My sister and niece are training for their first half marathon in the spring (the Disney Princess Half). They aren’t runners, and are just starting a running program, so this is new to them. They will do a run/walk or walk/run for the half, but the Princess is such a fun race, that I know it will be the start of many more for them.
They are going through some of the angst that all new runners face, but the one that is the most serious is one that we deal with at whatever stage we are in our fitness journey. Learning to deal with the heat. I’ve had a couple of conversations with both of them as they work out the kinks of their training plans, and a sinister truth was brought home to me. Getting old really stinks sometimes. As I’ve talked with my 20 something (or are you 30, Skye?) niece, my advice is very different than it is for my somewhat older sister. She’s older than me & I’m 50, so you can figure that out. Starting a training program in the heat of a Mississippi summer takes a certain kind of moxie. Or insanity. Both of which my family has in spades.
Learning to listen to your body is not easy. The abuse a 20 something body can take differs wildly from the abuse a 50 something body can take. I can tell a difference in the way I feel after a really bad run in the heat (which I had this past Sunday) from how I felt after a bad training run even in my forties. I’m affected for days, whereas before I could shake it off within hours. So, I listen. My body told me to take a few days off this week after the relatively short long run I did this weekend in the soup that passed for air. It was a tough one for me, I’m developing a new eating plan (more info on that later), and it’s still in the early phases, so I haven’t worked out all the kinks yet.
My point here is very simple. It’s hot. If you live anywhere in the south, it’s really hot. And, steamy to boot. Dial back your training accordingly. Decide what your true goals for running are. Not short term goals, like a race or weight loss, but a life plan. Mine is pretty straightforward. I run for good health, for sanity, for enjoyment, for stress management. I can accomplish all that with a dialed back training plan for the summer. June’s runs were mostly about enjoying new places. July’s runs are about slowly, slowly rebuilding my base so that come fall, I can kick it into high gear as I prepare for my late November half.
Be smart, train smart. Don’t do something to yourself this summer that will cause you to be unable or unwilling to advance your goals when the weather cools. And, it will cool. The seasons are pretty predictable. We have fall every year around here. We don’t always have winter, but we will have a fall.