Friday, April 29, 2011

The Days We Miss

Feet, Meet Sneakers

Leaves Under Stairs

Windchime Shadow

Friday’s (very short) Run (4/29/11)

After a long hiatus, I finally went running again.  According to the official record, it’s been 26 days since my last run.  That feels correct to me, as I know my fitness focus has been elsewhere: yoga and biking.  After the half-marathon, I had a feeling in my gut that I would take a break from running, enough time off to let me miss the sport a bit.  In fitness and in romance, a little missing can be a healthy and energizing experience.  For running in particular, time off can be good for any niggling injuries to heal themselves without much fuss.  (Wait, is this also true for romance-induced injuries?)

This week, I’ve been missing my running routine.  I’ve been missing the Thursdays when I would bike to work and then run after work—those days made me feel so healthy and strong.  So tonight, I went for a short, 10-minute run.  Just a mile.  It felt nice and familiar and freeing—nothing between me and the sidewalk but a pair of sneakers.  This evening I was reminded of something that Maura once wrote, that the road does not judge us, no matter how long we’ve been gone or how slow we are or how much we weigh.  The road welcomes us back just the same, every time.  That’s true for me, and one of the reasons that I feel like I will always be a runner, no matter how many days have passed since my last run.  I know it will always be there for me.

But I also know that running is more fun if you are fit and feel able to do it.  Now that Texas is teetering on the brink of summer, I need to figure out what my summer fitness plan is going to be.  My (not so) super secret goal is to be able to run a solid 30 minutes outside, even at the end of August.  It scares me to say that, having lived through a Texas August, but there it is.  The question is, how should I try to accomplish this goal?  Early-morning runs?  Late-night runs?  Hard-core treadmill time?  I need to think about these options, but I know some of you, sweet readers, also live and train in hot-hot places.  What are your summer strategies?  How do you manage to keep running when the weather is blisteringly miserable outside?

One more thing: happy weekend, everyone!  We made it to Friday!  


  1. Here's what I do in the summer:

    - run early in the morning whenever possible. It's cooler in the morning than the evening, usually, because in the AM it hasn't heated up yet, but in the PM it hasn't yet cooled off. This can vary, of course, but holds true most of the time here.

    - use the treadmill if it's too unbearable or if the morning/evening hours won't work.

    - carry water, drink frequently, dump on head as needed.

    - slow the pace and/or take walking breaks as needed. This is especially helpful as you get acclimated. Later you can get back up to speed.

    - if you have the option, choose shady routes or cross to the shady side of the street. If you have a wooded park or shady trails, now is a great time to make use of them.

    Good luck with your Texas spring and summer running! I'm sure it has got to be at least as bad as Alabama!

  2. Thanks for all the great tips, Kate! It's my dream to become a morning runner, though I know it may remain just a dream...but some mornings, even in the hot months, are almost pleasant! So it seems like it would be worth the effort to get up early 1-2x a week to run.

    The water trick is a good one. I love coming across sprinklers when running in hot weather for the same reason (and seriously, who doesn't love running through sprinklers?)!

    I bet Alabama and Texas are pretty similar in weather--hot and humid, hurray! Good luck to you too with your warm-weather training :-)

  3. I second Kate - morning running is the way to go! Your body temperature is also lower when you first wake up, and that definitely makes a difference.

    I run all summer long and since I'm also in Texas, I can relate to your worries and woes. In the summer months, I don't focus on speed at all. I just accept that my pace will be 2-3 minutes slower than it is in the cooler months. I drink TONS of water when I run. I go shorter distances, hardly ever running more than an hour at a time. And I cross train like crazy - biking is great in the summer and yoga is always my favorite thing to do (besides running!).

    But mostly: mornings! If you can transform yourself into a morning runner, you'll definitely be able to show Texas who's boss!

  4. OK, yes! I am feeling motivated to do this morning thing. Will you and Kate be my support group? :-) Honestly, I am baffled by the idea of running all summer long in Texas, but I hate the treadmill and would love to spend less time on a machine and more time outside.

    Yes, let's do this thing.