Every time the season changes, I get a little bummed.
When I get used to doing something a certain way, it takes a while for me to adjust.
As last winter approached, I worried that the colder temperatures and rain would prevent me from running outside a lot of the time, I worried that every run would have to be on the treadmill, or that I would hate running in winter gear. A few weeks later I was completely used to it and loving it, the cold air is great to run in.
Then spring came, and of course I had a whole bunch of new reasons to be worried: hot temperatures that wouldn’t allow me to run far or fast, a strong sun that would bother my eyes and burn my skin, etc.
Sure, I can be a bit dramatic sometimes, but I am a worrier like that.
Now that it’s been warm for some time here, I want to share some of what helped me plan my running better in hot temperatures:
Check the weather: If you are able to know in advance when you’ll be running, check the weather so you can plan accordingly. Sometimes even a half hour can make a big difference in temperature and humidity level. Try to schedule your runs for a time when it’s cooler such as early morning or late in the afternoon or evening. Take into consideration the actual temperature, humidity level, wind, and if the sun is out (as opposed to night or overcast skies).
Plan your route: Where you run also makes a big difference in temperature. If you are running during the day, try to find a shaded route. An open area with trees and breeze will always be cooler than running in the city, keep in mind black asphalt absorbs heat and adds a few degrees to the already warm temperatures.
Drink a lot: This is the most obvious tip and one we all know already, but it’s the most important one too, so it really can’t be stressed enough: we need to drink a lot when running in hot weather. Drink before your run, during, and after. I am the first to admit that I don’t like to drink a lot before my run (it makes me want to pee) or during my run (it makes me want to pee, plus my stomach feels full and heavy), but in warm days drinking only after I’m done running is just not enough. I try to drink plenty during the day so I’m fully hydrated for next day’s morning run, but I also drink before I start running, and I’ve been practicing with drinking during longish runs.
Protect yourself: Wear light, airy, sweat wicking clothes, to keep as cool as possible. This will make a huge difference on your performance and how you feel during your run. Wear a hat or visor to protect your head/face/eyes from the sun. And don’t forget to apply sunscreen in all exposed areas, even early in the morning the sun burns, especially when we are wet with sweat.
Pick your shoes: I read this tip somewhere and thought it was brilliant.. how did I not think of this before? Feet swell on hot weather, especially during long periods of exercise. If you are running over an hour, pick your airiest pair of shoes.
Adjust your training: Hard runs are not suitable for hot weather. If you are planning on doing some serious speed work, see in advance if there will be a cooler day during the week, and schedule that run for that day, or for cooler hours. Keep your runs on warm weather light or moderate effort. If you are racing, remember that higher temperatures will mean a slower run, so readjust your paces and goal time accordingly.
Refuel: Eating and drinking as soon as possible after running not only promotes muscle recovery, but also assists our bodies to regain the right balance of minerals lost through sweat. Experiment with what works best for you in terms of what to eat/drink and quantity. I have water with electrolytes right after any run, and an energy bar if it was a long or hard effort run. About an hour later I have a shake with fruits/soymilk/flaxseed/etc. and a granola bar.
Be smart: If you are feeling lightheaded, dizzy, too hot, too cold (yes, it happens) or start having muscle spasms (usually do to minerals lost through sweat), please STOP RUNNING. Pay attention to how you are feeling at all times. One run is not worth feeling sick or doing even the slightest damage to your body. Take care of yourself, and remember you can always run again tomorrow.
Happy Summer running!
I Didn’t Do Anything this Weekend, and #30summerdays Photo Challenge (days 2-8)
Except for running and getting coffee, I didn’t leave the house all weekend, and it was the most amazing weekend ever.
Every now and then I need a few days of doing nothing for a while. Sure, it sounds like a waste of time, I could have gone on a trip or to the park or at least do some shopping. But it wasn’t a waste at all.
It seems like life responsibilities always take away from the fun things we want to do, although they aren’t one bit less important, like playing with the kids, cooking, baking, taking naps, and getting home pedicures and manicures for me and my little girl.
I got a couple of good long runs in, so I was relaxed and happy. I am aware of the fact that I wouldn’t have been the most pleasant person to stay home with, without getting my running done.
#30summerdays Photo Challenge: Day 2 through 8
I’m really enjoying doing the #30summerdays photo challenge.
I’m not trying to take particularly pretty or interesting pictures. The goal for me doing this challenge is to take more pictures of my life and share them with you. I also love randomly looking through my phone pics a while later and remembering all the simple moments, when they become good memories they don’t seem so simple anymore.
Day 1 is here
Day 2: Monday, ugh! What’s keeping you going today?
Quite obvious, but coffee gets me going every day. 2 cups before I go work out, and another one in shake form after my workout, that keeps me awake all day.
Day 3: Who made you smile today?
My little girl, she’s such a source of smiling/laughter in my life.
We were watching my oldest during his swim lesson and she wanted to go in the pool, so she was crying. Eventually I started taking pictures of us to distract her, and she was a happy girl again.
Day 4: Look up. What do you see?
I love flying and I work for an airline. When I think of the sky, I think of planes. And I get to see them often too, right over my head!
This picture is from a past vacation to St. Marteen in the Caribbean, where the airport is right by the beach and they fly literally right above your head, quite an experience.
Day 5: #TBT Share a photo from a past summer trip!
Our first and last family trip to Uruguay, where I grew up. I wish I could go more often to visit family and friends, and for my kids to get a stronger sense of the culture I grew up in.
Day 6: National Doughnut Day! Snap a pic celebrating! Or, what did you have instead?!
We don’t eat a lot of doughnuts in Israel, but croissants and all kinds of sweet baked goods are one of my favorite treats.
Day 7: Saturday! What are you up to?
Family time and running!
Day 8: Time to relax before the start of the week. What does relaxing look like to you?
Long overdue pedicure and a funny movie while the kids took a nap, so relaxing!
Do you enjoy doing challenges? Which kind of challenge is your favorite: fitness, pictures, etc?
Being Confident in Running
It’s easy for me to lose my confidence in running. An uncomfortable run or a slower pace is all it takes for me to doubt how far I’ve come. Doing a really fast speed that made me feel proud a few days ago, becomes meaningless after an achy run.
I try to not think about running soon after a difficult run, and eventually when I think about my training with a cooler head, I pretty much know where I stand.
I think I can figure out where I stand training wise, I know what to expect when I go to a race, I know what speed I’ll be able to pull when I do speed work. Taking the bad runs as something that happens, and those really too good runs as something that happen as well, there’s a balance, a happy medium, a pace I can hold for 10K and a pace I can hold for 1K, that’s just the way it works.
I ran 39K/24.2M this weekend, and it was great. 25K/15.5M on Friday, and 14K/8.7M this morning.
I follow a training plan because I enjoy the number’s game, and because my mind works like that, it needs to know what to do, it needs to plan in advance how far I’ll be running and at what pace. Sometimes I want to forget about racing and even about getting faster, I want to run because I like it, without paying attention who passes me on my route and who I pass. Running is fun, healthy, and it makes me happy.
Do you follow a running training plan? If yes, is it to run longer/faster/improve in any other way?
8th Day of the Week for Running and Coffee Shopping
Thursday is the last day of the work week in Israel so it’s always a good day for me, looking forward to some weekend fun.
Today especially, since we had a holiday Tuesday and Wednesday, and my work gave us an extra day off, so no work for 5 days.
I had been meaning to go to a running store to cash a couple of prices I got at races, so I did that today. They have mostly Mizuno running gear, and a few other brands I don’t particularly like, which was no problem at all, I have been loving Mizuno running clothes lately.
I got two singlets, similar to the ones I bought a couple of weeks ago and absolutely loved. Also a sports bra, socks for my hubby, and a GU chomps because I have to try that flavor.
I had some time left so I went and bought a new coffee machine, our new one was pretty much done.
Shopping for coffee related and running related things, doesn’t get much better than that for me.
As simple as this seems, sometimes I don’t have the time for the little things, my family, work, and running take a lot of my time. I am not at all complaining, I love being busy and those things are definitely worth all my time and energy. Sometimes I just wish the week had an extra day for all the random stuff I need or want to do.
On Tuesday I did an interval run on the treadmill, my fast pace for 1 minute intervals is 4:00 Min/KM (06:26 Min/Mile). This is faster than I was doing a few months ago, so I’m glad I’m slowly making progress. Although I don’t feel like I can do them faster at this point, I did add a couple more intervals to Tuesday session, instead of 5 fast intervals, I did 7. I thought I might have trouble on the last few, but the run went really well, and I think I could have even done 1 or 2 more.
I do the intervals at the end, total it was a 50 minute run ranging in pace from 06:19 Min/KM (10:10 Min/Mile) to 4:00 Min/KM (06:26 Min/Mile).
Wednesday was a very hot day in Israel, 40C/104F by noon, so I had to go run as early as possible. I checked the weather.com app on my phone the night before, and it seemed like it would be cool until 8 AM or so, so I started my run at 5:30. I guess a lot of people were thinking the same thing, because the boardwalk had way more action than usual at that time.
14K/8.7M at an easy pace, average 05:07 Min/KM (08:14 Min/Mile).
Does it take you forever (like me) to do some things you want/need to do, that are not already part of your routine?
It can sometimes take me weeks/months to find the time to do something like color my hair or go buy clothes.
3 Day Taper Experiment: Unnecessary
Friday morning, after running, I went to get my hair straightened. Since I couldn’t get my hair wet for 2-3 days after that, it seemed like a good opportunity to experiment with tapering. Although I didn’t have a race on the schedule, I decided I wouldn’t run until Monday morning (3 days = 72 hours of no running), and then go for a tempo run, not race effort, but challenging enough.
· No running for 3 days.
· Tapering mentality: good sleep, good nutrition, grid rolling, light physical effort.
· Go for a challenging run Monday morning: 11K/6.8M total, with last 5K/3.1M tempo at average pace 04:24 Min/KM (07:05 Min/Mile).
I did everything right:
It would have been nice to rest and indulge for 3 days, but since I don’t take 3 straight days of rest often (or ever), it was worth it to take the opportunity to treat it as a true taper and try some things out.
My nutrition was spot on, I ate healthy and nutritious foods, and roughly counted calories so I wouldn’t overeat or undereat.
I got 8 hours of sleep every night for 3 nights, which you have no idea what a luxury it is for me. I could feel how this affected my mood, my energy levels, and even how I look (no dark circles under my eyes for 3 days!).
I did very little physical activity, took care of my feet by wearing comfortable shoes, and took care of my legs by using the grid roller every night for at least 10 minutes (which is longer than my usual 5).
Pay off time?:
Maybe my expectations were too high about what the taper would yield, I was sure the last 5K tempo of this run would feel comfortably hard at the most. My reasoning was that if the pace I was planning on running is hard effort for me under regular circumstances, then after a good taper it would feel somewhat easier.
In reality, this run felt hard from the beginning. My legs were stiff and not cooperating. I didn’t think too much of it during warm up, and just took it easy and ran at a slightly slower pace than my usual warm up pace. 2K warm up and 3K easy pace later, my legs still felt heavy. The 6th KM was a mix of 200 meters accelerations followed with an easy recovery pace for another 200 meters. And then tempo time started. And I was a mess. I couldn’t get to goal pace for the first 2KM, and although I made up for it during the next 3KM, it felt really hard and I considered stopping and/or lowering my pace every 30 seconds or so until the end of the run.
Average pace for the tempo 5K was, incredible enough 04:23 Min/KM (07:04 Min/Mile). Yes, I managed the time I wanted, but this run was still a failure in my opinion:
· I couldn’t get to goal pace for the whole first 2KM. This is a relatively long distance to not be able to get to a certain pace. I did a 6K before the tempo, and 6K seem like enough of a warm up. I think stiff legs from not running a few days are to blame.
· The whole 5K tempo (both when running under goal pace and over goal pace) felt hard. I knew this wasn’t going to be an easy run, but I wasn’t expecting hardly being able to make it.
3 days of rest is too much for me. I might consider doing this again before a long race (a marathon, maybe a half), but not for anything shorter. I might do 2 days rest, or even just 1 day rest with a day of light running or cross training the day before.
I’m glad I got to try this out before an actual race, and there were certainly positives to this taper experiment: figuring out a good nutrition routine, getting 8 hours of sleep, and giving my body some well deserved rest.
Next time I take a few days off I will ease back into physical activity, and not try to come back with a hard run. As for my upcoming 5K race.. maybe I’ll take 1 rest day the day before.
Do you have your taper figured out, or are you still trying out different ways to taper?