Sunday, August 21, 2016

Running with Mother Nature

It's been a steamy, stormy week but the running didn't stop! And yay for that. I took full advantage of the cooler air immediately after storms blew through several times and had some really nice runs that brought my confidence back.

I've been thinking a lot about how much the weather affects my running.

Running With Mother Nature

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.

Yeah I can't do this

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

Warrior 1 at sunrise

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.

King Dancer Pose

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

Running After the Storm

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...

The Evil Wheel
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

We Run This Town

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.

Bike Ride and a Headstand

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!





80 comments :

  1. I was using u too much Data so I cut back on Pokemon.

    It's still warm but not as warm as it has been.

    I feel the same as you. It's hard to slow down. We think we are super human.

    I've never trained for those Florida halfs so it's hit or miss.

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  2. So glad your foot has been feeling good! I used to try to use that ab wheel at my gym, it's so tough! I never caught on to the pokemon craze but I was wondering if others still play.

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    1. I've been wondering if people still play too! I'm starting to fade.

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  3. It's not so bad today! Yesterday, Alex and I got caught in a little bit of the morning storm (I had an extra mile to do and got poured on, but he only got a bit of a drizzle). It was actually quite pleasant (I also had to explain to Alex the difference between "good" or "runable" rain and the other kind). But it was humid as f when we were running.
    The marathon this morning was incredible, and at 95% humidity following the rain at the start, I thought it was GENIUS that Rupp got clean hats at his water hand offs!
    I adapt pretty quickly to heat and humidity. I think it is the Atlantan in me :D

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    1. I am in awe of Galen Rupp. He seemed to have everything so well planned out. I need to study him...

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  4. Interesting post, and I have wondered the same thing. I definitely think that heat training and acclimation can help, but they only go so far. And I also think that it depends on your genetics a bit and how your body handles the heat. Local races are interesting because we all train in similar conditions, but some people really seem to have an advantage in the heat despite that. Glad to see you were able to conquer the weather and your PF!

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    1. I thought about you and your book--your struggles with the heat were something I could definitely relate to! I agree with you--it seems that some people just seem to have an advantage. I want some of that!

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  5. I've never heard that saying about storm before 7 done by 11. Do you think that holds true?

    I just love your pics of you running with those storm clouds. How do you get those pictures?

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    1. I don't do anything special to take the pictures--I just set up my phone and snap away. I do use a filter to enhance the cloud formations tho--I like snapseed!

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  6. It drastically cooled off here yesterday (after my run, of course). It was actually cold! I'm not ready for summer to end ;-(

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    1. I felt a little chilled today too. But I'm not complaining. Funny thing, with the windows open for the first time in about a month, Cocoa was barking and running around. She didn't know what all the new noises were!

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  7. The weather makes such a big difference in my running! Our weather got better this week but not as fantastic as the 60s! A girl can dream .... Today on the bike path a guy was running on the middle line and stayed there even after we signaled. Um, ok.

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    1. What is with those lane hoggers? That guy who was walking? I've seen him straddling the line for the last couple of years. Like a boss. What a dick.

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  8. I'm happy you are happy! I hope that PF is a thing of the past. Oddly, I've never heard "rains by 7 stops by 11". If we could figure out how to humidity train... But then I think, why would I WANT to do that? I live that muck. LOL. There are no hints of fall yet. I do "hear tell" that the Dew Point should go down this week. Right. I'll believe it when I see it. Thanks for linking, Wendy.

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    1. I really enjoyed today's respite from the heat! So much. Not that I want winter to come or anything. But it was so nice!

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  9. So awesome you had a great running week - the cooler air after a storm really helps. Here in Florida though you need to make it out of the house immediately after the storm stops because heat and humidity are never too far behind:)
    Glad to hear your foot is feeling better - you really deserve a break from PF. Have a great week Wendy!

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    1. We've really had a taste of your weather this summer! It's been tough to train in!

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  10. So glad your feet are feeling good! Today's cool temps were divine for my long run. I think the heat affects those who are saltier sweaters more. It amazes me how minimally affected the elites seem to be by it.

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    1. I never thought of myself as a salty sweater, but that's my story now and I'm sticking to it! :p

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  11. You had the best photos this week!! I have one of those wheels around here somewhere I need to dig it out

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    1. My grandma had the wheel but back in the day we didn't know it was evil!

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  12. Yes, it is still blazing hot here in Mississippi without any indication of Fall anywhere to be seen or felt! And as to that 'evil wheel'....I'm so glad you fessed up that it wasn't you in the video because I was feeling really wimpy at first at how low they were going! The one time I tried that torture device at my gym, I felt like a fish being gutted and filleted! Haha! Guess that means I need to get back on it!

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    1. When my coach demonstrates it to me and then I do it? It's ridiculous. She makes it look so easy (like the video!)

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  13. When it was 85 degrees and blazing sun in Omaha for my race, I was so glad I did so many horribly hot/humid runs prior! It was still a suffer fest but I knew I could do it. Bring on fall and the cooler temps!!!! So glad your foot is cooperating and you had a great ride at the end of the week. As always - great pics and love the headstand. Getting upside-down is so good for you :-)

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    1. That blood to the head? It does something for me!

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  14. I've gotten better at slowing down when it's hotter for a race. And a little better at hydrating better, as well.

    We're kind of back and forth in the weather, but not as hot as it's been. Back and forth on the humidity, though, and a lot of our storms didn't actually cool things off, made them worse!

    This week is looking good, though!

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    1. I'm good at hydrating but slowing down? Never!

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  15. I don't know I have been running all
    Summer through the Florida heat and it never seems to get easier and my paces suck. I had my first experience this week with the evil and I could barely do it..

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    1. I won't even show you had bad I am at the evil wheel! It's embarrassing!

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  16. That ab wheel looks insane.... SOOOO glad your foot is finally getting better and that you are having some pain free runs.

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    1. Just in time for perfect running weather too!

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  17. It is feeling fall like here! We had a great cold front move through last week and the heat came back for two days, but should be moving out again tomorrow for some more 70s!

    Great week and yay for some 6 mile runs. My long run this week got rained on right at the end and it felt amazing, it started at 8 and the rain was done by 11, so I guess that held true for me!

    Great pics again this week :)

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    1. My mom always used to say that and quite often it holds true! Not always tho..

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  18. The heat has been killing me, too, but I see some 60 degree temps in the mornings this week! I'm so excited!!

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    1. I'm sitting outside with a nice breeze blowing on me and NO humidity! ahhhhh

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  19. I am so jealous of 60 degrees! Who knows how long until it reaches that here. Currently it is still in the mid-80s when I wake up at 4:30. Ugh! So tired of it. Great training week. I'm glad to hear that your foot is doing so well.

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    1. I will not complain about this weather! I love this time of year.

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  20. I'm so glad your runs are going well - I love all of those photos, such beautiful clouds! I am terrible at the ab roller thing, I never think that I'm using correct form! So tough!

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    1. I cannot believe how hard that ab roller is! Amazing how something so simple can be so difficult.

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  21. I so enjoyed the break from the heat and humidity in Chicago yesterday! I went out intending to go 7 miles, but wound up going 10 because it just felt so good! I will be in San Francisco all week, where the temps are supposed to be upper 50s to lower 70s; perfect running weather!

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    1. Sounds like you are getting some good running weather everywhere!

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  22. Glad to hear about your foot! It's gotten maybe 5 degrees cooler since the 100 degree weeks... so I've got that going for me haha

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    1. I never think of Canada as a warm place but it sounds like you guys suffer as much as we do!

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  23. I live in OREGON and we've been having mid to high 90's. Fortunately it cools of well at night and getting out before 9AM is nice. I am looking forward to fall!

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    1. That's just crazy! I think the weather is all mixed up.

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  24. Glad to hear your foot is feeling better!!! I too, am loving our weather!

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    1. I have been behaving myself on the road, running slower and only 3 days/week. And you know how hard that is for me!

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  25. So glad to read your foot seems betteR. You sound really upbeat. Fingers crossed it continues.

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    1. I've been having my share of ups and downs lately, but the weather turning around really did me some good.

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  26. It is hotter than you know what! So 60 degrees? I can't remember that- LOL! I think I have conditioned myself to the heat but I have a 8 miler on schedule for Saturday so we shall see if I hold up! You take the best pictures- you need to teach us a photo class in December :) !!!

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    1. You've been doing amazingly well in the heat! I'm sure I'd need an IV if I ran down there in the summer.

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  27. I hope the foot stays pain free!

    I'm not ready for fall! But I might the only one.

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    1. I love fall weather but I dislike what it means--that winter is around the corner.

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  28. I don't do well at all exercising in the heat. I have to be careful. One thing I do is to get a VERY early start (as in, pre-dawn!). Here in North Carolina, it's pretty hot and humid all summer. Glad your foot is doing better!

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    1. This respite from the heat and humidity has been nice!

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  29. I don't want to speak too soon or too loudly so listen softly....I think we've had a tiny bit of relieve in the temps. Not so much on humidity yet. I'm still hopeful. You know I didn't realize that was actual graffiti, I thought you did it with an app. How cool!

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    1. No, that was the real deal! There was another one that I'll put up in a different post. I loved the positive messages.

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  30. Would you believe I've never heard of the expression rain before 7, stops by 11? I am glad your foot is feeling better and yay for all the amazing yoga and strength work you achieved during the week!!!

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    1. My mom had all these crazy idioms and this was one of them.

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  31. Glad your running is going better. Hope the PF stays calm.

    We choose to live in two place (HI and CA) where Fall doesn't actually make an appearance... or Winter for that matter!

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    1. I don't mind fall...but winter? Boo...

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  32. Oh, I definitely let the weather, mainly winter, impact my running, although I can't say I've ran much this summer...

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    1. Funny, the cold doesn't bother me at all. Even though I dislike it immensely! The heat is a different story.

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  33. Incredibly jealous of your 60 degree weather! We are nowhere near that - still in the 90s. Wheeee! I really need it to cool down soon. I am struggling hard.

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    1. I won't complain about our cooler temps at all! but come January it will be a different story.

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  34. I wish we had hints of fall. Rain and humidity has been the forecast way too often. Except the night before last. I think I heard that the temps were in the high 50s. It's a tease I'm sure. The heat I can do. It's the humidity that affects my running the most.

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    1. I agree with you--I can handle the heat. I ran late today and it was 80 but low humidity. I did fine. The humidity is coming back, so this reprieve was pretty short.

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  35. Yeah Wendy!!! Take it easy on that foot girl!! The weather has been spectacular!!

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    1. This past week has been fabulous! The humidity is coming back tho...

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  36. I too have been enjoying the hints of fall. Since I've had early morning meetings at school I haven't been able to take advantage of the cool mornings, but the break in the heat and the humidity in the evenings has been a very welcome change.

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    1. I bet you are enjoying taking the little guy out for walks in this weather!

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  37. awesome week of training! I havent been to yoga in forever. It is seriously so hard for me to balance everything while marathon training. I agree about going slower in humid weather. It is so hard! I mainly want to go faster so I can be done sooner :-P

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    1. Marathon training definitely takes over! I tried to at least get one yoga class per week when I was training-- I needed the stretching!

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  38. Glad to hear your foot is better! Sounds like a great week! Haha, I'm still playing Pokemon too.

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  39. Wendy- I love your posts, they always inspire me!! Soooo... I need to go back and dive into the "heat training" that you mention, as I struggle big time with this!! I live in Maine, so only have limited time in the heat, but need to practice it as so many races I do are in the heat. If you have a link, I would love to read it! Thanks for sharing this at the Sunday Fitness & Food Link-Up...have a Great Week :-) (ps-Also Love all of your Yoga Poses!! My Fall Goal is to get back into Yoga and loosen up a bit ;-) )

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    1. There aren't a lot of resources on "heat training"--I've done a lot of research! But it seems that more and more runners are talking about it, so hopefully there will be more guidance for us in the future!

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