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The heat can’t be beat

In thinking about this post, I realized that in nearly four years of running I’ve drastically changed my routine three times. At the time, it seemed like an easy thing to do, but in hindsight I made a lot of sacrifices along the way. (Thus the reasoning for filing this under lessons learned.)

When I started running again, I was working the evening shift. Going to bed at 2 a.m. and getting up at 10 a.m. was pretty common. Initially, everything was fine. It was winter and I lived in an apartment complex that had decent treadmills. If the weather was bad or it was too cold, I simply ran on the treadmill. Once the summer hit, it was the same thing. I often stayed outside despite the heat but if it got too hot, inside I went. At that time, I was just so focused on losing weight, that I didn’t care how hot it was. When I moved to my house in 2005, my routine got a bit wack and that’s when I cut back on running a bit and gained some weight back. Eventually I adjusted and had a similar routine to before … only that my running had to be completely outdoors. My house is a bit older and just isn’t treadmill friendly. In late 2005, my job changed and I got on the day shift. Problem was, it was nearly a half hour drive to work. (I know that’s not too bad for most people…)

That’s when I became an evening runner. Only problem was it was fall and was often dark by the time I got home. I managed though because at the time my runs were generally only 30 minutes. When last summer came and I trained for the 10 miler, I simply ran in the evenings. The humidity was horrendous, but I enjoyed running at that time so much more than the middle of the day. It made me realize how hot it really was the couple of summers before and it seemed I could manage the heat much easier. But then my job changed again in the fall. I continued my evening running up until about Christmas, when I began training for the Shamrock Half Marathon. That’s when I became a morning runner because, simply enough, I was tired of trying to beat the sunset home in the middle of winter. It wasn’t an easy transition, plus in the winter is was so freakin’ cold. But with the right layers and increased mileage, I managed.

And that all leads me to now and the usual easiness of getting up in the morning, going to the bathroom, drinking a glass of water, having a quick snack and going out for a run. It is no doubt the best way to beat the heat. I often read blogs or articles about people in the southwest getting up at crazy times to run and beat the sunrise. I don’t often beat the sunrise, but I do beat the upper 80s and low 90s that I used to encounter mid-day, and I don’t have to dodge the typical evening thunderstorms. I have sacrificed staying up later and sometimes feel like I’m scrambling to get ready for work, but it’s just so much better. It helps get the day started and it’s nice to get off work and know that my workout for the day has already came and went.

At the same time I like running in the mornings, I wish I had a treadmill. In late spring and early fall, nothing beats running outside. But in mid-winter and occasionally in the summer, having the option of a treadmill would be great a couple of times a week. For those of you who can’t get up in the morning to run, I’m sure you wish the same if you have access to one.

I wish I had more answers or advice to beat the heat – I stay very hydrated throughout the day and usually wake up feeling ready to roll. After a workout, I have found that frozen grapes help cool me down, as does a nice mix of a sports drink and water. But actually beating the heat, I don’t think it can be done.
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