 mile loop as their own personal Tour de France. And that guy who saunters down the middle of the path on the stripe as if he owns the place? I've written about him before and yep, he was there. Some things never change... 5.4m/47:36
Wednesday: yoga at the studio. We did a backbending class. As my instructor said, we don't often do backbends and we really need to. I left the studio with an open heart, feeling light and calm.
Thursday: Storms rolled through early and I kept thinking of that old saying: rain before 7, stops by 11. I hoped it would stop sooner than that! It did and I got outside to take full advantage of the cooler post-storm temperatures. I was rewarded with my first 6 mile run of the summer. 6.01/54:09
After that, I went to work with Becky. She had me start by doing lunges and an overhead press with kettlebells dangling from resistance straps. If it sounds weird, yes, it is. But my always creative coach wants me to engage my core by carrying something really unstable. I alternated 3 sets of that with pike pushups--she had me with my legs on a box and my upper body in handstand position. After that I did chin-ups--almost-- alternating with the evil wheel. Yes, that is what it is called. How can such a simple exercise be so difficult? Yet so effective...
|Disclaimer: This is not me. And no, I can't even get close to the ground.|
Get your own evil wheel here (affiliate link): AB WHEEL
Friday: Back to the yoga studio for a class. Megan was back! Her apex pose was wheel--it seems to be a backbend kind of week! She started the class off with a quote: Be still like a mountain and flow like a great river by Lao Tzu. We did a full sequence of hip and shoulder openers building up to the final pose. It was an amazing class and I took that quote with me throughout the rest of the day.
Saturday: I made plans to bike with my sister, but the weather was not going to cooperate. I watched the Olympic triathlon and headed out between the raindrops for a run on the bike path. I almost turned around before the tunnel but I also wanted to hit the 6 mile mark again. I'm glad I kept going. The graffiti artists have been busy and they knew what I needed to see. 6.02/54:18
Sunday: It was cool when I got up--60 degrees! I planned to ride my bike but wanted it to warm up a little before I went. Wow! When I headed out it was about 65 degrees and breezy with clouds. I decided to try a new route to one of the local forest preserves. This route took me through the neighborhoods where I live with only 2 blocks on a busy street. Hurray for that! The bike path was fairly crowded with runners, whom I am sure were doing their long runs for Chicago. Me, I just enjoyed the sunshine and the smooth ride. On the way home, I detoured through the downtown area where I live to collect Pokeballs. Are you still playing? 26.3 miles.
I could not be happier with how my foot is feeling and how my running is going. I'm really trying hard to hold back so that I don't end up back in pain again. Fingers crossed for some more good runs this upcoming week!
How was your week? Is it still blazing hot where you are? Any hints of fall in the air?
I'm linking up with Tricia and Holly for their Weekly Wrap and Angela and Ilka for the Sunday Fitness and Food linkup! Check them both out!