Summer Running, Had Me A Blast

I took a little time off running. More than I meant to, really.  You take a few days off for a weekend trip, then you excuse yourself from running because of the heat & humidity, and all of a sudden you realized you’ve been exercising half-assedly for three weeks and you have no idea where all the time went and you’ve got to get back on track! Also, WordPress recognizes “half-assedly” as a word – no red squiggles of misspelling!

It’s always so nice outside when I head to work in the morning. By the time I get home though, the humidity is oppressive, so I always think I should run early in the AM or later at night, but I never get around to making that happen. Last night I decided I’d had enough of waiting for the right time to run again. I found a run/walk program online -I took a picture of the plan with my phone, so I can’t remember where it came from, but it involves running three minutes and walking two, and alternating run days with walking and cross-training.

My first run was supposed to be 20-25 minutes but about ten minutes into it I decided it was safer to keep it on the short side. The plan recommends to run slow enough so you can hold a conversation without huffing & puffing, but I always seem to huff & puff no matter how slow I go! I finished my 20 minutes with just a little more to go to hit 2K, so I walked to reach the milestone (kilometerstone?). The heat made my pace terribly slow – much slower than normal, even after a few days off. Humidity makes it impossible to suck in any cool air which makes the run seem that much harder. If only there were a breeze to save me!  I felt great for getting back on the road though, and sticking it in the face of the hot, hot sun! It was hilarious, me running the sidewalks of my apartment complex and all I hear are the buzz of air conditioners in every building. People probably thought I was out of my mind.

I was worried that taking a few days (ok, weeks) off from consistent running would result in a big loss of fitness, but I managed ok. I’m learning that fitness is all over the place – it’s not a line that keeps going up towards perfection, with faster times and longer distances along the way. I’m not always going to see progress. Some days are going to be awesome. Sometimes I will not have a great run or a perfect race, and sometimes I will have to stop when I want to keep going. All we can do is keep running and find things that we enjoy about it to keep us going.

That’s also why we can’t compare ourselves to each other as runners. We are all at different fitness levels. Some of us have been running for years, and some of us, just a few days. Some people need to fuel more during long runs but some people don’t. Advice will only take us so far and there really isn’t a plan that works for everyone. We just have to find what works for us and stick with it, and just keep running.


6 thoughts on “Summer Running, Had Me A Blast

  1. That’s so true! Different things work for different people. For me, a week or maybe even two weeks rest usually results in improvement, but more than that and I get stuck. As for the heat and humidity… I’d happily run in the wind and rain right now. 🙂

    • I would even take snow right now! To think, in the dead of winter I yearned for summer heat. I was wrong, I take it back! If you were to take a break like that from running, a week or two, would you do any cross-training during that rest period?

      • Ahhh, snow… 😉
        I don’t generally do cross training, but I walk to and from work each day which is about 25-30 mins each way, so I guess that helps.

  2. This heat is crazy! Today it feels like 100 so I’m going to swim instead and maybe run at night if I want. You kind of have to give yourself more wiggle room in summer because overheating + dehydration is a dangerous combo.

    I do like thinking of fitness as this lateral thing that builds, but won’t go tumbling down if you miss a few days or switch activities for a while. I used to be so anxious about skipping more than a day at a time, but sometimes the body needs more recovery.

    • Swimming sounds perfect right about now! One good thing about summer is that it’s lighter longer, so I could run at 8:00PM when it’s cooler and don’t have to worry too much about running in the dark.

      That’s a good point too – if I take a break, I don’t always fall right back to square one. I’m starting to see fitness as a long journey which builds on itself, instead of a hike straight up the mountain to the top.

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