Tag Archives: Running

7 Tips for Running in Heat and Humidity

Tips for running in heat and humidity

I may not be running right now, but I’ve heard quite a few comments from my running friends about the heat and humidity already. Doesn’t anyone remember the winter we just had? I know it was a long, cold winter and we aren’t used to it, but c’mon on! It’s only May and we are complaining about it being too warm? Sorry friends, it’s only going to get warmer from here. Let’s rejoice that we can wear less clothes and actually sweat. Soak it in and ring out that shirt! We’ll be complaining about the cold before we know it.

I do my best racing in cool weather. But regular running and training? I love summer. I don’t have to bundle up from head to toe in a million layers. I don’t have to worry about slipping on the ice. I can run at zero dark thirty and it looks like it’s the middle of the day.

But there’s no doubt, summer running is hard. It can make it feel like you need gills rather than lungs on even your easy paced runs. The warmer the weather, the harder your body has to work to keep you cool. Heart rates are higher and breathing is more rapid at your normal running pace. As your body heats up, blood is directed to the skin, to cool you off through sweating. This means less blood is available to transport oxygen to your muscles, making what usually is an easy effort, way harder.

So do you have to retreat to the climate controlled room with a treadmill once the hazy, hot and humid weather is here?  Absolutely not (unless that’s your thing).

Here are 7 tips for running in the heat and humidity to keep you cool all summer long.

1. Run early. Morning temperatures are usually the coolest during the summer. It also will give you a break from the strongest hours of sunlight. It’s also the best time to see a hazy sunrise. You know I love my sunrises!

2. Less is best. Wear as little clothing as legally possible. Also stick to light colored, loose, wicking material clothing. Now is not the time for wearing all black or wearing cotton. Please, for the love of your skin, no cotton.

3. Wear a hat or visor. This will not only protect your skin from the sun, but it will also  help to keep your face cool. Soaking the hat or visor in cold water before heading out the door can help to lower body temp and keep you cooler.

4. Slow down. Run for time and effort rather than distance and pace.

sprinkler run | happyfitmama.comIf all else fails, run through the sprinklers!

5. Start slow. A warm up prior to a run should always be done, but even more so when the temperatures are high. You want to gradually increase your heart rate rather than starting out too fast.

6. Hit the trails. When the temperatures rise, asphalt and concrete absorb heat and radiate it back into your face. Trail running usually offers shade from trees. It also forces you to slow down. Bonus if the trail has the perfect place to jump in a lake or river along the way.

7. Drink up. If you are running more than 75-90 minutes, carry a hand held water bottle or a hydration pack with you. Or stash water bottles along your intended route ahead of time if you don’t like carrying anything in your hands. Or plan your route along accessible drinking fountains.

What do you consider “hot” weather running?

What are your tips for running in the heat and humidity?

14 Things NOT to Say to an Injured Runner

things not to say to an injured runner  happyfitmama.com

Since I’m back on the injured list again, I’ve been receiving all sorts of “advice” from well meaning friends, family and random strangers. Everyone seems to be an expert when it comes to injuries. To the injured runner, it’s like finger nails on a chalkboard. I just want to scream sometimes with certain comments. There is just one thing on the runners brain – I just want to run!

Next time you are injured or come across some poor runner who is, think twice about what words of sympathy or wisdom are said. The runner is probably already very crabby from not being able to run.You definitely don’t want to make them even more angry!

There are just some things you should definitely NOT say to an injured runner.

“You should do yoga!” If you know me, you know I love yoga. But is it a substitute for running? Absolutely not.

“You should swim/bike/elliptical!” The cure for every running injury, right?

“I just had the best long run. I felt like I could run forever!” Thank you for digging the knife in my heart just a little deeper.

“Have you tried rest, ice, compression and elevation? Or stretching? Taking anti-inflammatories?” Huh. Never thought of any of those.

“Weren’t you just injured? Thanks for remembering that.

“You should really focus on strengthening your upper body now.” Because that’s really going to help my lower body injury?

“That happened to my friend/sister/neighbor. She never ran again.” If you are just looking for something to say, this is not it.

“Why don’t you find another sport?” Why don’t you find another friend?

“You needed a rest anyway.” A rest from you talking so much.

“Have you gained lots of weight from not running?” I WAS feeling good about myself today. I knew I shouldn’t have worn these pants today!

“When you run that far, you are always going to be hurt.” Is that a Golden Rule?

“It’s only running.” Said someone who obviously is NOT a runner.

“There’s always next year to run that race.” And that makes it magically all better?

“See? I told you running wasn’t good for you.” So is doing nothing. I’d rather run.

If you are injured now or in the future, it’s inevitable you will be given advice about how to get over the injury or what you should be doing until you can run again. Those kind souls really do mean well. I know everyone is just looking for something to say to make the runner feel better. But what’s the best thing to say to an injured runner?

“That totally sucks.”

I wrote a similar article for RunHaven earlier this year. A portion of it is used in this post.

What’s on your list of what NOT to say to an injured runner?

The Story of My Boston Marathon DNF

Boston Marathon Finish LIne | happyfitmama.com

By now, you all know that I got my first DNF during the Boston Marathon last week. Hands down one of the most horrible days of my life so far. I can look back at it now and actually laugh at how the events unfolded. This stuff seriously only happens to me!

So let’s start from the beginning. Grab some coffee and a snack. For having my race cut short, this is a very, very long post.

(Side note – this post is also very word heavy and picture light – my phone battery died early on that day).

Sarah and I decided to hire a car service to take us straight to Hopkinton from our houses in New Hampshire rather than making the trek into the city for the buses from the Common. We got a few more hours of sleep and didn’t have to worry about parking, etc. When the swanky black Lincoln pulled into my driveway and the driver opened my door for me as I wore my fanciest throw away clothes, I couldn’t help but laugh at how ridiculous it must have looked to my neighbors. Our driver was awesome. He kept telling us we were crazy and couldn’t understand why we would want to run 26.2 miles.

Since all the exits to Hopkinton were closed at 7 a.m., our driver had to drop us off right on I-495. Sarah and I could not stop laughing as we walked past the state police officers who directed us to take a right at the bottom of the exit to find the shuttles to the Athlete’s Village. We looked like refugees with nothing but the clothes on our back and a small bag of food. Of course, just at that time it started to downpour too.

Refugee runners | happyfitmama.com

We continued to walk along the empty street. It was very strange to see no cars or people except for military/police. We stopped at a Cumberland Foods gas station to use the bathroom. Never pass up an opportunity to NOT have to use a port-a-potty! There was only one car parked in the lot – a black SUV full of guys in camo – I think I saw one with FBI on his back.

The guy working the station was so nice to give us huge heavy duty trash bags to protect us from the rain. They were much better than our standard kitchen bags we had brought along. Again, we couldn’t stop laughing at the oddity of it all.

As we continued walking, we came upon a group of state cops. We asked where the shuttle was. The guy looked at us like we were nuts – it was in the direction that we had just come from on the other side of the interstate. We should have taken a left rather than a right. We were 1/2 way to the Village so we just kept walking for about another 3/4 of a mile.

The Athlete’s Village was bumping. A huge tent, music, potties everywhere and just an excitement in the air. We found a spot to sit on our trash bags and just veg for a bit. Sarah didn’t have much time before her wave started. I tried to stay off my phone as much as possible. My battery had been draining really fast lately so I wanted to make sure I had enough for the whole race in case I needed it at the end (foreshadowing – I needed it way before then!).

athlete's village  Happyfitmama.com

Sarah’s wave was ready to go. After hugs and good lucks, she was gone and I was alone with my nerves as I people watched. (She went on to have a GREAT race and finish in 3:35). Thankfully, Laura, Jill and Rachel were on the way from the Commons so I’d have company soon. Laura and I had agreed to run with each the day before. She didn’t have any time expectations and wanted to help me try to achieve my goals. I was excited to not only have someone to run with, but a chance to hang out with Laura and just talk IRL.

The whole time in the Village, it wasn’t raining at all. The wind had picked up, but I was bundled up to the max and felt comfy. The girls finally arrived and we made last minute stops at the potties. Before I knew it, we were walking the 1/2 mile to the starting line. I finally ditched most of my throw away clothes but at the last minute kept on a long sleeve 1/2 zip over my tank. Best move ever especially now knowing what was going to happen 8 miles down the road.

Boston-waiting-to-start happyfitmama.com

I had no idea where the starting line was until the crowd started moving forward faster and eventually I crossed over. I guess it was time to start running! And that also meant, bring on the rain. I was warned it was going to be packed, but it was REALLY packed. The first 3 miles were very congested. I really didn’t want to waste energy weaving around runners, but there were so many different paces (including walkers) that it was hard not to. I tried to stay to the left and was able to find a little bit of a clearer path that way, although I did encounter some elbows and just generally running into people. I kept laughing each time I’d glance to see if Laura was still around. She was hard to miss in her bright orange poncho – she was like a running flame!

By mile 3, things had cleared out a bit and we were able to settle in. Things were going along great. The crowds were fantastic. People cooking out and the smell of beer was quite strong in spots. Out of nowhere, around mile 6, I got a sharp, intense, shooting pain in my left ankle that radiated down into my arch and heel. I started to hobble. And panic. I told Laura and we stopped so I could walk and stretch it out. That did nothing. It just hurt – a lot. I couldn’t get up on my toes and I couldn’t put weight on my heel. I tried to land with my foot flat, but even that was like having a knife dig into my arch. The panic intensified with each step. WTF? Why now? It’s so early in the race. And why isn’t it going away? My thoughts swirled – I can do this. It will go away. You can run/walk if needed. But the more I hobbled, the more I realized the truth. I couldn’t continue this hobble for 18 miles. If I did, I’d either be really, really hurt later or be hypothermic.

We both spotted a med tent at mile 8. At this point, we both knew what I needed to do although I couldn’t really voice it. To drop out of a race in front of spectators cheering in shitty conditions, runners persevering through the tough day, and volunteers sticking it out, was one of the more miserable moments of my running life. I felt (feel) like such a failure.

I held it together until the second that I gave Laura a hug and told her to run on without me. As soon as the EMT took my arm, I broke down. I became a blubbering, freezing cold mess. I guess that’s the look of realizing a huge dream wasn’t going to happen and my heart being completely pulverized into a thousand little pieces.

SO how do you find your family when you are in a point to point race and are clueless of what town you are even in? Here’s where the real fun began…

From mile 8, four other DNFers besides me were loaded into a van that then brought us to a big school bus about a mile away. On that bus there was at least an additional 20 or more DNFers. Our final destination was the big med tent at the finish line. Enroute I got one frantic text out to Ron that I was a DNF. My whole family was at the aquarium still since it would have been hours before I would have been close to mile 25 where they were hoping to spectate. We nailed down a meeting place at the Hynes Convention T before my phone battery died.

Once we got to the finish line, we were given another mylar blanket and basically told “See ya!” if you didn’t need any further treatment. A volunteer told me to walk around the tent to get to Boylston St. and then I could just walk up to my destination. One little problem – I was at the finish line and there was no entry at that point. Somehow I managed to end up in the VIP finish line area and a woman handing out medals assumed I had was one of them. She yelled congratulations! as I hobbled my way towards her. She tried placing a finishers medal around my neck. I mumbled that I didn’t finish and started taking the medal off as I started to cry (again). She refused to take it back and I refused to keep it. In the end, she won. I just wanted to get away from all of it. So now I have a medal that I didn’t earn. I hate that I have it. I want to send it back.

It took forever to get to our meeting spot. There were so many road closures. My foot was throbbing. I was limping. So many people who were congratulating me on my finish that I stopped even saying anything or acknowledging it. I know they were just being nice, but it was like getting kicked in the stomach every single time. I wanted to ditch the mylar blanket so people would just leave me alone, but it was the only semi-warm thing I had. I borrowed random strangers phones to try to get in touch with Ron again.

I finally made it to our meeting spot and stood against the wall, waiting. And waiting. And having more people congratulate me. It was agony. After about a 1/2 hour of waiting, I made friends with three Mass Transit Officers. They got me a chair, water and tried to keep me blocked from the wind so I could stay a little warmer. I used one of their phones to call Ron two more times. They had got turned around on the T and ended up having to walk to find me.

When they finally showed up, I burst into tears. I just wanted to go home, take a warm shower and go to bed.

Everything happens for a reason. Do you know how many times I’ve been told this in the past 9 days? Whatever the reason is, I hope it’s a damn good one. I’m still pissed. I’m still upset. But it’s getting better. That’s the beauty of time. It heals. But I’ll never forget the events of my first DNF and my first Boston Marathon.

I may never know why this happened.

What I do know is that I am not done running marathons.

What I do know is that I am most definitely not done with Boston.

I will run across that iconic finish line rather than posing for a picture.