31 May Summer Running in Austin
The following tips were provided by Al Cumming, Coach of The Ship of Fools, the Austin Runners Club Marathon/Half Marathon Training Program. The Austin Runners Club, founded in 1974, is a nonprofit, volunteer organization with members of all ages and running and walking abilities. The club is organized exclusively for charitable, health, and educational purposes. You can learn more about joining the ARC, its groups, and its runs here!
Everyone knows it gets hot, very hot, in Austin during the summer. Here are just some of the things you might want to think about:
- Acclimatization – Webster says this means to adjust or adapt to a new climate. Most experts indicate a 2 – 3 week period for a body to properly acclimate to summer heat. Increased external heat will cause an increase in body temperature. Dehydration is a threat. Even with an acclimated body, running performance will decline at temperatures of 70 degrees and above (hello Austin!). Ask your doctor about salt tablets. Know the symptoms of heat stress/exhaustion!
- Cross training – the summer is a perfect time to pick up a copy of the book Run Less, Run Faster. The PhD Exercise Physiologists advocate running just three times/week and cross-training two times/week. Give yourself a “summer break” and do your repeats in a pool or on a bike twice a week.
- Mental reparation – you’re not going to run any PR’s (Personal Records) in Austin’s summer heat. Some experts say to slow your pace by 1 – 2 min/mile. I think it’s more helpful to focus on keeping the proper running form. Don’t be concerned about pace, just keep thinking SMOOTH, SMOOTH!
- Join a group – there’s a lot of power in a group (like the Ship of Fools!) … and experiential knowledge. The group members will listen to your whining about the heat and someone may just give you a tip or two that will help you stay stronger and cooler. Conversing with others distracts you, if even only for moments, from the heat and makes the run “go by faster.” There’s nothing better than re-hydrating with friends after a tough summer run!
- Race up north … way up north – I remember when I came out of our hotel on June 17 in Duluth, MN, to run Grandma’s Marathon and the temperature was 35 degrees. Even when the temperature is in the 50s at a race up north, that is so much cooler than what we endure in July and August in Austin. If you’re running the “50 states,” now is the time to complete those northern races.
- Rotate shoes – too much water in the boats you’re wearing. Wicking socks get wet, shoes get wet and take a long time to dry out. Don’t start your run with wet shoes – give them a day to dry out and wear a 2nd DRY pair. Realize that with all the extra absorption of sweat that your shoes will break down quicker and you may not get 400 miles of wear out of each pair.
Run every chance you get!