There’s no secret of how to go with the flow and adjust expectations, especially when it comes to running. But today I’m sharing a few tips to use during your summer marathon training cycle to make it a little more fun and a little less intimidating.
I woke up on Tuesday morning and had grand plans to run a time trial at the track. I had the time trial on my schedule about two weeks ago but life prevented me from completing the workout as prescribed. My coach and I discussed it and figured this week would be a good week to try again.
But sometimes all the motivation and planning in the world can’t create the perfect conditions for completing a pre-planned workout. As I set out to run my two warm-up miles and end up at the track, I realized my run might be a bit of a struggle. Cool early on, by the time I had a chance to run, it had warmed up considerably. I finally made it to the track and realized these weren’t the best conditions to measure my max effort. I decided I would try again another, cooler, day.
I don’t have much issue adjusting expectations and changing plans on the fly, especially when it comes to running. I realize sometimes things don’t go as planned and I roll with it. Having said that, I know most people aren’t like me — especially runners. We runners like to hit our paces and our distances with almost obsessive-compulsive accuracy.
There’s no secret of how to go with the flow and adjust expectations. So if you fall into the latter category (or even if you don’t), here are a few tips to use during your summer marathon training cycle.
Tips for a Successful Summer Marathon Training Cycle
1. Take into account the dew point, the heat, and the humidity when planning your runs.
There’s a fabulous article on Runners Connect on this topic. In a nutshell, running in heat/humidity is much harder than running when it’s just hot out. Check it out: https://runnersconnect.net/
2. Adjust your pace accordingly.
There are several online calculators to help you determine how much your pace should be, or will be, adjusted based on temperature and humidity. My own paces are about 20-30 seconds slower per mile than on days with ideal running conditions. Hence why I didn’t think it would be a good idea to attempt a time trial at the track. I knew my results would be incredibly inaccurate.
Try this calculator to adjust your paces on your next run:
3. Be sure to be well-hydrated before you head out and drink plenty of water during your workout. And don’t forget to rehydrate post-run!
Truly, hydration is one of the most important aspects of running in the summer heat. Don’t underestimate the power of taking in ample fluids. Running performance can suffer from being dehydrated by just 2% — and it’s not fun. About 90-120 minutes before heading out for a run on a hot day, aim for roughly 16 ounces of water. During your run, try to target 6-12 ounces of water every 20 minutes or so. If you’re running for longer than 60 minutes, you may want to consider the use of an electrolyte replacement. I use SOS Rehydrate and have for years. It’s delicious and easy to take with you on runs. And if you don’t want to fill your water bottle with it, just empty one packet into your mouth and chase it with plenty of water. Use code RACHEL18 for 20% off your purchase of SOS Rehydrate!
After your workout, rehydrate with an electrolyte replacement and/or straight water. A good rule of thumb to see how much fluid you’ve lost during your run is to weigh yourself before and after a particularly sweaty day. For every pound lost after the run, replenish with 16-24 ounces of fluid.
4. Save your hard runs for more runner-friendly weather.
Don’t be a hero on hot and humid days. Your coach, your friends, your Instagram feed — they won’t judge you! Save those hard, quality runs for days when you can actually accomplish the workout. Then you’ll meet your goal. If you try to tackle a hard run on a hot day, you could end up falling short of the goal of the workout. When that happens, you risk injury, mental anguish, and frustration. Save the hard runs for easier days.
5. And do your easy runs on warmer, more humid days.
Likewise, on those days when you can’t accomplish your harder workouts, run easy and free. Leave the watch at home, turn on some tunes, and just enjoy the run for what it is. Walk when you want (or need to), hydrate, and chillax.
6. Run by effort instead of by pace.
If there’s no way around doing your hard workouts on hot and humid days, adjust the workout and run by effort instead of pace. As I mentioned above, depending on conditions, you may have to adjust your pace 20-30 seconds slower than your usual pace. So if your coach has a tempo run on your training plan with a tempo pace of 9:15 pace, try aiming for 9:30-45 instead.
7. Run in the morning before conditions become too uncomfortable.
And of course, last but certainly not least, is time of day for summer marathon training. I enjoy running in the middle of the day, but sometimes it doesn’t like me as much! The best thing to do is keep an eye on the weather forecast and run when the conditions will be best. If running at 5:30 am is what needs to happen to avoid 90˚ heat, then so be it.
Summer (and winter!) running isn’t perfect. I’m a hot weather runner and sometimes it’s too much even for me. But by making a few adjustments and tweaks here and there, and keeping an open mind about how a run will go on any given day, your summer marathon training should go off without a hitch!
Looking for some fun workouts this summer? Check out my post Fun Running Workouts to Keep Things Interesting!
What time of day do you prefer to run?
Do you make adjustments to paces, or rearrange your workouts based on the weather?
This post contains an affiliate link.