Mile Matters with J&A Racing
Every year about this time, I hear the same thing:
I hate running when it is so hot and humid.
July and August are the worst months to run.
Maybe that’s because you are doing it wrong.
As runners, we tend to believe that more is always better and we get caught up not wanting to change our routine. I confess, I fell into this same pattern and tried to stay in half marathon/marathon race shape 12 months a year. Not only will this increase your chance of physical injury, you my friend, are destined for mental burnout.
Let me give you a few tips on how to embrace July/August training, and I am confident you will come into the fall season healthy, fit and mentally ready to prepare to race.
Take 8-10 weeks to really get fit! Not just running fit, total body (and mind) fit. Give your legs a break from mileage and work on other aspects of fitness. Start a cross-training routine, work the core, bike or take spin classes, and focus on flexibility. All of these will actually help your running, and the time off from the constant pounding will leave you hungry come the fall. It wasn’t until I started doing triathlons in the summer that my half marathon/marathon times really started to drop. I think the overall fitness, the mental break from training and the eagerness to get back to what I love were all factors in the resulting faster run times, health and longevity.
Cut your weekly mileage, but pick up the intensity.
Part of the problem with Long Slow Distance (LSD) is it teaches us to run long and slow. Running long in heat/humidity will break you down both physically and mentally. Keep your long runs to 8-10 miles, but run them harder. I know it is not as much fun as running long and talking with your buddies, but it WILL make you faster. AND instead of dreading the long run during summer, you will anxiously await the return of building mileage.
Make the local track your friend.
Once a week get a group and go to back to school. Focus on 200’s (100 recovery) 400’s (200 recovery)& 800’s (400 recovery). 1st week, after warm up, run an all-out mile and remember the time. At the end of the 8-10 weeks do it again. You will be pleasantly surprised. Make sure you take a cooler or plenty of fluid. The more the merrier. It is amazing how much harder you can work with others around. All paces can do track w/outs together. Use good track etiquette (give inside lane to faster runners, recovery laps on outside lanes) and give lots on encouragement.
Jump in some local 5k’s and run hard.
You can support some really good local races, enjoy post-race camaraderie and get a great w/out at the same time. No pressure, just get more comfortable being uncomfortable.
**Most important tip**
Have fun!! We live in an incredibly beautiful area with so much to see and do. Go see and do it. Let yourself relax. If you miss a day from training, so be it. We run because we love it. July and August are awesome months. Embrace them. Sometimes just changing our routine or norm actually helps and makes us look forward to getting back on it.