While I’m definitely not a fairweather runner, I can be somewhat of a fairweather racer. Let me explain. Running in the summer is tough enough. It’s hot, it’s humid, the bugs are out and it can often be an all-around sufferfest. However, it’s a necessary evil. So I do it. I wake up at the crack of dawn (actually, usually before the sun) and I run. Then I sweat all day and my hair looks a hot mess and I never cool down—but alas, that’s the price we pay.
Because summer running can be such a challenge, I have a few rules for picking a summer race. Most of these grew out of not being particular about summer racing and paying the price. Learn from my mistakes!
- Races must start EARLY. Do not run a half marathon in August that starts at 9 a.m. Do NOT do that yourself. Unless you live someplace where the weather is very, very nice in August. My general rule is nothing after 8 a.m. once summer really gets going. Set your own guideline, but I strongly recommend setting one, whatever that may be.
- Races must be relatively short. I ran an awesome 20k in August two years ago. The race started at 8 a.m., so it was within my rules, but by the time I was finishing, it was closer to 10 a.m. and it was HOT. Way too hot for my liking. A 10k would’ve been great (and in fact I’m running two of them in June). A 20k was just a touch too long for August heat, in my opinion. Lots of 5ks, 10ks and other fun distances (like Freedom 4-milers and such) are on my plate for this summer.
- Races must be for FUN. I do NOT run for any PRs in the summer. I race for fun and to get miles in as a part of my training. I save the PR goal races for the fall and the spring. The benefit of this approach is that by the time the race comes around, the weather is much better than I’ve been training in (typically—obviously you can’t always count on this) and that can equal a faster race!