Sunday, August 28, 2011

Fighting the Summer Doldrums

I don't know about you, but towards the end of August I begin to feel really weary of running in the heat.  I grow weary of training in it, and being forced to get up early every morning of the week to avoid running in the worst of it.  After 3-4 months it begins to wear me down a little. 

However, just as I am growing weary of fighting the constant heat, the smell of fall shows up in the air. Mornings start to cool off a little and the days seem a little less humid.  A breeze or two may even start to grace the days.  So as the summer doldrums begin to take hold, there is the hope of relief that helps me stay on track.  I tell myself that if I just hold on a little bit longer, it will get better.  Until then my daily run may simply have to be about getting it in and enjoying the time spent running, instead of constantly training, pushing, and timing.

That said, however, I'm planning to start a focused ultra training plan come September 1.  The summer heat will still be hanging on, of course, but fall will also be whispering in my ear, telling me of pleasant days to come.  So as I run each morning, I daydream about my training plan, about my strategy, about my pace.  What pace should I run in the beginning of a 50 mile ultra?  Is it possible to run negative splits?  Is it possible to be competitive?  Will the knee knob withstand the increase in mileage?  I plan time on the foam roller, time in the weight room, 2-a-day runs... and despite my sweat gleaming in the hot morning sun, I know that just as my mileage must increase, the temps will slowly begin to decrease.  And that, my friends, is Heaven on this earth to me.

This week I tried to get my mileage up.  Over the summer, my weekly mileage has been in the 30s, and so as I approach ultra training, I wanted to gradually let those numbers creep up a little.  This week I succeeded, but not without some complaining from the old knob (it has begun to have a life and personality of its own these days).

Here is what it looked like:
  • Sunday - 3 miles in the storm, weights in the gym, 4 miles on the treadmill, 2 miles home in the heat 
  • Monday - 4 afternoon miles with the Fayetteville No Boundaries group - 10:39 average pace
  • Tuesday - 8 morning miles (69 degrees, baby!) - 9:16 average pace, 1.5 afternoon miles to mark the Nobo course.
  • Wednesday - 8.1 morning miles with the girls - 9:52 average pace.  Weights after work.
  • Thursday - Off
  • Friday - 6 morning miles. 
  • Saturday - 8.4 morning miles - 8:50 average pace
Total miles - 45
Weight workouts - 2

This is the ideal week for pre-training readiness, except I would like to do weights 3 times a week.  I got lazy Friday and Saturday in that area.

In the remaining days before September, I'm going to do a little reading and thinking as I come up with my training plan and strategy.  I love this part.  There is nothing like having a goal race and formulating a training plan to help fight those summer doldrums.


  1. Jane, I also noticed the wonderful but small dip in temperatures this week here in AL! What a difference! I was so used to being drenched in sweat when my workout was over. I am also really looking forward to the cooler weather. And I'm impressed that you hit 45 miles this week, though I think you do 60 sometimes in your 50 miler training?

  2. I can't wait for the cooler weather, too, and it will be fun to follow along to see what it takes to run an ultra here on your blog!