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!
Sometimes it happens that you just lose it.
You love running, but you lose your motivation.
It may just be a bad day, or a bad week, or a bad month.
You are tired, you haven’t been eating healthy, work is crazy, you’ve gone back to smoking/drinking/doing drugs/whatever addiction you may have. You’ve fallen off the running path.
I’ve had a couple of tough weeks, and although I’ve been keeping my training and my healthy habits for the most part, I just haven’t been really feeling it. The worse thing about that, is that if you are not enjoying what you do, then you aren’t going to keep doing it for long.
Here is what has been helping me get my motivation back:
1) Relax: Sure, you probably aren’t exactly at your best moment, but stressing over the runs you didn’t take or how bad you’ve been feeling is not going to help you. Before you can get back in the game you need to breathe deep, relax, and clean your mind.
2) Forget about the future: We usually have all these long term plans of things we want to do, races we want to run, PRs we want to achieve. And although I think those goals can be great motivators, sometimes when we are overwhelmed they act against us. So I try to think about today and tomorrow only, today’s HIIT and how it’s going to make me feel so much faster, tomorrow’s long run which always leaves me tired but happy. And that’s it. Anything beyond that, I’ll deal with later.
3) Let the past go: Whatever it is that we did or didn’t do, it’s over. Forget the runs you didn’t take and the overindulgences, it’s all up from here.
4) Change your training for the upcoming week: Never mind what’s in your calendar for next month, season, etc. This week it’s OK to take it easy. Get back into running slowly but surely.
5) In a few days, revisit your goals: Sometimes the main reason we lose our motivation is because we just trained to hard, too much, too soon. Think about what may have been the trigger for your lack of motivation, and if it may be a good idea to change a few things in your training plan.
6) Google your motivation: There is so much online that can help get your motivation back. Maybe it’s reading running quotes, or running blogs, or running websites, or online shopping (for new running shoes of course).. whatever helps you get out the door and run, go find it.
7) Go for a run with a friend: Even if you don’t usually run with people, going for that first run after a bad period with a friend will help you remember how much fun running is. Don’t think of pace or miles or training, just go run and enjoy the company.
8) Update your music: If you run with music, a few songs will get you going again. Do a Yutube search of new disco/techno/country/yourstyle songs, try them at home, and if you like them take them out for a run.
9) Get it together: It’s OK to be weak every now and then. But then it’s not. Think of your kids, your health, your significant other, whatever is important to you in your life, and just get it together, for everybody.
10) Remember we have all been there: I hate to find comfort in the misery of others, but truth is there is something about others having gone through what I’m going through that makes me feel good. It makes me feel less weak, less sad, it makes me feel like I can reach out and look for support, because I will find it.
Have you ever lost your running motivation?
What helped you get it back?