Session 107: The Dog Days

Why you should manage your expectations in the summer to benefit you in the fall

Are you trying to increase your mileage this summer but really struggling?  You are not alone.  This summer has been hitting early and hard with the heat and humidity.  There’s been maybe one day where I haven’t felt like a dried-up raisin when I finished a run.

What are we to do when our pace lags, we feel like we’re on a death march, and all we want to do is be anywhere but roasting on the side of a road?

Let me tell you what works and what doesn’t work when it comes to getting in your mileage while running in the greater New Jersey area (that’s you Philly, NY…).  

Your pace is going to suck, that’s just the bottom line. If you want to have an easy run, you need to run by perceived effort and throw your watch pace out the window.  Pace doesn’t really matter in the summer. A 10-minute mile in 40-degree weather (ideal racing conditions) is not the same as a 10-minute mile during the summer.

Cross-train when you don’t have to cross-train. This week, I jumped in the pool and did a pool workout to help supplement my running. I didn’t need to cross-train, but having that option is good. It reminds me how much I appreciate running and also allows me to get a bit of a break from the pounding while still getting my sweat on.

Running in the mid-day heat is stupid.  Unless you’re training for Badwater 100 (which you aren’t), you shouldn’t be running when the sun’s at its hottest.  Run early or run late.  You risk way too much when you run in full sun (besides just having a crappy run).

Avoid the sun when you can. Trails are a great way to switch up your running while still getting your runs in.  My favorite place to get good trails in? Wissahickon.

Learn this phrase: rate of perceived effort.  What does it mean?  If you were to sit on the couch for 3 hours, your perceived effort would be a zero or a one out of 10.  If you were to go for a 15-minute jog, it might be a 3 or a 4.  Perceived effort is what you feel your effort level is and running based on that.  If you know an easy run is supposed to be easy, you focus on your RPE instead of your pace. It’s really helpful to have an alternative to the watch so that you don’t keep your same pace while running 1.5 times as hard.  Instead, you keep the same effort level.

Do you still have questions about adjusting your runs to the heat?  Check out these posts:

Running with a heart rate monitor

Running in NJ summers

How to race in the heat

Friday’s Action Plan:

Accept that your summer running paces are going to be slower OR more difficult and adjust accordingly.

What’s Got My Attention:

 Article: You Can Watch Every Track and Field Event During the Tokyo Olympics Through These Streaming Platforms

Podcast: How to Trick Your Brain into Running Longer

Popular Articles on the Blog this Week:

Increasing your stride length

Strength training for runners

30 Days to get in running shape

Popular Newsletter Sessions:

Getting Back Into Training - July 2020

Finding my VO2 Max - October 2020

Quote of the Day:

You cannot train alone and expect to run a fast time. There is a formula: 100% of me is nothing compared to 1% of the whole team. And that's teamwork. That's what I value." -Eluid Kipchoge

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Marc is a middle school teacher and coach but also works with distance runners online. I help distance runners around the globe by providing support, writing customized training plans, and designing workouts to help them reach their racing goals. I write for my blog every Wednesday morning and newsletter every Friday morning.