What can you do . . .

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. . . to make it more fun?

Last week I wrote about running not always being fun (read that post here). Lately running has actually been fairly strong for me, but the bugs! They’re not even biting bugs and they’re still sucking the life out of my runs. Or making me faster because I want to be done, LOL!

Fairytales and Fitness

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There’s a reason turtles live so long!

What can you do when it’s not fun?
All is not lost on your not-so-fun (let’s face it, miserable) runs. Here are a few tricks you can try to at least make it bearable:

  • Distract yourself with nature. Notice the wildlife, the sunshine, the water, the trees, the beautiful sky, the flowers. You probably will see at least one of those things!
  • Take more walk breaks. I’m specifically talking about Summer here. Summer can suck the life out of you quickly, and even if it doesn’t, most likely you’ll be running slower. I’ve often (but not always) found that more walk breaks don’t even effect my pace all that much. That’s the whole purpose of intervals, by the way — take the break before you’re tired.
  • Run by effort. When it’s hot and humid, running the same pace you normally do can cause you to crash and burn quickly. Forget the pace, and just tune into how you feel. Adjust accordingly. It won’t always be this hot|humid|sunny.
  • Listen to music. I don’t personally run with music, but it can definitely be a great distraction. Or a podcast, or an audiobook.
  • Shorten your run. Sometimes it’s really the smartest thing you can do. Live to run another day.
  • Devote your run to someone in need. This works year-round. Sometimes concentrating on others takes our mind off of ourselves.
  • Count your footsteps. Another thing that can be done year-round. Thankfully I haven’t had to do this in a long, long time, but it can work to get you through a run when you really don’t want to.
  • Concentrate on your breath. It turns your run into a moving meditation. Is it smooth? Choppy? Shallow? Deep? Where do you feel your breath in your body? Really concentrate on your breath, and it will help to take your mind off of your physical body — and really ground and center  you.

The only thing sure about Summer running is that some runs are going to be pretty miserable. You can let yourself wallow in that misery, or you can change your thoughts and try to find the joy in every run. — Chocolaterunsjudy

What do you do when your run is not fun?

Do you stick to your plan or adjust as necessary?

What is getting your through your summer?

 

Newsflash: It’s not always fun

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Wendy @ Takingthelongwayhome recently made the comment of why do it if it’s not fun (or words to that effect) when she decided to drop down from a 50k to a half.

This is not a rebuttal to Wendy’s post — we all have our reasons for training or not training, for skipping runs or not, for dropping distances. Hers were very valid! You can read it here. It did, however, spark the idea for this post.

Fairytales and Fitness

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Some days I’m really glad I’m not training for anything

Some days it’s just not fun
I’ve been getting out there earlier and earlier this Summer. Mostly it’s been hot & humid & it’s just what I had to do to make my runs more funcomfortable.

I made the decision early on during this Pandemic to do my utmost to run outside — unless there was truly dangerous weather or real stay-at-home orders were enacted. So far, so good.

It isn’t always fun, though. I do my best to get out on the most runner-friendly days of the weeks, but most of us have been experiencing an unseasonably hot Summer, and even upstate NY is not immune.

There have been days it’s so buggy I must look like an insane person while swatting constantly. There are days that have been so hot|sunny|humid — or worse yet, all three! — that I feel as though an elderly grandmother using a walker could pass me.

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I keep running because some days I end with a smile on face

So WHY am I out there anyway?
I say it frequently on this blog: your why is the most important thing in anything you choose to do. It’s what will keep you motivated. It’s what keeps the tough going when the going gets tough.

I am out there because I don’t want to break up with running. Oh sure, some days for sure I do want to break up with running. Ultimately, though, I want to keep running the rest of my life — even if I am never able to race again.

Running has taught me so much, has made me so much stronger, has shown me that I am stronger than I think I am. I hope to keep adding states to my tour of the States eventually. It’s all part and parcel of why I keep running, even when it’s not fun.

More about MY why:

Just Keep Running
Some days it won’t be fun. Some runs you’ll think running is really stupid and ask yourself why you’re torturing yourself this way. The answer is simple: because some days running is just what the doctor ordered. Some days you’ll feel like you can conquer the world because you ran.

Keep running through the bad runs so you can run through the great runs. — Chocolaterunsjudy

What is your WHY?

Has your why changed because of the pandemic?

Have you ever considered hanging up your running shoes? Have you ever actually done it?

 

5 Hacks for Summer Running

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It seems I’ve written running tips/hacks for every season but Summer. Summer running can be really hard, but there are ways to make it at least a little more comfortable.

Fairytales and Fitness

Here are five of my tried and true running hacks for summer:

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Stick that water bottle in the freezer the night before, then top off with cold water before your run. Nothing worse than warm water on a hot run!
  1. Freeze your water bottles. I’ve shared this before, but it’s a good one: fill your water bottle halfway with water and stick it in the freezer. I generally do this as soon as I’ve used a bottle/s, so there’s always bottles ready to go. Top off with refrigerated water right before your run.
  2. Leave the top off your water bottle if . . . you do the freeze your water in the bottle trick above. Otherwise the top can freeze to the bottle and it can be difficult to open initially.
  3. Wear a cooling towel. I really do think they make a difference, and if nothing else, it is something that can wipe the sweat away.
  4. Bring more water than you think you’ll drink. Because that cooling towel can dry out really quickly — you can rewet it on the run. You can also pour a little cold water over your head (if  you’ve frozen those water bottles). I’ve tried wetting my visors — they dry out in a flash.
  5. Use anti chafing gel on bug bites. That’s on bug bites that you already have. So they don’t get irritated when they get rubbed on the run.
Cooling towels help. Rewet with your cold water on the run!

Here’s a few other ways I’ve been changing up my running routine lately:

Insulated bag to keep all that water cold if you drive to your destination
  • I keep a PackIt bag (Amazon Affiliate link here) in my freezer year round. It does a great job of keeping cold things cold (the sides are actually gel packs — no need to add any. I see they now have zip closures — that’s awesome. Mine does not, but it still does a great job. As you can see, I can fit a 21 oz water bottle in there.
  • Usually I like to drink Nuun before and after my runs (not during; I don’t like sweet things on the run). I have to get out so early that I just don’t have time to drink that much. I’ve switched to electrolyte capsules instead.
  • I used to have a fairly long, slow pre run routine when it’s cold (it might just be a form of procrastination). I would do PT exercises, Yoga if I had the time, foam roll, and then a dynamic warmup. Now it’s foam rolling and a 5-10 minute dynamic warmup (depending on how early I started). Those two are the things I think are most important before a run.
  • This isn’t a change; I just thought I’d mention it. I put calendula ointment on the bottom of my big toe and my heels before I put on my socks. It helps the skin stay moist and provides a friction barrier. Often in the Summer the bottom of my big toe would dry out so much that the skin would begin to peel!

What are your Summer running hacks?

Is your pre run routine different in the Summer than it is in the Winter?

Are you enjoying hot runs lately?

GWY Yoga Wrist Warmup

ICYMI: It’s a great idea to warm up those wrists before tackling table top, down dog, and planks. This short video is also a great midday (or anytime) stretch if you’re stuck at a desk — even at home! Especially if you do a lot of typing.  Practice with me in this short video here.

It’s all about that base: Runfessions May 2019

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I’m joining Marcia @ Marcia’s Healthy Slice and sort of bearing my soul at the Runfessional. Don’t know what I’m talking about? We get together and share all those little things that only runners understand (or care about).

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Could Mother Nature get the memo it’s Spring already?

I runfess . . .
The weather in May, for the most part, was a real buzzkill. Rain, rain, go away! Then of course, as usual, it decides to bring in Spring/Summer right before the Freihofers Run for Women (but just here & there). This year doesn’t look too bad; typically it’s a hot race. A couple of days ago they put back in the chance of rain. I’d prefer it to be dry, but I already had yet more practice running in the rain this week.

I runfess . . .
This was my second month of simply rebuilding my base after illness. I’m generally healthy, though, and I bounced back fairly quickly from a nasty stomach bug. Life is good.

I runfess . . .
I thought I would be racing at some point in May. Between mentoring for Freihofers, illness, and the almost incessant rain, it just didn’t happen. This 5k will only be my second race of 2019 — or what I consider a “real” race (our supported runs/races in the Winter don’t count in my mind).

No big deal, as I tell people all the time, running will always be there when you’re ready for it.

I runfess . . .
Speaking of running always being there, sometimes I wonder why I am still so committed to running even though I have no grand plans at present. Oh yeah, because I want it to be there when I’m ready and I’d rather not rebuild from the beginning. And because I still have roughly 30 states to run half marathons in!

Still getting out there and seeing what’s growing on the run

I runfess . . .
For now I am content with my shorter runs. Especially during summer (whenever that arrives), it’s nice to take a little break.

What season is your favorite to train hard?

Racing a lot or barely racing?

Why do you run if you don’t race?

What do you have to runfess from May? Come join us

Runfessions

I am also linking up with:

Summer running had me a blast . . .

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Or did I?

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Yes, I enjoyed the race, but the temperature . . . just look at my face!

There’s so much to love about summer running:

  • Longer days, making it easier to squeeze in early or late runs
  • Warmer temps, which means less clothes
  • The feeling of moving freely because of fewer layers
  • Sunshine!!!!
  • Clear trails — at least clear of snow and ice

So what do we have to complain about when it comes to summer running?

  • As much, if not more laundry — all those sweaty running clothes
  • Humidity that makes every run feel like a battle
  • Heat from all that sunshine beating down on you
  • Feeling like you’re running through an African Savannah because of overgrown grass
  • Slower paces because of the heat and humidity
  • Stinging eyes from all that sweat
  • Frizzy (frightening) hair
  • Heat cramps
  • BUGS! Gnats may not bite, but they still drive me insane

So what’s a runner to do?
Accept the things we cannot change: the heat, the humidity, the bugs (anyone know a non-DEET spray that actually works?). Remember that all too soon trails will be buried under snow and ice and we’ll be buried under a gazillion layers again.

Enjoy those unicorn runs when it’s the right temperature and low humidity. Remember all those o’dark thirty runs and enjoy the extra light. Adjust your expectations and accept that you’ll probably run slower (but faster in the Fall). Explore new places to run. Try a new type of cross training (kayaking, anyone?). Jump in a pool after your run (oh, how I wish I had that option!).

 

 

Tor-box

This week I am also joining up with Running on Happy, Suzlyfe, Crazy Running Girl, and Coach Debbie Runs each week for the Coaches’ Corner linkup

coachescornerTalk to me:

Do you love to hate summer running?

Or do you just love running in the summer?

Which season do you think creates the most laundry?

 

5 Reasons to love summer running

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It happens every year: we spend all winter complaining about the elements, only to turn around and complain about the heat in summer. I won’t lie, running in the heat is not my favorite. Give me a nice 50ish degrees for race morning and I’m a happy camper.

There’s no denying, though, that there are some good things that come out of running in the heat.

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Today I am joining up with the  Friday Five 2.0  from Fairytales & Fitness and Rachel @ Running on Happy and share reasons to get off the treadmill and out into the heat.

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Best Damn Race New Orleans was a sweatfest — but a PR — it taught me I can run well in the heat

It teaches you you can do hard things
You never know what race day will hand you. I have trained through cool spring weather only to be handed a scorching day on race day. A soggy race? Good reason to get out there and run in the rain — even if you don’t like rain.

Of course it feels dang hard to run when it’s warmer. When you do it anyway, you realize that it’s never as bad as you think it will be (well, almost). And it prepares you — mentally and physically — for all sorts of hard racing conditions.

It’s easier to fit in runs
It’s light when you get up and after you get home from work. It’s much easier to get out the door for those early morning runs or run in the evening — the sunrises and sunsets you’ll see are just an added bonus.

Maybe you’ll even run faster in the evening because you don’t want to run in the dark!

It’s easier to dress for a hot run than a cold one
I’m not saying that dressing for a hot run is necessarily easy — do you join the sports bra brigade or not (personally, I don’t). Continue to wear compression socks/sleeves (again, no thank you in the summer). Which running clothes will make you chafe?

It really feels good to be able to run without all the layers that colder weather requires. My biggest dilemmas are always where to stuff everything and how to bring water on the run — you’ll definitely need more water as the mercury rises.

I love running in just a tank and a skirt, though. I feel like I can move, even if the weather makes me move like a sloth.

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Still looking for some clear trails — but at least there’s no snow & ice!

I can hit up the trails
It doesn’t take long once the first snow hits before trails around here are not runnable — unless you’d like to do your long runs in yaktrax or put screws in your running shoes. Up here in the northeast we’re usually very limited in where we can run during the winter.

Some people can run the same place over and over and never get bored. And while I admit that I log an awful lot of miles in my neighborhood, I definitely do get bored with it.

I’m still working on finding trails that are close to me that are actually runnable, but I like mixing it up and trying to keep some trail running in my rotation — while I can.

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Was it last year’s summer running that led to my surprising PR in FL?

Faster fall racing
Running in the heat also has physiological impacts, like:

  • Improves the ability to control your temperature
  • Improves sweating (d’oh!)
  • Allows heart to pump out more blood

You can read this article for more information on how running in the heat can benefit your body. I am not a medical professional or coach, remember. The gist of it is that running in the heat may make you faster in the cooler weather.

I can tell you from experience that many of my fall half marathons have been PRs. Not all, for sure, but I am often pleasantly surprised after working hard all summer.

So let me know in the comments:

Do you believe that running in the summer heat will help you in fall races?

What’s your number one reason to get outside when it’s hot out?