5 Rules for Hot Weather Running

As the summer marches forward, we are all dealing with some hot weather running. Well – most of you are. I’m in Ireland which doesn’t seem to go above 20 degrees Celsius. Nevertheless, here are some basic rules on hot weather running:

  1. Hydrate yourself 2 hours before you go out. Whenever possible, have a few glasses of water before you head out, to ensure you are sufficiently hydrated to begin.
  2. Consider a hat. Not a regular baseball cap (that will trap heat next to your skull) but a running cap made out of wicking material. The sweat will wick away from you head, and the brim will give your eyes a break.
  3. Bring water. This may seem overly obvious, but it is that important. Once the mercury rises, you can no longer get away with not bringing water with you, no matter how short the run. This is doubly important for runs longer than 1 hour. In those cases, bring an extra bottle or two, or you can….
  4. Plan hydration stops on your route. Before you head out, figure out if there are functioning public water fountains that you can fill up at. Pro tip: Starbucks (at least in Toronto, Canada) are perfectly happy to fill up your water bottle with no fuss. I do that all the time.
  5. Have a proper cool down. This means two things. First, if your body temperature is up, hop into a cool shower or grab a couple of ice cubes for your face. Bringing your temperature down successfully is important when you are done your run. Second, the need to effectively hydrate doesn’t end when your run does. If you don’t continue to hydrate with water or gatorade following your run, you will likely get headaches from the dehydration. Keep it up with a glass of water an hour for a few hours after you are done.

What are your tricks for surviving your hot weather runs? Let me know in the comments.

Happy Running!

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You Are Awesome

In running without my watch, I have lost all the standard ways I have of measuring success. On a long run, for instance, am I sticking strictly to the 10 minutes of running and 1 minute of walking, or did I sneak in an extra walking break? Are my splits even? Did I run exactly 16k or was it 15.9k? Did I blast out at the beginning only to crawl towards the end? Without my watch, I don’t know. And sometimes, that is a good thing.

I know I’m not alone here. We all strive for the cleanest run possible. For the perfect run.

All of these measurements, while they can help us to improve when used properly, frequently cloud the bigger successes. This is something I have realized running without all my tech, because I simply can’t measure as I normally do. I’m left to only decide “Did I do it?”

It is so easy for us as runners to finish up a run, and then immediately pick holes in it. I hear this all the time at running groups. Invariably, the leader says “Great run everyone, good job!” and the runners promptly begin to grumble: “yah, but I didn’t hit that hill as fast as I can” or “It was okay, but my splits weren’t even”. All of this is said out of wanting to push ourselves to be better. To be clear: that is fine. What isn’t fine is forgetting that

You are awesome.

What runners do all the time is totally remarkable. That applies if you run 3k or 30k on a regular day. Either way, you are choosing to challenge yourself. You are choosing to be physically active. You are choosing your health. And you are doing so in a world of temptations. You could watch tv instead, after all.

Now, I think that constantly pushing ourselves is a good thing. I just don’t want us to forget, as a community, that this sport of ours really is awesome.

Now go for a run. Happy Running!

 

Running Into The Unknown

Having arrived into Dublin a few days ago now, I think I’m mostly over the jet-lag. Last night’s run was fantastic, so I really slept like a baby.

While I’m here I’m running tech-less. It’s just me and my water bottle when I set out. I don’t have access to my beloved Nike+ and I can’t seem to find my Garmin charger. Once I lost those two, I felt like I should just ditch the iPod as well, out of solidarity.

So it’s back to the old tech version of planning out a route beforehand and then running out the door. This becomes doubly difficult in a city I’m unfamiliar with, with road names I can’t pronounce, and whose streets never go straight in any direction.

That said, running without tech and along completely unknown routes is exhilarating. It forces increased alertness and pushes curiosity. I think both are great things.

That said, it can lead to some interesting problems. Last night, being somewhat jet lagged and completely exhausted, a plotted out what I thought was a very easy 4k route. Just a quick jaunt to wake up my legs, my heart and my mind. The first 1k was pleasant, following the River Liffey, passing the Guinness Brewery.

Then the route curved off into the city, and, apparently up. And up. And up.

About 2k of a gentle but persistent slope upwards. The kind that leaves a dull ache in your calves. This is apparently a popular running route, as I found several significantly more capable runners than me blasting up the hill.

And thus, my short quick run was turned into a hill workout. Such is the joys of running new routes, in a new city.

I can’t wait to head out again tonight.

 

 

Route Change Up

Run

As you may know from reading my posts, I’m currently running and writing in Dublin, Ireland. This means I’ve had a BIG route change up, and am happily exploring new running routes and trails.

However, when I’m home I frequently find myself running the same routes, just out of habit. I know that this route, for instance, is a great 5k loop without many stoplights, or this one is a fantastic 20k long run that flows through many different interesting neighbourhoods.

When I first started running, I used it as a way to explore my city and truly see the world around me. I still do that, but occasionally I fall in to lulls where I use the same route, day in and day out. I’m here to encourage you not to do that.

Changing up your route has several benefits, the biggest of which is avoiding running boredom. Constantly seeing new sites and navigating new terrain keeps you aware and bright, both of which are good for your psyche and your run time. On a slightly darker note, the Toronto City Police also recommend running different routes, so potential predators will not be able to track you easily. It’s a sad thing that I have to mention this, but changing your running route can increase your overall safety. Of course, when selecting a new route, make sure you are not running down dark alleys at 2am next to minimum security prisons, etc, etc, etc.

If you have a system like Nike+, Garmin or any other GPS watch, its easy to head out the door without a plan. If you don’t, take 10 minutes before your run and map out a new route on Google Maps. If you’re stumped on where to go, contact your local Running Room. They have routes of different lengths and technical skills mapped out, all of which leave from their stores of course. And while you’re at it, maybe head out with one of their free Run Clubs!

Alright, enough planning. Go Run. Go Far. Go Enjoy. And Happy Running!

(Photo Credit: R A Pyke)

Rainy Runs, Or, How To Be An Unstoppable Badass

Rain run

You can find a thousand reasons to not go outside for your run. The most common one I hear is “It’s raining”.

Now, I try as hard as I can to make this a judgement free zone. Do what you want, how you want to. But if truth be told, if you do not go for your run because it is raining, well then, I am judging you.

I do not care how sweet of a person you are, you are not made of sugar, and you will do just fine.

Plus – and this is really where it gets good – you will feel 50% more badass running any given route in the rain. Guaranteed.

It doesn’t matter how short, how flat, or how easy that route is. You automatically level up to 50% more badass-ery when running in the rain. It’s fantastic.

AND you get to be the crazy person running in the rain. The next day when you go into work, and everyone says they spent the evening inside, staring drearily out their windows, you can proudly announce “I went for a run.” They will all gape at you, but that is okay, because you got your run in.

Now, go for that run in the rain, you unstoppable badass.

And Happy Running!

 (Photo Credit: Antony_mayfield)

The Big News

Ireland

Alright you guys. I have some big news. Drum roll please……

I’m moving to Ireland. For a month. Maybe more. Don’t really know.

I’m going over for my company to work on a project, but I’m really really really psyched about the running part. That picture up there? That’s Howth, which is a neighbourhood of Dublin, Ireland where I will be living. Beautiful, right? I’m looking forward to running those trails and clocking some miles in a new country.

This will be to mildly offset the beer and potatoes I plan on consuming while I’m there. Everyone talks about the beer in Ireland, and while that’s great and all: POTATOES. (I should add here that I have been to Dublin before for work, and am also technically Irish in my ancestry, although my family has been in Canada for generations now, meaning it might just be in my blood to love the potatoes of Ireland).

Seriously folks, the potatoes in Ireland are fantastic. I know this sounds crazy, but just….listen to me on this one. I have honestly never had better potatoes than in Ireland. They are these fantastic little clouds of starch, regardless of the preparation. Nothing is more satisfying than that on a rainy day.

I’ll be posting while over there, so I look forward to updating you with my very own snapshots of the island. Expect to see shots of both the running trails and the potatoes.

Sláinte!! (and Happy Running)

(Photo credit: Roberto Taddeo)