LOLZLetter 176 | Summer Running Is Hard
And a personal life update
Hopefully, you had a great weekend.
In personal news, tomorrow I start a new full-time job here at Edwards Air Force Base. I'll be working in a squadron that tests and calculates the limits of airplanes. I want to think I'll still have time to write the newsletter each week, but who knows. I've worked at home for over two years now, and while financially *it's fine*, mentally, it can take a toll, especially when my husband is gone.
Setting my own schedule is wonderful, but occasionally I can go a few days without seeing anyone in person, which is not my favorite. I've found I thrive more in a "going to the work setting." Anyway, I'm excited to start something completely new (and, truthfully, out of the running industry). I like the running industry, but I've never wanted to make it my "whole life," and while it's not now, sometimes it feels that way. But this is not goodbye.
Anyway, this weekend I ran a 5k and got to climb a few local peaks, so in all, it was great.
Now that I've dumped that on you, back to the newsletter.
It's harder to run!
The Poor Man's Altitude: Training in the Heat and Humidity:
I often get asked how to run in the heat and humidity. While I now live in the high and dry desert, I spent most of my life on the East Coast in the trenches of humidity. Truthfully, I ran better in humid summers than I do in the desert. When it's hot in the desert (sometimes around 110), sweat evaporates off you before it can cool you. If you are a minimal sweater like myself, you might find you never sweat enough to cool yourself and become dehydrated faster than you ever expect.
Running in the humidity is just as challenging. Sometimes it feels like you are swimming rather than running.
A common question I receive is how to train in the heat and humidity.
The short answer is you just get out there and do it.
You will be slower.
Everyone is slower.
You don't need to justify it. (but you never do)
You don't run the same pace at 40 degrees as 80, so don't compare your best time on an ideal day to training in the summer.
What is Dew Point?
You'll hear dew point a lot, especially in humid states. What is dew point? It's the measure of the water saturation in the air. The water saturation causes runners' inability to cool down and makes running "more challenging" in the summer.
The dew point can be found on most weather reporting websites. It is a number in degrees we runners use to adjust our expected paces. You'll probably slow down between 5%-15% depending on the dew point. With running, a dew point higher than 65° F will feel uncomfortable. A dew point higher than 70 can be dangerous if you don't take appropriate action while running. This means slowing down, maybe walking, and hydrating frequently.
This post from Mark Hadley gathers all of the information about dew point and how to adjust accordingly.
How Can You Run Well in the Summer?
Run Early or Late:
First, there is no right or wrong time to run. Running at 5 am does not make you any more badass than running at 8 pm. In fact, I think running late in the day and still doing it makes you more badass. If you like running at 2 am, great. If you want to run at 7 pm, that is also great.
Keep this in mind: Humidity is generally higher in the morning. So if you are part of the 5 am crowd, you might have cooler temperatures and higher humidity. It might be hotter but less humid if you choose to run later. Difficulty-wise, they are usually about the same. Of course, both are better times to run than high noon. Occasionally I'll only be able to run in the early to mid-afternoon; in that case, I choose the treadmill with no shame.
The Treadmill is Ok:
I feel like I've been screaming this a lot lately, but treadmills are not bad. You are still cool if you run on the treadmill. It might be mind-numbing to you, but running on the treadmill is a great tool. If you call the treadmill the "dreadmill," you will dread it. Change your attitude and make it a more enjoyable experience.
How can you make the treadmill more fun? Try running next to friends who aren't usually at the same pace. You can run next to anyone on a treadmill because everyone can adjust their own pace accordingly.
You can also run at any time during the day, and it's going to be the same temperature. If the lunch hour is the only time you have, it doesn't matter. If you are looking for things to keep you entertained, I wrote a blog about the 2022 Updated List of Running Podcasts.
Hydrate all of the Time:
In the summer heat, you might now need to bring electrolytes with you on a 5-mile run. Right now, I bring electrolytes on every run in the desert. Yes, I even did it for a short 2-mile run, and I needed it. That's fine. Or pick somewhere you can stop for water or run loops around your house.
Remember that hydration is not just about hydrating during a run. It's about hydrating before, during, and after. When you feel thirsty, it is too late. And don't forget your electrolytes – they are essential. There are a thousand products like Nuun, Gatorade, Powerade, Salt Tablets, and Tailwind. Find what tastes good and sits in your stomach well.
You lose minerals like sodium, potassium, and magnesium when you sweat. I wrote about electrolytes here.
Determine Your Sweat Rate:
How many times can I add sweat rate into my newsletters lately?
Do you sweat a lot or a little? Finding out is as simple as weighing yourself before your run and again after a run where you didn't drink anything. Every pound you lose equals about 16 ounces of fluids that should be replaced.
You Will Slow Down:
This point is worth repeating. It will take time to acclimate to the higher temperatures, and you cannot compare yourself to running in perfect weather. If you "can't stand" to look at "such a slow pace," then turn your watch off. Paces aren't embarrassing, and no one cares more about your training than you. Last month I logged road miles averaging from 6:30-11 minutes (not trails but road).
If paces truly embarrass you, then run by time. I do most of my easy runs on time. Suppose I run for 60 minutes and average it to about 6.5 miles. Maybe it's 6.1, or perhaps it's 7… I'll never know.
Running in the summer can be fun and enjoyable, but you'll probably run slower and feel harder (what a closer). Really, it does make running in the fall feel so much easier.