Good morning! I kind of have to share my current view as I sit here and type this post.
Right now I am beachside in warm and sunny Aruba, a welcome change despite our mild winter. We are down here to celebrate my brother’s wedding later this week.
This also brings up a topic that I have been working with a few clients on recently. Many of us live in colder areas during the winter. As runners typically do, we look for races around our vacations, or we schedule vacations around races. This often leads to warm destination races this time of year. While they are fun, they often present some interesting challenges.
A few weeks ago many athletes participated in a Disney race. Who doesn’t love escaping to Florida and running through one of the most magical places ever?! Many of these runners were disappointed by their performances and some were discouraged.
We often forget how difficult it can be to run in warmer weather, and in my opinion humidity is the one factor that brings a runner down like no other. You can’t control it and quite frankly, it controls you. Along with poor fueling and dehydration, humidity is one factor that can truly destroy a race.
As we are currently training for a few marathons, we have been doing our runs down here and absolutely enjoying wearing shorts and tanks. But the warm weather hits us winter runners in a few different ways. Saturday I had to run 14 miles and by the end I was in pretty rough condition. If you follow me on Instagram you know that I referred to it as a total battle of wills between my mind and my body. My body won that battle!
We get accustomed to the cold and don’t handle the heat as well as we did a few months ago. Unlike summer running, you don’t get the opportunity to ease into the heat when you plop yourself in Florida or Aruba. You land, you run, and you sweat! It takes a toll on your body. You typically need a few weeks to allow your body to adjust.
I absolutely recommend finding fun races and destinations to go run through. But do keep in mind that your body might not respond as it normally has been in training. If you are looking to PR or qualify for Boston, you might find this type of strategy to be discouraging. If you have the luxury of arriving a few weeks before the race to acclimate that is great (and I am totally jealous). But do know that heat and humidity can be oppressive for runners.
Make sure you hydrate and fuel properly. Drink plenty of liquids in the days and weeks leading up to your race and consider eating something salty the night before to help you retain some water.
Allow yourself to scale it back a bit if you find yourself struggling. Many of us seasoned athletes get a tad competitive and won’t back down when our bodies ask for a break. With heat and humidity this can lead to dangerous situations with dehydration or even heat stroke. If you need to stop, that is okay.
Most importantly, have fun and enjoy the sunshine!
Where is your favorite warm weather running destination?