Coach Mike Mead

June 2008

Summertime Morning Runs

With summertime now upon us, have you taken steps to acclimate your training to the rising temperatures and humidity? For the next few months, we runners in the South have to deal with the heat and humidity on a daily basis. These extremes can sure wear a runner out if you have not properly prepared yourself.

We runners are creatures of habit and a bit stubborn when it comes to changing our running routine. Most runners I know tend to train during the warmer parts of the day during the summer. Most of the time it is because of work schedule and time commitments that find runners training in the heat.

I prefer to run in the mornings because of the cooler conditions, though it usually is more humid. It is also much quieter running in the mornings. The routes I run do not have a lot of vehicles distracting me, though I need to keep an eye out for the behind-the-wheel snoozer.

I did not start out as a morning runner. In high school and college, I logged most of my miles in the afternoons. There were a couple of times when I experienced heat exhaustion and dehydration that pushed me to the brink of serious consequences. As I grew older and settled living in the South, I realized the best time for me to run was at the crack of dawn.

There are additional reasons why I run in the morning. I’m pretty disciplined running most mornings, but if I try running later in the day I usually find more excuses and distractions not to run. Throw in the summertime heat and I surely would not run most summer afternoons. Running in the morning gives me a sense of accomplishment. Should the day get out of hand or too busy, I know that I got in my run and I have all day to recoup for my next morning run.

Morning runs also prepare my body for those road races I’m able to compete in during the summer. Since I’m use to running in the mornings, my routine is not too disrupted when I jump into a race. I think if I trained a bunch in the afternoons or evenings I would not race as well when a majority of races are contested in the mornings.

For me to get the maximum out of my running, I have to run in the mornings when I feel my strongest and do not have to fear that I’ll be overcome by the heat and/or humidity. I can go a little longer without water and the sun isn’t beating down on me which just makes my run less enjoyable.

If you do not run in the mornings, perhaps you should try it this summer since the days start earlier and you’re not running in the dark. I think you will find that you will be a better disciplined person and get more done each day.

If you want to be a better runner, it takes being disciplined and morning runs are a great start. It will be hard at first getting up early, but if you are serious and determined, you’ll discover that by mid-summer you’ll be getting up before your alarm sounds. Happy trails!