Now that the fall and winter marathon and half marathon season is in the rear view mirror for most of us, it's time to adjust our training and set our sights on the shorter spring and summertime training runs and races.
That's not to say that we should ditch our long runs; as a matter of fact, in my opinion a nice 12-miler long run on Saturday or Sunday mornings should be maintained as part of a well-rounded program.
Where you live determines how hot the summertime weather will get. It's plenty hot here in south Texas; at its worst we can expect to be languishing in the upper 90s. That said, it is important to acclimate at a reasonable rate.
The preferred method in the best of all possible worlds is to simply run every day. As the weather eases into ever warmer zones, so your conditioning will follow suit. Yes, you will start sweating like the proverbial pig but at least the heat won't be a shock to your system.
How Do Different Temperature Ranges Affect You?Of course, every runner is unique an his or her responses to weather are as well. For example, I do not dissipate heat well but have many friends that do. That being said, there are some general guidelines on the effects of running in the heat and how those effects escalate discomfort and degrade performance.
The humidity in your area is also a huge factor. Evaporation off your body surface is key to cooling. Ideally, you want to be in a place where the locals defend their weather by saying, "Well hell yeah, but its a dry heat."
We should all be so lucky! With high humidity such as it is where I live, the air is already saturated so evaporation is at a minimum. The only trade-off is that we are not shocked by static electricity when we touch metal objects. Now that is something I could never get used to when Uncle Sam sent me to Colorado when I served in the Air Force.
The bottom line is that running during the summer is a monumental good thing. (See the Devo reference there?) The trails are open, the butt-busting ice is gone and we don't have to wear 10 pounds of clothes when we head out the door. So fellow road warriors, have fun and get your run on!