Summer is here in full force in my neck of the woods. Many of my runs have gone from feeling effortless to something resembling a shuffle. Here are some things to remember about summer running if you are finding yourself in the same spot as me.
Forget About Pace
If the humidity is hitting you hard you may have noticed that your pace has slowed. Cue Googling how much your pace should be adjusted per mile during the summer. What Google isn’t going to tell you is that as George Sheehan said, “We are all an experiment of one.” That is all well and nice that an online calculator told you to expect your pace to be 20 – 30 seconds slower per mile. Your pace may be much slower in the realm of the minute or more per mile range. While averages are nice, they don’t tell you how your individual body is going to react. Run for distance and stop worrying about the pace calculations until it cools off or the humidity drops. Come fall, you will be cruising and your worries about a slow down will be a thing of the past.
It’s important to be hydrated year round, but it becomes more apparent during the summer months when you not only feel sluggish but thirsty on runs. You can only chug so much water at once. Purchase a Hydroflask or other comparable large water bottle and measure out how much you drink a day. Keep sipping all day long. If you still find yourself feeling a bit off in the hydration department, consider adding a nuun tablet to your water to keep your electrolyte levels balanced. If you aren’t the type of runner that carries water on a run, consider starting to bring along fluids, at least until things cool off a bit.
Just like making sure you are hydrated year round, you want to make sure you are using sunscreen on every run, whether it’s summer or not. Melanoma is a type of skin cancer responsible for the majority of deaths from skin cancer. The majority of melanoma cases are caused by exposure to sun. As runners, we are typically outside often. Pay special attention to the tops of your ears, tops of your shoulders, and forehead when applying sunscreen. It’s easy to get burnt while running even on the cloudiest of days. On days that the heat and humidity are slowing you down, you may find yourself outside much longer for your long run than expected.
Take Care Of Swollen Feet
Do your running shoes suddenly feel tighter than they did just a couple of months ago? Yet again, another unpleasant side effect of the summer is swelling. While not all runners will experience this, many will. If you find that you are getting blisters from shoes that weren’t causing them before or that you don’t feel like you have a thumbnail width in your shoes like you did when you purchased them, consider sizing up half a size during the summer months to account for the swelling.
Give Yourself A Break
I’m not suggesting that you should not run, just that you remind yourself you have been here before. Every summer I find myself having a momentary freak out. I tell myself, This is the year that my body gives up on running—maybe I should quit. I don’t feel good on runs, even when I take them indoors. Yet every year, come fall, I start to feel like myself again and the struggle of the summer is worth it as I line up at the start of a marathon. Don’t beat yourself up emotionally. Do the best you can do with what you have to work with and just know that being a runner is all about patience and riding out the low points to get to the high points.