Friday Five 2.0 – Summer Running Tips

This week, I’m linking up with Running on Happy and Fairytales and Fitness for their Friday Five 2.0 topic, Summer Running tips.

While I love the long days of summer, I don’t so much love the hot days of summer.  And I live in the land of humidity (DC wasn’t actually built on a swamp, but I totally understand why people say that), which makes summers even more fun.  I am much more of a spring and fall weather runner, and don’t even mind running in the freezing cold.

That said, summer is here, and I’m in training (when am I not?) so here’s how I handle the heat.

1. Go Out Early

Okay, I’m actually terrible at this one, but if you want to beat the heat, get up early and get running.  I don’t like to run in the dark, but hey, the sun’s up early in the summer, so get out there as soon as the sun comes up.  The day is just going to get warmer, so get in your workout while you can.  You can always nap later.

2. HYDRATE

I can’t emphasize this one enough.  Drink water.  Drink so much water.  Drink all the water.  (Also, get some electrolytes.)  In the summers, I make a point to carry more water than I need. For long runs, I wear a hydration pack and put ice into the reservoir, which definitely helps keep me cool.  I use NBS Hydration and Preload for running.  The Preload has really helped me prevent cramping and post-run headache issues.

And hydration isn’t just when you’re working out.  I make a point to get at least three liters of water a day outside of my workouts.  No matter how much water you drink during your run, if you’re starting at a deficit, you won’t be able to make it up.

3.  Protect Your Skin

I am a pale, pale redhead.  But even if you’re not, you should protect your skin from the evil rays from that glowy orb in the sky.  My preferred sunscreen is by Zealios (who is conveniently celebrating Ginger Awareness Month).  This stuff is amazing.  It’s zinc based, which I prefer, as I think the physical barrier gives me better protection, and it has amazing staying power.  This is the only sunscreen that I can confidently use during a triathlon and know that it’s not going anywhere, even on the swim.

I also own DeSoto Cool Wings, which not only protect me from the sun even more, but if I can manage to keep them wet, they also really help keep me cool.  I mainly wear these for races, as it’s easy to dump water on them at water stops.

4.  Slow Down and Listen to Your Body

Don’t kill yourself in the heat.  If you’re out for a long run and you feel like your effort is the same as normal, but you’re slower than you want to be, don’t automatically push yourself harder.  Take a minute to evaluate.  How are you feeling?  Is the heat getting to you?  It’s better to be a bit slower and be safe, especially on training runs.  But this also applies to races.  If you’re feeling sick from the heat, slow down a bit.  Get some extra water or ice and try to cool off.  It’s not worth pushing yourself so hard that you’re sick.

This was my theory during my 70.3 last year.  The temps in Augusta were abnormally warm, and by the time I got to the run, the joke became that we were running on the surface of the sun.  I did my normal intervals for a good chunk of the run, but I hit a point where when I tried to run, I would get lightheaded from the heat.  Rather than push, I decided to pack my sports bra with ice and power walk, with a few jaunts of running.  Yes, it meant I finished slower than I possibly could have, but I also finished under my own power and I felt good doing so.  Worth it every time.

Any good summer running tips you can recommend?

It’s Cherry Blossom Ten Miler Week!

These cherry blossoms are by my house. I don’t even have to run ten miles to see them.

Even though it feels like I just raced, it’s race week again!  (This is what happens when I schedule a race for every month.)  This Sunday is the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Miler, a pretty popular race here in DC.  It’s definitely one of my favorites.  I really love the ten mile distance.  It’s long enough that I don’t feel like I have to sprint the whole time, but it’s not as long as a half marathon (obviously).  CUCB was the first ten miler I ever ran, a huge jump from my prior 5Ks, and the first race I ran after moving to the DC area.

I also love the course.  I know a lot of people hate running Hains Point, but I don’t mind it at all, and when the flowers are blooming, it’s absolutely perfect.  I’m not sure what the flower status is going to be this weekend, but either way, it’s a nice, peaceful part of the race course.

In terms of race goals, I don’t really have any.  I’d like to continue my recent trend of strong running and come in with a fast (for me) finish, but as always, it’s all going to depend on how I feel.  No chance at a PR here – my ten miler PR is from before my heart issues were diagnosed, and it’s going to take a lot to get me back to that speed – if it’s possible at all.  But that said, if I can beat my time from last year, it will be the fastest 10 miler I’ve run since that diagnosis back in 2010. So I suppose something under 2:08:46 is my goal.  But I’ll be delighted with anything under 2:10.

This weekend, I’m excited to run with a bunch of my Coeur teammates.  Well, “run with” is a loose term.  We’re meeting up beforehand, running our own races, then meeting up for brunch.  Some of them will have time to run extra miles and shower before brunch.  I will be pushing to make it to brunch on time.  The joys of being a slower runner.  But no matter my pace, I have not once felt like a lesser team member because I’ll be in the party wave at the race.  (The purple wave is totally the party wave.)  And they’ve promised to save me a seat at brunch.  That’s the most important part.

Set Your Own Goals

Alexas_Fotos / Pixabay

So here I am, back in taper week.  Remember when I said that I wanted to run fewer half marathons and when I did run them, I wanted to really focus on running strong?  Well, I’m still focused on running strong, but I’m not sure two half marathons in less than a month is really what I intended when I said I wanted to run less.

This weekend, I’m running the Little Rock Half Marathon.  Why?  Because a bunch of my friends are doing it and I didn’t want to miss out.  Seriously.  That’s the only reason I’m going.  And yes, I am aware it is possible to go on a race trip and not actually race (I am trying that in 2018 for Disney Marathon Weekend) but I figured that since I was trained, I might as well run.

I have a lot of friends with very different racing goals, and it can be tough to not be pulled into setting all of those goals for myself.  Some friends are currently working to set a half marathon PR.  I’ve gotten into pretty good shape, and if I trained for it, this would be a reasonable goal for me as well.  However, I don’t actually want to train for it.  When I set that PR, I was solely a runner.  The last time I (inadvertently) got close, I was trying to come back from a period of very slow, out of shape races, and I was running 4+ days a week.

I don’t like running that much.

The reason a number of my friends are running this weekend is because they have set a goal of running a half marathon in all 50 states.  This is an awesome goal, and totally different from a time-based goal.  It’s a pretty sweet goal for someone who doesn’t want to focus on training to get faster, but someone who runs to stay in shape and have fun.  (Of course, plenty of people I know who are aiming for this goal are also working to set PRs.)  It’s tempting to try for the goal as well.

But considering that I’m also doing triathlons, trying to cram a bunch of half marathons into my schedule becomes complicated.

Unfortunately, I can’t do everything.  I need to go to work to pay for these hobbies, and I need to sleep sometimes.

So it means figuring out what my goals are.  This year, I’m working to improve my cycling.  I’d like to improve my triathlon times.  Setting a PR is definitely possible, though I personally don’t love comparing triathlon times between races.  There are just so many variables.  But if I can cut a chunk of time off of my average, I’ll be delighted.

But I also want to have fun.  That means more volunteering, more cheering, and doing things like going with my friends when they check Arkansas off of their goal list this weekend.

Getting Out Of Your Head

I found many pieces of cars on my run this week.

This weekend, I went out for my last long run before the Donna half.  Eleven miles.  Not too terrible, but I wasn’t really looking forward to it either.  I’m a slow runner!  11 miles takes me a long time.

So I decided to go out and run and not worry about pace.  It had been a long weekend and I had been on my feet the night before at the Ulman Cancer Fund event, so who knew what this run would bring.

I queued up a few episodes of Zombies Run and also listened to some of The West Wing Weekly.  (Basically, I let the Zombies Run episode play, and instead of playing music, I play the podcast and when the Zombies Run episode interrupts, I pause the podcast with the control on my headphones.  I don’t like to listen to music when I run.  Podcasts let me still hear the sound around me.)  I have to say, all these years later, I still love Zombies Run.  Definitely a creative story, though I keep the zombie chases turned off because they are creepy.  I may sign up for one of their virtual races to get the added content.

So I basically just ran and paid no attention to pace.  I knew that I was running at a good pace, because I checked my watch every mile so I didn’t miss my turnaround point, but I didn’t focus on the pace itself.

By the time I was done, I was sore.  But pleased to be done.  Still wasn’t paying too much attention to my pace.  When I finally got home and uploaded my data, I realized why I was so sore.  I had run about 30 seconds per mile faster than I had on my previous week’s ten mile run.  I was closer to my anticipated race pace than I was to a training pace.  And yet I didn’t feel like I was pushing all that hard.

Just goes to show what can happen when you get out of your head. Now to see what happens at my race in just under two weeks.  Maybe I’m better trained than I thought.

Utah Valley Marathon – Discount Code and a Chance to Win!

Looking for a fast early summer race?  Check out the Utah Valley Marathon, Half Marathon, and 10K, held on June 10th in Provo Canyon.  This race has been on my list for a couple of years now, and I’m doing my best to get out there for the 2017 race with some awesome friends.  Why?  Because this race looks amazing!

First off, it’s a downhill course, so it’s super fast.  (It’s also a Boston qualifier course, so you speedy marathoners may want to get on this.)  Second, it’s absolutely gorgeous.  How many races do you know of that run past forests, lakes, and waterfalls.  WATERFALLS, people!  Finally, it’s just a friendly race run by awesome people with awesome volunteers.  And let’s be honest, that’s what really makes a race.  It was even  named a Top 10 race in America by Runner’s World Magazine in 2014.

For those of you really into the swag, they’ve got big medals planned for this year, but even better, since it’s the 10th anniversary of the race, instead of a race shirt (which we all have a lot of, let’s be honest), they’re giving out a really nice running jacket.  I don’t know about where you live, but here, it’s been cold, and I could definitely use another running jacket (so I can do laundry less).

If you’re interested in signing up, the code eg15 will get you 15% off your entry.  And for the next two weeks, you can enter to win a free entry!

Hope to see you there!

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