Monday, September 5, 2016

Are We Setting Ourselves Up for Exhaustion?

This post was created in my head during mile 5.6 of a 6.2 mile run.  It was 92 degrees out and the humidity was like a gazillion.

 I went out that Friday determined to break out of my 5 mile rut.  I'm calling it the 5 mile rut because 5 miles had been my longest run ALL SUMMER until that point. I have loads of free time in the summer so why hadn't I taken the time to run further?  Exhaustion, that's why.  I will fully admit that I ended some 3 and 4 mile runs completely exhausted. I love the summer and I will never complain about the heat because in my opinion it is better than extreme cold, but yea, heat, humidity, and running do not mix.

I of course am not telling you anything that you don't know or haven't experienced yourself but on this run, a thought came to me.  Many of us are training now for fall half marathons.  Some of you are already up to 11 miles and your races isn't till November, Kudos to you folks!   When I was out on the trail running 6.2, I couldn't even imagine continuing to run 6 or 7 more miles.  In fact, I'm starting to feel burned out from summer running already and as you see I haven't even gone very far.

So my thought is this.....Are we burning ourselves out by running during the summer and ending completely exhausted from heat and humidity?  I feel like by the time the cooler weather comes around I wont feel like doing my longer runs. What if we concentrated on only strength training and running shorter distances would that prepare us enough to run our longer runs once it cools off?  I know most of you are thinking  If I did that, that would only give me a few weeks of long runs and I need more than that".   But do we?   Is it better to go into some long runs with a solid base of strength training and shorter runs or go into it completely exhausted with some crappy runs under your belt?

Of course this is just a thought and it may be a delusional one because I am completely exhausted right now.   Do you feel like you got lots of quality runs in this summer? Please chime in and tell us what you think.

*Disclaimer: I ran an additional 6.2 miles today and the weather was a bit cooler and my run went much better. I really do think heat effects me more than I thought.  -M


We will be linking up with the gals from TOTR.

39 comments:

  1. I am still on the fence about whether my summer runs were actually helpful. In this humidity, I am running 30 seconds slower than *normal* and it FEELS harder than what it feels to run my normal pace w/o humidity! I guess we will all see come fall, right???

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    1. Since writing this post I have done 2 runs in cooler temps and they went well so I wonder if they would have gone well anyway or if my summer running paid off. Running this summer DID feel harder than normal though!

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  2. I kind of agree with you. I know it's better to be undertrained than over, and I think more experienced runners could get away with only doing VERY long runs once the weather breaks if their races aren't until November. There's such a fine line between exhausting your body beyond recovery and really setting a solid foundation for being in racing shape. I know that right now, I want to be running 8-10 miles for long runs, but even running 7 is completely exhausting and afterward I take a four hour nap sometimes!

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    1. Oh I hear ya. I wanted to take a nap after my 3 mile runs and I was still going to bed around 9:00 pm. The heat really exhausted me!

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  3. I've been only running 3 or 4 miles this summer for the most part - and I feel pretty good. Now, my next half marathon isn't until January, so I have plenty of time to ramp up for that, but in years past, I already would have been up to 8-9 miles, so this is progress (even though it seems a little backwards). Summer running is hard, no question.

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  4. I could not agree more. I've been getting down on myself because my times for 3-5 miles have been much slower than they feel, and it has been miserably hot and humid. Only this week has the weather cooled down, and I had three really good runs this week (3, 3, and 7 - i'm training for an Oct race!). FINALLY it feels like I can do it again, and I guess I have to admit as well that the humidity and heat really have been slogging me down. Nice to know I'm not alone.

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    1. I compared this mornings 6.2 mile run to last year's run on this same exact date and I was sad to see that last year I was 2 minutes faster AND it was 20 degrees warmer out!! What gives???

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  5. I totally agree. My runs have been short. Only recently have I added longer runs since I have a half coming up.

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    1. I hope the cooler weather coming makes it easier for our longer runs!

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  6. total agreement as well. I think a lot of over-training is due to lack of confidence (in themselves and/or their training plan).

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  7. Heat and humidity make a huge difference in running. When I lived in Jersey it really sucked to run in the summer and I sweated buckets, but I still ran because I wanted to build a base and when it got cooler, it was so much easier and I felt stronger. I say do what you can even if it short, because it will make a difference.

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  8. Here's my professional opinion. When it comes to running long in heat, focus on heartrate and time on your feet. Forget about pace on long runs. A good training plan will bring you close to exhaustion but pull back at strategic times so that you do not overtrain. If you are feeling especially exhausted, listen to your body and back off. Skip a run, swap in an easier day, seek shade, hit the mill, etc. After running more than my share of very hot marathons I no longer choose marathons in Sept and Oct around here because training for them and the risk of them being hot is too great. It's a real cat and mouse game but it can be done.

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  9. So super thankful I don't have to deal with all that humidity here in Montana. I get up super early to run all summer and for the most part avoid the worst of the heat. My summer running gets warmer than I like for sure, but nothing I can't handle and I know all the training in the heat just makes running in the fall feel that much sweeter! Plus it is the only time of year I can run so early and be out before sunrise in shorts and a tank. Summer running isn't my favorite but I think it only sets me up for a successful fall. If I had to deal with a lot of humidity I might change my mind though.

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  10. I feel completely worn down right now, but it is hard to know if all the summer training did me any good. Right now all I feel is slower, really slow and I can't seem to break out of it at all. I am trying to be patient and not worry about the slowness but it messing with head.
    I seem to struggle more than most in the heat, because i get so sick, but I did better this year going really slow. i keep hoping at some point i will feel stronger for it! Remains to be seen. I think next summer I will go back to being a four mile runner, that is what I have done in the past and sure feels better. Your five miles sounds good to me :)

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  11. Heat and humidity is such a drain, but I always think running in it makes me stronger and better for the better weather. I feel like the miles in the fall will be easier because I pushed in the summer heat. Having said that, I do have to back off pace and a little bit of distance in the summer. It definitely takes it out of you!

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  12. I am totally fine with the heat, unless I'm running in it and then it wipes me out too! It does make it soooo much harder. Glad it's fall for that reason!

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  13. This is why I will never run the Chicago marathon again - the summer training almost killed me. I am now at the point where I don't lay off completely in the summer, but I only run 3 - 4 miles, I don't train for anything, and most of my runs are on the treadmill at the gym. I don't think everyone reacts the same to humidity but this girl HATES running in it. And therefore it makes me hate running. And I don't want to hate running:).

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  14. Running in the heat really is awful, but I was pretty lucky this summer. Only a handful of runs where the heat and humidity were really terrible.

    I think focusing on strength training during the summer is a great idea. Better to start running in the Fall with strong legs than to be burnt out from running in the heat.

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  15. I've used the last two summers for strength training over running. I got into a good workout pattern the last two weeks, and I already took the long weekend to recover. I'm not sure burnt out is the right term for me, but I'm not motivated when the weather's so bad.

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  16. I had really terrible runs the last 2 months and have had a very hard time upping my mileage. I think signing up for an October half was a mistake for me this year. Thanks for the vent :)

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  17. While I haven't ran much this summer, I can truly relate. Humidity really sucks the life out of a good run!

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  18. This is the reason I choose late Fall races. I spend most of the Summer running 5-6 miles at the most. But it definitely helps to slow down on the Summer runs and I don't feel as bad. Also, the cooler weather in the Fall definitely keeps me excited to run at that point :)

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  19. It's funny, now I feel that since I was able to get through all of those hard, hot, humid and hilly hot runs that anything in the fall should be so much easier! I didn't believe it was possible but I do detect the difference! I think it really is about balance and not pushing yourself too hard in the summer.

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  20. Summer is the best season to run here in Colorado, but it is such a different climate than Florida. I've thought about doing an early spring marathon but worry that I wouldn't get the long runs in for the reasons that you mention... It's just too hard to get the miles in during the winter and I feel like it does more damage than good to be outside in the cold/snow/ice for that long.

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  21. This is a very interesting question.... I think that with balance, the runs on the heat build endurance. To me the long runs feel tiring when I'm doing them, but 1-2 hours after I'm done, I am glad that they got done.



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  22. Heat index has been well over 100 down here and I have had the same thoughts. The longest I have done is 7 and I couldn't imagine doing over 6 more!

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  23. Every summer I say I'm going to follow that exact plan and every summer I don't do anything. 110+ degrees and blazing sun does such a number on me! We really embrace the lazy days of summer here- lol. But I agree with the premise that strength and shorter distances would be a better plan.

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  24. I pretty much take a break every summer for at least a month- and by break I mean I barely run at all, aside from what I do in my boot camp and cross fit workouts. The thing for me is that heat and humidity hits me really hard- and I leave a 3 mile run feeling totally exhausted, just as you said. That makes me not want to run any further. LIke you, I only did 5 miles max this summer. I actually think you're onto something though- by focusing on shorter runs I think it gets us out of the mentality of "having" to do long runs and makes us more willing to get out there. Then when it does come time to run long, we can get back in the groove more easily with that cooler fall weather!

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  25. very interesting! i get much more tired when i run in the heat and right now i dont know how im going to run a full in january. if i didnt have a half in a few weeks you couldnt pay me money to be running outside in the heat! good job for remembering the post, i have so many great ideas when i run but dont save them in my phone and typically forget them, whoops:P

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  26. This is exactly what I've done this summer ...not really by choice though. I had a nagging little ankle injury after a half marathon in April. By the time June came along, it was really bothering me so I decided to give it a rest for the summer. I've been doing more strength training and riding both road and mountain bikes. And I'll be honest...I really haven't missed running that much! It's just too dang hot and my body just doesn't like to run in this heat and humidity. Soooo, with that being said, as soon as it cools off I'll be looking to lengthening my runs. But for now, 3 - 5 miles is plenty for me!

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  27. I agree with this so much. I don't want to wish away summer because I love the hot weather and sunshine, but it sure makes running tough. I wish I could switch my focus and feel confident that I could run long when I returned during colder weather... but I'm a little too paranoid!

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  28. I was in denial about heat affecting me until this summer. My summer runs have suffered immensely due to the heat and humidity. It cooled down a smidge but then jumped right back up as of today. Whomp whomp.

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  29. Interesting thoughts. I have been running less this summer, but still doing my long runs (which for me are just 8 miles). But between OTF, spinning and weight training, I'm still tired!

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  30. Yep, I'm with you! Down here, we don't begin our longer runs or usually train for halfs/fulls until at least September! There's just no way with the summer heat/humidity. I would much rather run shorter "long" runs during the summer, then begin adding to that base once September comes around. :)

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  31. I think that usually I can adapt to running in the heat, so the years that I did fall marathons I was able to do long runs in August because I had already been running in the heat all summer and was used to it. I also think its important to go much slower than if it were cooler out!

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  32. 92 degrees is way hotter than I would be able to stand so kudos for you for getting out there for any miles at all! I'm completely not a heat and humidity runner and tend to have a lot of discouraging runs during the summer. To help from getting too discouraged, I often split my miles between indoors and outdoors. For example, I might run 2-3 miles outside, 1-2 miles inside, and finish up with 2 miles outside. Having a bit of a break in the middle of the run is a lifesaver :)

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  33. Great post! I haven't ran a lot this summer but the heat always makes me exhausted. Yesterday I ran in 82 degree weather with humidity (not the smartest) and I had to tell myself to take it easy! Cool weather always motivates me to run faster!

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  34. I sooooo needed to read this right now! I'm training for W&D too and was supposed to do 9.5 this past weekend. I only made it to 6. Same thing happened when i had an 8 miler a couple weeks ago. I guess an hour of running in the Fl. heat is about all i can take right now. But I've been beating myself up over not hitting my milage. I think you make a very good point. Perhaps focusing on strength training for now and waiting to do longer runs once (if) it cools down would be better!!

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Fairytales and Fitness is a personal blog authored and edited by us, Meranda and Lacey. The thoughts expressed here represent only our own and are not meant to be taken as professional advice. Please note that our thoughts and opinions change from time to time. We consider this a necessary consequence of having an open mind in an ever changing society. Any thoughts and opinions expressed within our out-of-date posts may not be the same, nor even similar, to those we may express today.