Springing into the heat…feet first


For anyone without a calendar or who hasn’t walked outside lately (if you live in the Deep South), Spring is here in full force. And while everyone else seems to be reveling in its glorious arrival and begging the summer heat to hurry up, I’m a little disappointed that it got here so promptly. In fact, my mom told me today that this time last year, we were having much chillier weather….and I’m sure I was enjoying it. (Insert loud sigh here.)

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I don’t like the beautiful weather, the blooming flowers, the birds returning and the bright green grass sprouting up because I really do. I just don’t like the warmth. Let me be a little more specific – I don’t like the unbearable heat warmth when I’m running.  Ask anyone around me about my opinion (because I express it often) of how I feel about temperatures that dare to go any higher than 55 degrees when I need to go run. I think it all boils down to the fact that I have enough working against me during some of my runs and the stifling heat doesn’t make things better when that dreaded wall decides to rear it’s ugly head.

There’s nothing quite like going out for a run on those crisp, cold days when everyone else is bundled up in about 3 layers of clothes. I can start out feeling numb and cold but in about 10 minutes, I know that I’ll be warm enough that if I wore gloves, they’re coming off and if I wore too many layers, I’ll be aware of it very soon. I guess the cold helps me to feel refreshed even on long runs instead of oppressed the minute I step out of the house on those hot, muggy days. Plus, in cold weather, I can actually breathe!

With all that being said, I’m well aware of where I live and that I can’t turn down the temp every time I decide it’s a little too hot for me. I also realize that in the long run (no pun intended…really!), I’ll become a better runner if I can learn to deal with all kinds of uncomfortable situations while I’m training, heat included. I’ll admit it, I’m a big wimp about it but this is only the second season I’ve had to deal with the heat and I’m going to try and not whine quite as much as last year. (Which is why I chose to do a little extra today and get it out of the way.) I’ll try to make sure I dress smarter when I go and drink extra water on the really hot days. Also, a good thing to remember is that heat slows us down. A 90 degree day with 80% humidity is not the time to try and break records, unless you’re a cheetah…who runs daily in a fur coat. (That thought alone makes me sweat.) The one thing I don’t plan on doing is training for a half marathon or marathon in this weather. I plan on doing that during the most wonderful time of the year (for a heat sensitive runner) – Winter.

I found this quote interesting:

“Out of the silver heat mirage he ran. The sky burned, and under him the paving was a black mirror reflecting sun-fire. Sweat sprayed his skin with each foot strike so that he ran in a hot mist of his own creation. With each slap on the softened asphalt, his soles absorbed heat that rose through his arches and ankles and the stems of his shins. It was a carnival of pain, but he loved each stride because running distilled him to his essence and the heat hastened this distillation.”
– James Tabor, from “The Runner,” a short story

Whew. Makes moving those runs to the late afternoon even more attractive.

Here’s a helpful link from running expert, Jeff Galloway, who gives tips about dressing for and running in hot weather:

http://www.jeffgalloway.com/training/tips_archives/seasonal.html

(You might have to copy and paste.)

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