Running Reflections: Summer 2010

We got our first frost over the weekend, which means that Fall running is here for sure and Summer running has been put to bed for a few months.  This summer taught me a lot about myself, running, and motivation.

This was my first summer experiencing distance running in the heat and having to deal with hydration during running.  In 2009, May I ran my first half.  I got injured during the race, straining my right hamstring.  I was off running completely for about six weeks and when I was able to start running again, I was only allowed to run two miles to start.

I had to do that for several weeks.  When I was done with physical therapy, I was given instructions that I had to build my mileage back up super slowly.  As in, at a turtle like pace.  It took me a very long time, about a year, to get my hamstring back in shape and get my miles back up to half range.

That’s a long time, folks.

This means that last summer, I was running short distances.  I didn’t really have to worry about distance running in the heat nor did I have to worry much about hydrating during a run.

This summer was my first experience doing all of those things.  I learned a lot.

First up, Hydration:

Early summer, I was able to get away with stashing a water bottle on my driveway.  I would swing by every so often to grab a drink and then would go on about my business.  This was perfect and I was able to stay hydrated that way.

Mid to late summer?  That was no longer good enough, especially on my Sunday Long Runs.  I had to kick it up a bit and bust out the Camelbak for my long runs.  I’m not going to lie, this sucked.  I am a minimalist when it comes to running which means I don’t like carrying a lot of crap around with me.  Camelbak is heavy, it slows me down, and the sloshing water sound can drive me batty.

BUT it’s necessary.  I’m not going to run 10+ miles in mid-July without it.  With having water with me, I can take breaks when I need it to sip some water.

And that’s another thing that popped up, walking breaks for water.  When I run I don’t stop, not for any special reason other than I don’t like to.  In the summer I have to stop to take water breaks.  I can’t drink and run at the same time, I’m not that coordinated or determined.

I also found that hydrating the day before was KEY. Actually fueling up the day before a long run is important for me but that’s another post at another time.  In the summer, water is very important.  I was drinking so much water to stay hydrated that I was bloated and my pants were very tight. :o  I thought I was gaining weight there for a while and then I realized that no, it was just me and my water intake.

You know how they tell you to drink lots of water to get rid of bloating? Yeah, it works the exact opposite for me, it causes extreme bloating.  However there’s nothing I can do about that.  I have to stay hydrated in the summer or else I can run into trouble while working out.

Keeping my miles up during the summer:

Once I ran my first half for 2010, in May, I was determined to keep my miles up.  I love distance running and I wanted to be able to run the Columbus Half in October.

After my half, the majority of my long runs this summer were 10 and up. I loved it.  I loved the satisfaction of getting in a killer long run during the week.

I loved it for about the first 3/4 of the summer.

By the end of August and definitely in September, I was done.  I didn’t admit this to anyone else and just barely admitted it to myself.  I was ready to head into fall and winter with reduced mileage.  I want to expand on this more in another post because I think it’s important, at least enough for me to want to have record of it for myself. :p

Running distances takes time.  I’m not speedy, it’s a good day if I can run my long run with a 10min pace.  Still that means my 12 mile runs take me at least 2 hours.  Add in walking the dog, showering, and then eating a small breakfast and my Sunday morning is gone.  GONE.

I like having a bit of time in the morning to myself.  That’s my alone time to have some coffee, snug with Rocks, and get some work done.  Sunday mornings with a 10+ run, that’s not happening.  No relaxing Sunday morning for me.

At first? Not a big deal but after a couple months it became a very big deal.  I really missed having a little morning to myself.

Motivation:

I was getting wornout and tired. My motivation for running was starting to dissolve at a rapid pace.  I started choosing sleeping in and short runs over getting up early to start the day and complete a longer run.

I even did that a few times for my Sunday Long Runs.  There were a few Sundays where I didn’t run at all.

This is basically unheard of.

To me that was a clear sign that something was going on.  This biggest sign?  I had no excitement to run the Columbus Half.  Basically it was a monkey on my back and I really just wanted it over with.

Burnout?  Maybe.

No, definitely.

This summer taught me that:

  • Hydration is important even though it really irritates me.
  • Distance running is awesome but even for me, it can get old after a while.
  • My motivation for running goes down the tubes when I start to get tired and feel like I HAVE to do something.

What does this mean?  Hopefully next summer I won’t fall into the same trap.  I’ll mix things up.  I won’t always run a 10 miler or more on my Sunday Long Runs.  I’ll do some shorter ones here and there.  Maybe I’ll do speed-work instead.

I’ll embrace my water bloaty belly.

Maybe the Camelbak and I will make peace. (Yeah right.)

If you run, how did your summer running go? How do you handle hydrating in the summer and keeping cool?

an get old

7 thoughts on “Running Reflections: Summer 2010

  1. I tend to only run outside in cooler weather so I hadn’t played around enough with hydrating properly. I really paid for it in what was, for me, the warm and muggy weather of Long Beach.

    Everyone else was talking about how perfect it was. And I had never run in such humid weather. My goal for the next half is to have the whole hydration thing figured out!

  2. I have “re-acquainted” myself with running after dealing with a crappy knee for years and then FINALLY having ACL reconstruction surgery. It’s really exciting for me to be able to run again, but I’m a bit tentative about delving head-first into running. One thing that was good about not running was that I branched out a little and have learned to enjoy cycling as well.
    I’m certainly not about to give you advice, but it does sound like mixing up distances and maybe goals would help with running fatigue?

  3. Great post!!!! I found out that I despise running in the heat. I need to remember that come next year when I’m looking at races to run. I need to stick to Spring and Winter races.
    In order to avoid burnout I need a goal. If I’m just running to run I start to lose focus and motivation.

  4. Heidi says:

    I learned a lot about running this summer! This was my first summer as a distance runner. I much prefer cold weather running to summer, but it’s easier for me to find time to run in the summer. This summer I was training for the Columbus half, and it was my first distance race. I agree 100 percent with you about hydration. I used a hydration belt for my long runs.
    I also experienced some burnout the last month of training for the race. I think some of my burnout was from dealing with plantar fasciitis. I never knew when it was going to hurt, and I totally stressed out before my long runs worrying about whether or not I would be able to get my mileage in. For me, I know that incorporating cross training and weight training keeps me healthier and helps me avoid burnout. I did not do that this summer, but I will next time.

  5. Amen! I totally agree with you regarding your three points. I didn’t start running with water and Clif Shots until I started doing 13 milers. Stupid. I learned my lesson there – fuel and hydration are key. And mixing it up also helps. I’m definitely ready for my ‘off-season.’ Low mileage with lots of cross-training and yoga for me this winter!

  6. Running was hard this summer, like you said, because of the heat. I used a hydration belt and took it on every run, even the short ones. And I drank over 120 oz of water almost every day. It’s funny now – I drink so much less on runs of equal distance!

    The running did not go as well for me since I was (and still feel like I am) recovering from stress fractures. I am so happy it is finally cool. This is when I am really motivated to run, which is a bummer, since running season is kind of dwindling now.

    I am excited to hear how next summer goes for you!

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