Cooler Weather = PRIME TIME racing!

1 Sep

Hello September! Glad to see you!
Now where is my cool weather? Huh? HUH?

While September is still considered summer according to the calendar, if it is that time of year where kids start going back to school and football season is in full-swing, then it is FALL to me! Many parts of the country are starting to experience lower temperatures and crisper air, and while we have not gotten that break here in Louisiana (yet!), I am eagerly awaiting it. Fall weather is easier on my body and I am ready to embrace it! Bring it on!

I am a cold weather NINNY.

During winter, I hit the lull. In those super cold months, I am happy with myself to just maintain and keep my body moving. In the cold weather, I am proud of myself to just layer up, put on my big girl panties, and make it out on my long runs. I will be the first to admit that I am NOT a fan of cold weather, but I always feel really good (both physically and mentally) after I get those cold outdoor runs done. I just have to be very careful to put on dry/warm layers immediately post-run because I get sick really easily. And after a long run in the frigid air, nothing beats a warm shower, snuggly clothes, and a morning cup of hot chocolate or tea!

In the spring months, I get my mojo back! The temperatures get warmer, flowers start blooming, and I get to start shedding some of those running layers…and maybe a few of those post-holiday pounds. 🙂 This is the time of year I get re-energized about doing speed work and track workouts. I don’t know if it is all in my head or what, but my body feels zippier and my legs feel springier. (You like my advanced vocabulary there?) In these months, I literally run with a smile across my face, which I’m sure makes me look like a Grade A Running Dufus. Who cares! Plus, when you get out and run in the springtime, everyone else just looks happier. The people I see out and about are running along side of me (read = passing me with ease) or outside playing with their children and waving as I go by. Clearly, they are as pleased with the passing of the winter chill as I am.

Racing with my BFF in a spring shower!

Then comes the summer…oh, the heat of summer. In South Louisiana this can mean temperatures in the upper 90’s. However, factor in the humidity and heat index and the “real feel” creeps somewhere in the 105° F range. YOWZA! During these months I typically do what is called the “slow build.” Since it is so hot here, pushing yourself too hard can easily lead to roadside vomiting. (Not pretty, kids. Not recommended AT ALL.) While it is generally accepted that runners can increase their mileage up to 10% per week safely, I shoot for around 5% in these months. I do my best to maintain track workouts and incorporate more hill intervals, finding as many shady routes as I can.

(I have no awful summertime running photo. I look so foul after summer races/runs that I rarely allow photos to be taken. Whatev.)

And then we find ourselves at my favorite time of year…the fall! It is still warm enough to be comfortable but not so hot that you feel like you are going to die. Weekends stay busy with Saturday morning long runs and Saturday afternoon/evening football games! The cool, crisp air gives my lungs a nice break (thank you, asthma) and running on top of crunchy leaves makes me feel on top of my game. Just make sure you don’t slip though; those leaves can make the roads and sidewalks slick! In addition, you can not deny how many awesome races are held in the fall like the Bank of America Chicago Marathon and the Marine Corps Marathon. It is easy to find half marathons and full marathons in almost any state! Personally, every PR I have (other than the distances where I have only done 1 of them) was raced in the fall months. The nine to ten months or so of training partnered with the weather usually adds up to confident racing for me.

This fall, I’ll be involved in a marathon of a different sort, but I am looking to get back to my training as quickly as possible! Mid-November training plan, here I come!

When is YOUR best time to race during the year? What season is YOUR peak for competing?

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10 Responses to “Cooler Weather = PRIME TIME racing!”

  1. Stephanie September 1, 2011 at 11:11 AM #

    Hi lady, soglad we hooked up because I love love your blog. i could not agree more with your explanations here. Ohh gosh i love love fall!! You ran MCM? I am running it this year as my first!! Ah so excited. Congrats on mommy to be btw…since I am just catching up fill me in – races, baby info 🙂 Can’t wait to learn more

    • katieRUNSthis September 1, 2011 at 11:41 AM #

      Well, thanks! I appreciate the kind words!! I actually have not run the Marine Corps Marathon…yet! But it IS on my bucket list! I have a few friends running it this year and I am so proud of them.

      The recap…you can see all the races I have run so far this year under the “katieRANthis” tab at the top, Baby Key should be here in about 9 weeks (and I am STILL running!)…and all the other stuff you can check out on my About Me section! Glad you have you reading! 🙂

      • Stephen Barrouquere (@sbarrouquere) September 1, 2011 at 12:32 PM #

        Stephanie, I am running the MCM. It will be my fourth marathon (Vegas, St. Jude, Kentucky Derby are the other), first time for the MCM. I hope you do well. I hope the summer training hasn’t been too harsh. I would like to think us runners can use the motto from the movie ‘Heartbreak Ridge’: ‘You adapt. You overcome. You improvise.’
        Good Luck,
        Stephen

  2. Morgan @ Becoming Rooks September 1, 2011 at 11:32 AM #

    I’m a big fan of early fall running, when the temps are around the mid-60s. I don’t mind the 50s or 40s, but the 30s and below get a little hard to handle (not to mention snow/ice!). Plus, the scenery is so beautiful in the fall!

    • katieRUNSthis September 1, 2011 at 11:42 AM #

      Yes, mid-60’s is my sweet spot running temperature. Unfortunately, it doesn’t get consistently to that temperature here until around October. But hey, any reprieve from temperatures in the 90’s I will gladly take! As far as low temperatures go, I can be comfortable until about 30 degrees. I am not saying I won’t run in colder, but I don’t necessarily like it. 🙂

  3. Nicole September 1, 2011 at 2:14 PM #

    Our temperatures are quite different- doesn’t get nearly as hot and way colder than you are used to, but I will agree that I prefer to race/train in cooler weather.

    Unless you hang up your running shoes from October to May or want to be stuck on the treadmill, we have to learn to enjoy cold running weather around here. For the most part you just learn to dress properly, and slow down a bit when the footing gets unstable.

    I will be on the treadmill a lot this winter as ice and pregnancy don’t mix well.

  4. hauterunningmama September 1, 2011 at 4:28 PM #

    I love Fall/Winter running! The coldest mornings here are in the 30s but warm quickly into the 40s by mid morning and usually average high 50s by the afternoon. Yup, that’s my kind of running weather 🙂

  5. Kara September 1, 2011 at 4:56 PM #

    My ideal running conditions is for 50 degree weather, dry and no wind. I don’t care what season that happens. 🙂

    I’m running MCM this year, but I’m not holding out hope for a PR since it’s 3 weeks before the JFK 50 race, and that’s the priority. 🙂

  6. Michelle September 1, 2011 at 6:26 PM #

    I love to run when it is colder out. My ideal weather would be in the mid 40s with no wind. I know that sounds crazy to some people, but I find that I can dress in a single layer and still be happy. In fact I don’t mind when the weather is 20 degrees, I just can’t manage to get in a proper run when it is over 85.

  7. Karen :0) September 1, 2011 at 10:34 PM #

    I am so looking forward to Fall! Running in Alaska last week had me excited about cooler weather!!! :0) Can’t wait!

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