Saturday morning I was up and on the road by about 9 am to run. My plan was to get out earlier, but I ended up being called out on Friday evening for a work situation, and didn’t get to bed until much later than I had hoped. I ate my normal pre-run breakfast, followed by my packet of salt to try to help avoid cramps on the run. While I wasn’t really down about my run, I knew it was likely to be tough- this is the hottest run I’d had since sometime in early fall (in the 60s with humidity above 50%), the sun was out without any clouds, and my allergies had been pretty bad that week (but the flowering trees are totally worth it!). Even with all that, I was excited to hit the road and run.

On my 7 miler last week my IT bands had flared up a tiny bit (I had to stop a few times at the end to stretch them out, which hasn’t happened in my training since 2013), so I had no idea what the run would look like. I had about 8.5 miles in my mind, and hoped I could hit that. I filled my handheld 16 ounce water bottle with nuun and brought half a packet of sports beans with me.

Given everything I mentioned above, I decided to not watch my pace during my run, but instead run based on effort. I know that mentally I can start falling apart when I can’t keep my pace where I want it to be (and I knew that today was not a day where my pace would be on point), so I thought I’d do better running based on how I felt.

Around mile 3 I wondered how I could ever make it 5 more miles- I was definitely feeling spent. Around mile 4 I hit some shade, and that definitely helped a bit. At mile 5.5 I popped in a building to get some cold water from the drinking fountain, and that definitely perked me up a it. Those last miles, while hot, felt much easier.

The funny thing is that my miles were about 1:15 slower than normal, but my effort felt more difficult than normal. If I had been watching my pace, I would’ve been pretty down on myself. Instead, I tried to take how I felt in stride, proud of myself that I was continuing to push myself as I could. I ended up going 8.85 miles instead of the 8.5 I had planned because I just wasn’t quite ready to stop running yet. Beyond the difficulty breathing due to allergies and needing to slow down due to the heat, my body felt great- and no IT band pain at all!

This weekend’s run was a great reminder as we head into summer- our pace generally has to change, and that’s perfectly fine. Running based on effort instead of numbers is an excellent way to combat the heat and humidity of summer!

Now it’s your turn to share! How does your running change in the summer? Any warm-weather running tips?

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