I Don’t Think Summer And I Can Be Friends


Course and splits, notice the drop off in time after I hit double digits. The 40 minute one resulted from me failing to turn off my gps while getting water from a local.

When I first started running a little over two years ago I started out slow.  In those early days, heck even last year, my mileage never topped more than two or three miles at a time and a long run hovered in the lower single digits.  The shortness of these runs rarely exposed me to the sweltering heat and humidity of the south.  This year I ramped  up my run training progra with an increase in weekly mileage resulting in longer weekly and weekend runs.  The weekend run is usually my long run and has been hovering in the ten to twenty mile range at a very slow and deliberate pace.  Running these distances in the cold of winter and the chilly thaw of spring has had its challenges, but they were easily resolved with a good choice of clothing and a carefullness to my step.  The last couple of weeks summer has reared its head and has knocked me on my ass in two long runs… thus I am sure me and summer will not be friends.

A couple of weeks ago on my weekly long run the temperatures were nearing upper 70s.  I was unprepared and eneded up not hydrating enough, eating properly and I did not cover my skin well (read here for more information).  A week later I managed to overcome the stupid mistakes I made and all felt like it would all work out.  This weekend the temperatures and humidity increased into the high 80s providing an unbearably hot and muggy day for a run.  I woke up and go out the door by eleven, figuring eighteen miles would be doable.  Since I knew I would be out for a while I packed my back pack with snacks and two extra 20 oz water bottles besides the one I carried when running as well as plenty of Nuun and Gu electrolyte tablets and of course sunscreen.  I felt I was ready to tackle the day and I set out on my run.  I chose a different course than usual, leading to a little bit of worry about finding water sources, but I knew I would figure it out.  Of course I was carrying a bit of water with me and felt I was confidently prepared.

PacingFor the first eight miles things went pretty smoothly. I slowed my pace down a little bit and just enjoyed the rhythm of my run/walk pattern of running.  I noticed as an hour or two went by I was starting to run out of water and the day was getting hotter and more humid.  Shortly I ran into a local farmer willing to refill my water bottles (its the 40 minute mile on the above mile break down).  I plopped electrolyte mix into the current bottle and moved on.  I felt my fueling strategy was working wonderfully and I was having no problems moving into the double digits of my run.

As I entered the double digits of my run I felt pretty good.  I was controlling my hydration intake and felt good about my electrolyte supplementation.  As I ran I moved into the hottest part of the day and suddenly everything went down hill.  My sweat increased drastically and I started running through the water/electrolyte mix really fast to meet my increased thirst.  Even worse I could see my urine getting darker in color and I got a little worried.  In the end I found I just could not drink water/electrolytes fast enough and what lasted two hours before now only lasted less than and hour.  As I neared the thirteen mile mark I decided it was time to pull the plug and call the run, I was getting too dehydrated and I was at a point where nothing I did was providing any relief to help my hydration.  I texted the wife and slowly walked a mile to our rendezvous point.  My urine was almost a thick dark liquid by this point and I was caked in layers of salt.

ElevationThis run was frustrating, I did everything in my power to control my energy and hydration and I still succumbed to the heat and humidity of the day. Now that my long runs are in the double digits, multiple hour range this is a summer time reality I am going to have to come to terms with.  At this point I think the best thing I can do moving forward is twofold focus on the routes that guarantees I will have water within seven to eight miles and go out earlier in the day before the heat builds up.  The increase in mileage, especially the long run is proving challenging.  Just a few months ago I was able to finish a run of twenty miles while this run got yanked at 14 miles.  I know the effects of heat and humidity will definitely prove my greatest challenge moving forward with my late season plans of running a 50k in November.  For a fleeting moment I felt defeated and unsure of my ability to run and push myself to new distances… for a second this lasted but I pushed  it away and started to focus my resolve on continuing to harden myself to summers blistering embrace.  I know I can push myself further and I will be ready when November rolls around.  Right now I know though that me and summer just can’t be friends.. at least til we work out a few issues.

Til next time.




  1. When I go for my long summer runs on the weekend I normally wake up at 4am and hit the road by 4:30. That is really the only way I have managed to beat the Texas heat and humidity in the summer.

  2. I grew up in Texas and can relate to the summer heat and humidity. I totally agree and know now that early morning is going to be the way forward for me and my long runs.

  3. I agree with the early morning running tip and I’d add that it was the 40 minute mile that hurt you. On the bike a stop that long is merely “detrimental”, running, forget about it. Heck brother, I can’t stop for more than 40 seconds and hope to get back to form. I know you’re used to the whole walk/run thing, but 40 minutes is too much. The dehydration thing also surprised me with as much water as you were drinking. Three water bottles would last me 30 miles (though I’d be willing to bet that’s a size thing). In the end, you did right by pulling the plug. Too many things going wrong there. Better to run another day than risk cooking yourself.

    1. Good point, definitely too long of a stop, I think I was actually having issues before and in my head the stop was part of me fighting myself. It scared me how fast the water went, it was just super humid out as it was threatening to storm all day. We live and learn. Thanks brother.

      1. You bet man, and remember this one other HUGELY important factor: We have to acclimate to the heat. Cycling it takes a week, running it takes AT LEAST two. Take your time those first times getting into the really hot stuff.

        1. I am learning all the time, it’s part of growing into my body as an athlete. That’s the trick, learning to know how to interpret the body and be able to push for greatest benefit.

  4. I agree with the Texas folks. Living in south Louisiana, you need to allow your body time to get used to the heat and humidity, but starting as early as possible also helps. You may also want to find a route with some shade and pop a Clif shot Margarita Blok. It has sodium in it. Keep it low and slow for a while and hydrate enough during the week before your run or bike.

    1. I am trying to adapt, its not easy though. Guess this will make me stronger in the winter months!!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: