Anyone else have a long run this past weekend that left you feeling “huh???” You know the feeling: training is flowing along beautifully and then suddenly you’re on the struggle bus, seemingly out of nowhere? Well, that was me! I was so pumped for the beautiful weather, but totally forgot about the (what I’m now calling) Season Shift Syndrome. Here in Toronto, the heat was high even by mid morning, my bottles quickly ran dry, and I was feeling slooooow. I couldn’t really figure out what was going on until I got home and took to social.
After seeing a few posts from other friends lamenting the same issue, I came across a post from well-known, well-respected coach and Masters Athlete Phaedra Kennedy.
I felt so much better realizing that my body needed to adjust to the change in temperature and that it wouldn’t happen overnight! As with winter running, the shift in degrees can take some time to get used again. Coach Phaedra shared some great suggestions and elicited tips from her followers. Be sure to read the entire post for great tips. Inspired by this and other sources, here is my High Five for Summer Running. Enjoy!
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
Do it in the morning, do it in the evening, do it in the afternoon! As Phaedra shared on Instagram, dehydration will elevate your heart rate and make an effort much harder. By maintaining a consistent level of hydration, you’ll go into your runs ready to rock.
Hydration on the Go
For those really long efforts that require increased fluids, there are a couple of options. So far, the city hasn’t turned on the filling stations and it’s not clear if they will. Consider creating a looped outing for a long effort so that you can swing by home for fill-ups. Alternatively, you can bring your hydration fuel in dry form (i.e., Nuun tabs, Tailwind powder) and buy a water to refill your bottles while out. Obviously creating waste is less than ideal, but training during the current situation is less than ideal, too!
Rate of Perceived Exertion
Coach Phaedra explains that “[t]he heat is going to make everything feel harder than normal. So your 5km pace may feel like your 1 mile pace when it’s hot out. Trying to hit your target paces when you’re not fully acclimated to the heat will result in working way harder than you need to and longer recovery times”. So be sure to pay close attention to how you feel and adjust accordingly!
I don’t know about you, but I always forget about sun protection when shifting into the season of more constant and direct sun. Be sure to apply sunscreen (and even bring along with you for those extra long efforts). Wear a hat. Find shady routes if possible. Remind a friend – sharing is caring!
Recover with Intention
After being out in the sun, be mindful of your recovery. Be sure to replenish your electrolytes, rehydrate as needed, and refuel based on your effort. Especially following long runs in the heat, dipping into an ice bath can be both refreshing and really good for reducing inflammation. I even jumped in my kid’s inflatable pool last night post run. The hose water was indeed cold and it was a welcome opportunity to cool off.
These are just a few ideas to get you on the path to successful summer running. Be patient with the process as you shift into new temperature ranges! And turn to experts – like Coach Phaedra Kennedy – for great suggestions and advice.