I am exactly one week out from officially starting marathon training, so this seems like a good time to finally update the old running blog. I find running in the summer in Texas very, very difficult. I know other parts of the country have had some especially hot stretches this year but Texas feels like a special kind of hell compared to everywhere else I’ve lived during summer months– Pennsylvania is humid; Connecticut is a milder version of PA; Spain is hot and dry; Argentina is hot and had awful air quality, at least in Buenos Aires. Texas is extra miserable for me because it is so very hot and it stays so very hot for around half of the year. I think this summer (which hasn’t been as bad as some of the other years I’ve lived here) we started hitting 90 degrees in April and it would not be unheard of to keep hitting 90+ in October. During some of the hottest days this year (think morning lows in the upper 70s, afternoon highs in the low 100s) it will stay very, very hot well into the evening. For someone like me who really struggles with hot weather running, this leaves two options:
- Early morning running
And that’s what I’ve been doing pretty much all summer. I do the early runs on days when I work from home, days when I don’t have to be at the office super early, and Saturdays (7 AM long run with running group). If a morning run can’t happen, I take a rest day or run on the treadmill in the afternoon. Usually I’m on the treadmill 1-2 days per week and I use the time to get in a little speed work. I don’t think treadmill speedwork is as effective as speedwork on the track or road but it’s better than nothing and it makes the treadmill time go by faster :-).
I’ve been attending the Saturday AM long runs religiously for the past 8 weeks. The group runs a 10 mile loop but I typically end up with 13-14 miles since I run between my apartment and our meeting spot. My pace per mile right now is a good 1 minute (or more) slower than my long run pace leading up to 3M but I am 100% okay with that. My main goal for the summer was to maintain a good base before marathon training. If I had to race a 5K tomorrow it would probably be a mess but 2+ hours of slow running? No problem. (Well, it’s still a bit messy because summer = miserable heat, but at least I’ve finally got a good hydration/fuel routine down– Clif bar and coffee 1 hour before run, slowly consume gel during mile 7, refill water bottle at the one water fountain with cold water at mile 9).
Check out my monthly mileage so far this year:
July was my highest mileage month and August will probably be even higher! I’m averaging around 40 miles per week. I’ve hit 40+ miles before but it’s typically been peak mileage during half marathon training. In the past 40+ miles has left me pretty fatigued but now it’s starting to feel like the norm. (To be fair, I’m not doing nearly as much speed work as I did during half marathon training. I think I’ve run at 5K effort once in the past month and it was on the treadmill.)
My mantra this summer has been Some Slow Miles Are Better Than No Miles. Hopefully my summer of many slow miles will pay off when it starts to cool off and I start adding some more speed work to my schedule.