I thought last year was hot. Every Saturday for our long runs the temps would be about 90 degrees and humid. I generally enjoy running when it's "warmer" outside. However, when the temps get past 90 degrees, it can get pretty brutal, especially if it's humid (which in Chicago, it generally tends to be). This summer seems to be an even hotter one!
If you are training for something like a marathon or half marathon (or any race at all) and you live in the midwest, you need to train in all kinds of weather. For the Shamrock Shuffle 8k that takes place in Chicago every year either in March or April, it has been 30 degrees and snowing or 70+ degrees! For the Chicago Marathon in October, it has been anywhere between 30 degrees and 85 degrees.
It's a huge pet peeve of mine when people skip out on runs just because it's hot outside (or raining, or there is snow on the ground). Sure, once here or there is fine, but you can't NOT run all summer outside because it's hot. You can't run on the treadmill all summer and hope the marathon will not be hot! You never know what race day will bring. So put on your big girl panties (or big guy boxers????) and take your run outside. You need to get your body acclimated to running in these weather conditions.
Just make sure to be safe.
- Hydrate well the day before and during the day.
- Bring some water with you on the run.
- Slow your pace. It's ok to go slower. It's ok to take a few extra walk breaks.
- Run with identification or an emergency contact number.
- If possible, run with friends.
- Try to pick an area that has some shade. It really helps to not have the sun beating on you the whole time!
- Wear sunscreen.
- Run earlier in the morning or later in the evening if possible. Yes, I said get acclimated to the weather but if you have the opportunity to run when it's 87 instead of 93, go for it, which is what I did last night.
Tonight's run should be fun. The high today in Chicago is supposed to be 99-104. We have not seen a 100 degree day since 2005! I have also not run in 100 degree temps. I'm meeting up with my run group and my friend Maggie is having a special run (she is an ambassador for the Fort 2 Base run and is having a special fun run for that) so I don't want to miss it. I'm trying to formulate a plan now. Maggie is bringing ice. I'm bringing my water bottle. I'm also thinking of just running 5 minutes/walking 1 minute for 3 miles. Either that or run at an 11 minute mile pace and not walk. I'm thinking I might go with my first original option (both will probably equal a similar pace by the outcome).
On another note, the Rock N' Roll Half Marathon in Chicago is coming up on July 22nd. I've done this run (formerly Chicago Distance Classic) every year since 2006 except 2007 when I severly stretched a ligament in my knee slipping on ice. I'm not sure why I love this run so much. Maybe because it's a staple run for me, a given that I will be doing it. It's fun. I run for my charity group for the last 4 or 5 years.
Normally this run is in August (not sure why they moved it to July this year!!!) and it starts very early, at 6:30 am. It's also a run I generally PR at. Last year I had a wedding the night before (read about last year's run here). I set limits to leave at 10:00 pm and only consume two drinks at most. That failed (obviously) and I had 6-7 drinks and left at midnight (getting home at 1:00). I got three hours of sleep, was a little hungover and even though I also drank water all night long, was concerned that I may be (or get) dehydrated. I drank 2 glasses of water before I left the house and made a plan to stop at every other water stop to drink water, normally I may not have stopped until mile 9 to get water.
We were lucky because the day was overcast (it tends to be warm even for 6:30 am) and even started to drizzle at the end. During the run I stuck with the plan of stopping at every other water station. My garmin messed up in the first mile due to the dreaded tunnel near the beginning so it didn't work properly. I also hurt my IT band during the run around mile 8. That made me stop at 8 to stretch and stop and mile 9 to stretch even longer! I think I lost a minute or two during mile 9. I wanted to PR but didn't care what my time was during this run at this point. I felt like crap and just couldn't wait for it to be over! I didn't think there was any way I was going to PR. And I did! By about 40 seconds!
This year for me, it's tough. Sure, I always want to PR (who doesn't), but I also know the smart thing to do it run comfortably. I haven't been speed training or training to PR. I've just been trying to bounce back from all those injuiries I've had over the spring. I've been (knock on wood) injury free since about 2 weeks prior to the marathon on April 28th and definitely do NOT want to get injured again! I'm still training for a marathon (which is my number 1 priority and the only run that I REALLY want to PR FOR SURE!!).
So, with this half marathon less than a month away, my thoughts are turning towards it. I guess I will have to see what the weather will be like for the half this year. With the way this summer is shaping up, the weather may just kill me! And I will probably try to start at a comfortable pace and see how I feel. The competitiveness with myself is always going to be there. But I'm pretty good with reading my body when I'm running. I'm also pretty good with not being stupid (even thought I think stupid thoughts beforehand sometimes).