So, summer. Yeah. It's been hot. And humid. I lost some ground in late June when I vacationed in Florida. I just couldn't manage more than 3-4 miles 1-2x/week even running before the sun rose. It was just too humid and hot for my physiology to adapt to. Then there was the face I was on vacation! We spent 4 days at WDW and walked 10-14 miles each day! Staying hydrated was SO hard! I returned home to the Northeast, with weather as hot, if not hotter for several weeks! No rest for the weary. Oy.
Jeff Galloway, my new mentor and running hero, because without him, I'd never have made it past 5K, advises to slow your pace when running in temperatures over 60 degrees. I can count on 1 finger the number of mornings I've run when the temp was below 60 since June! So, I've been basically listening to my body and using a much tighter ratio of running to walking and trying to get out the door as early in the morning as possible before it gets too hot and before the sun gets above the trees.
It has meant sacrificing sleeping late (past 6 am) when I otherwise could. It has, on occasion, meant that I walked way more than I intended to, but still got the mileage in and therefore, maintained/built endurance. It has meant sacrificing 'me' time that used to be productive in other ways. That said, I'm really not convinced my pace will be any faster when the temperatures start to fall. I guess time will tell. Heck, I'm not sure the temperatures will fall given how warm this summer has been! Not that I'm eager for snow, either!
I've been trying to stick to Jeff's Half-Marathon training program but I do admit I'm tweaking it a bit. I've got the time and I've got an average of 2 races per month between now and then. Mostly 5K's and 2 10K's. I've been playing with run-walk-run ratios to see if it impacts my overall pace and how I feel afterwards. I've also been experimenting with terrain.
On my 'short run' days, which are usually 3-4 miles (and 30-40 minutes) and mid-week, I run various loops to/from my home. I live on top of a hill, so these are highly variable elevation runs. I run up hill and I run down hill with bits of flat or mild rolling terrain in between. How much is determined by which route I choose. I vary it for the pure variety, so I don't get bored, and because I run on the road, and being a woman, I am a bit leery of being too complacent in my routine because there are crazy people out there! The overall elevation gain is over 1000'. Much of it in one, very long, very annoying hill that falls at the end of my run. Someday, I will own it...God willing. And calves willing. :-)
On my long run days, I drive to a place where I can run on a relatively flat stretch of road. It's a somewhat busy road, but not so much at 5:30 or 6 am on a Sunday. I'd never do it in the afternoon/evening. It's an out and back loop with a few neighborhood diversions for some variation and to get extra mileage and last weekend it was a 7 mile loop. I used a ratio of running 90 sec and walking 30 seconds. My pace averaged 10-11:30/mile. It took me about an hour 20. I still slow down every mile after 5K. Especially when hilly. I wonder if that will ever change...
In between days, I've been trying to cross train. It's a half-hearted effort. Burpees twice a week (up to 18, goal is 100, in sets of 10. I've done it before...). Some upper extremity free weight training. Stretching/easy yoga. And of course, ballroom dancing!
Today, a bit of a breakthrough and a PR! A personal goal for me was to run a 30 min 5K. When I ran my first, almost 4 years ago, it took me 42 minutes, and that was faster than I thought I'd be! I've been stuck around 31:30 (my previous PR in May)-33 minutes for the past year, even in ideal conditions. Today, I met my goal! Yay me! I did 'cheat' by skipping a few walking intervals to do it and it was a hard push for the last minute, but it was a good feeling. It would be interesting to see if I did run the entire 5K, if my time would be better or worse. On a flat course, I might be able to do that. On my hilly run, I doubt it.
I also learned the value of sport snacks before and during a run. Since I run first thing in the morning, I don't eat first. I drink a chocolate coconut water and sometimes have a cup of tea (caffeine) and I run with a water belt, but have never hand an issue. Until now. I have noticed that after 3-4 miles, I start to feel sluggish. So I tried sport beans. OMG, the difference was amazing. I realize that I need the calories, sugar and electrolytes for those longer runs. I'm in the process of testing various products. I like the sport beans. I also tried snap beans and I really like those! Gu and Clif blocks/products are next to try.
Oh, and stretching, massage and 'rolling' with the foam roller (torture) or the 'stick'. It actually really helps, despite the self-inflicted pain that is necessary to get from tight and sore to happy and injury free.
Next week, my first 10K race! It's going to be a qualifying run for a corral placement for the WDW Half Marathon in January. I plan to interval it at my 90:30 ratio and hope to average about 10:30/mile and finish in 64 minutes or so. It should be fun. Weather looks to be quite warm that day. Only 300 runners and it's a rail trail run. My biggest concern is it is an evening race! I don't know how to run in the evening! Or on a rail trail, even if it's paved! I'm a bit frazzled with how to prepare nutritionally. I hope I'm not too tired. It should be interesting. I'll let you know how it goes! It is actually a good experiment, because eventually, it will be too dark at 6 am for me to run and I'll have to shift my runs to the late afternoon as we move deeper into fall.
For inspiration, I just ordered myself a cooler weather running shirt. It's from Running Princess. It says,
"The race is my ball, my running shoes are my glass slippers, the finish line is my prince charming and the accomplishment is my happily ever after."