Houston, It’s Summer Time
Summer is here and the weather is hot. Check out these tips from Ambassadors Heather and Marcus on how they keep up with their training in the summer.
Summer Running in Houston
By Ambassador Heather Foley
“I had an epic disaster run this Saturday.”
“I had to cut my run short today, I felt awful.”
These are both direct quotes from actual conversations I have had with friends recently relating to running in the rising heat and humidity that we all know so well.
Running in Houston in the summer time is no joke. It’s hard. It’s uncomfortable. But you know what? It makes you stronger and tougher too. I recently returned from running my second 100 miler in Bryce Canyon, UT. Most was at altitude, it had some ridiculous elevation change, and had a lot of running along exposed ridges in 90+ degree heat. Whenever I have run in these mountain races I get the same question, “How did you train for this?!” they ask in exasperation of how a flatlander could possibly run in all these unknown variables. My answer is usually pretty simple. Train in Houston Summers.
It can be tempting to give up on the great outdoors as soon as those conditions get tough, but I promise you, if stick with it and just make a few adjustments, you will come out a resilient runner and you may even see some PRs come a little easier when the glorious Fall comes.
Here are my favorite pieces of advice for embracing your summer of running.
Manage your expectations. This is job #1. If your usual pace through the Winter and lovely Spring was an X:00 Pace and now you find that it is significantly slower and/or now running at X:00 pace now nearly kills you….RELAX. If a loop around Memorial Park used to take you 30 mins and now it takes 40 with walk breaks, that is all normal. You are not a bad runner. You should not give up on your race goals. You should not throw away your running shoes. When the temps and humidity come down, you will go back to those usuals. But until then, do not waste any time internalizing those as anything negative about your running.
Work with the weather, not against it. Try to run earlier in the morning than you might usually do or later in the evening. If it can be avoided, don’t run in the hottest part of the day. Wear clothing that is cool and breathable and maybe think about some sunscreen, sunglasses or hat.
Stay strong, running buddies. It will pay off later and in the meantime, pat yourself on the back a little extra for suffering through it all. We are all in this together!
Conquering the Summer Slump
By Ambassador Marcus Lewis
Running in the summer heat can be a challenge, with temps in the upper 90’s and the heat index reaching triple digits, some may be tempted to put it off. I look at summer as base training, a time to work on my weakness and improve speed, so not running is not an option. So here are a few tips I used to get through this Texas heat.
Timing – Morning runs are the best, being that its the coolest part of the day. If you don’t like waking up early, evening runs are better than midday runs, but either way, slow it down and don’t be concerned about your pace. In hotter temps your heart is working harder to keep your body cool, so maintaining a fall or winter pace is not necessary. Keep running your fitness will be there when the temps drop. Treadmills are also a good way to beat the heat if your only time to run is when it feels like a 100 degrees outside.
Hydration – When I was younger summer running meant feeling like someone sucked the life out of me. What I didn’t understand was how electrolytes worked and that I was actually depleted. Last summer I started dropping electrolyte tablets in my water bottle during workouts. I also bought coconut water with the groceries and kept sports drink powder as a back-up. What I found was that keeping my levels topped off, helped me to feel normal all summer, even after track workouts on 90 degree + heat. Do not stay thirsty my friend.
Keep cool – What’s obvious to some, may not be so obvious to others. Wear clothing designed for running; breathable, sweat wicking clothing allows the wind to get to your skin and cool you off. Though the humidity is so high here that you normally end up wet drenched in sweat. Visors are better than hats because they allow heat to escape through the top of your head instead of trapping it like a cap. During races I dump more water on my skin than I drink and love when there is ice drop underneath my clothing.
The bottom line is to make a plan and create your conditions. The better prepared you are the better you perform. How do you beat the summer heat? Happy running!
About the Author: Heather Foley (Houston, TX) – Marathon
After graduating from college, affordable access and time for team sports was hard to find so Heather picked up running to keep in shape. She joined Runner’s High Club here in Houston in 2008 and a new family and passion was discovered. She has run over 30 marathons/ultramarathons (including back-to-back finishes at the Comrades Ultra Marathon in South Africa), but loves all the other distances as well. To keep in the best running shape she can be in, she also regularly does crossfit and yoga. Running motivates her on a personal level, but it also gives her the opportunity to interact with the incredible and vibrant community that exists among runners, and all people who love an active healthy lifestyle. When she does sit still, she likes it to be on a patio on a nice day with live music and friends. This is Heather’s fourth year in the Ambassador program.
Twitter – @haf811
Instagram – @haf811
Facebook – Heather Foley
About the Author: Marcus Lewis (Houston, TX) – Marathon
Marcus spends his days working in engineering services for a chemical plant. Evenings and weekends are spent with his wife and four sons. On weekends he and the boys enjoy trips to the grocery store and gym. Life is busy, so pretty much any “free” time he has is dedicated to running and triathlon training. Marathon training has taught him that there are no limits, that it’s about more than just running and to enjoy the journey. He is looking forward to another great year!
Twitter – @mrlewis08
Instagram – @irondad