Happy Monday! It was another fun week in the Fox household. We’re finishing up some home projects, starting on endless yard projects, and making sure we don’t get too bored out here :)!
Things are melting quickly and trails are opening up! I kind of forget how fun trail running can be and this winter was starting to convince me that running is more ‘hard’ than it is ‘fun’.
I often circle back to the same topics each season and long-time readers may have predicted that we have a talk about ‘warm weather running’ coming up :)! Although the recurring topics can feel repetitive, it feels like I still have to learn the same lessons each spring and have a slightly different list of things to focus on each year.
Hydrate: One of the ways we adapt to exercising in warmer weather is by improving our ability to shed heat (moving heat away from the core via the bloodstream → sweating → evaporative cooling). Sweating leads to fluid loss, which makes us less capable of cooling, delivering oxygen to working muscle, and digesting substrate if fueling during our runs! Replacing fluids becomes especially important when we sweat and will make hot runs feel more manageable! Interestingly, water by itself isn’t the best approach to rehydration. Water with sodium or even water with sugar is better absorbed. There are a million and one ‘expensive salts’ for sale out there, but even some table salt dissolved in water will help with better absorption/hydration.
External cooling practices: Western States tends to bring some attention to ways that runners cool off during longer races. However, those same practices can improve performance in cooler race conditions or are even practices worth implementing during training. Ice bandanas and putting ice in arm sleeves is one of the most widely used cooling strategies. Ice vests may be used by some at aid stations and even before hot races to start off feeling cool. Research shows that cooling the base of your feet and palms of your hands is a quick way to lower body temperature and putting cold water in hand held bottles or dipping your hands into cool water throughout a run can help to regulate body temp!
Being less concerned with specifics: Running becomes less efficient in the heat, especially as we adapt. If you notice that you’re running slower than you’re used to or running with a higher HR than you’re used to…that’s somewhat expected and don’t let it derail your training! It’s ok if things look a little more moderate as we adapt to training in warmer weather and just keep tabs on how your body feels/still stay on the safe side to prioritize consistent training vs. nailing one specific run and dealing with a setback :)!
Positive self-talk: This is a great time of the year to develop productive positive self-talk practices! I find that I can get pretty down on myself when feeling especially weak in the warmer weather. Here are some things that I focus on:
First, recognize negative self-talk - it happens more than we’d think for most of us. Things like…’why am I so slow?’/’why am I such a bad climber?’/etc…
Reframe these negative phrases with more actionable positive outlooks. A bad day doesn’t define our state of fitness and the whole purpose behind getting out is to improve in the long-term.
Find positive affirmations that work well when feeling ‘low’. Things like…’I can do hard things’/’I am a strong runner’/etc… Even reminding yourself that your running doesn’t define your worth and recognizing the effort you are pouting forth to improve goes a long way!
Focus on things we’re grateful for. This is harder said than done (at least in my experience), but objectively, I have it very very good. Reminding myself of these things when feeling low/weak/etc.. Can help to pull me out of a funk!
Judd L. got his BQ and set a marathon PR at the Jim Thorpe Marathon! Judd has put in a lot of quality marathon work these past months and I wasn’t too surprised to see such a strong race!
Dan C. ran 11hours at a local Backyard Ultra! These races always scare me as a coach as it seems that few make it out of the race with both a positive mindset and healthy body. However, Dan was able to accomplish both as well as a strong run!
Allie J. completed the OKC Marathon in the midst of a big move and hectic schedule more generally! Allie was looking for a novel challenge and confirmed her belief that road marathons are maybe…a bit more boring than trail offerings :)!
In the theme of marathons, Alex C. also ran a strong race at the Eugene Marathon! This is in the midst of some ramping up for bigger races ahead and he seems to be in a really great spot!