Jo Shares Marathon Training Tips for Dealing with Weather
Ah summer in Minneapolis, just as unpredictable as the winter. June encompassed somewhat of a tropical rainforest, and July has resembled more of fall. Perfect marathon training, especially for a beginner.
Prior to Jo’s decision to do the marathon, Jo was a “fair weather fan”… literally. If it was raining, running was a no-go. Winter consisted of mostly treadmill runs, and attempting a jog in even the slightest humidity was out of the question.
Needless to say, Jo’s integrity has been tested. In order to stick to her training plan, she has had to run regardless of the weather. Who knows what kind of weather August will bring her.
Humidity: The Beast of the Midwest
One particular morning, Jo decided to get up early and get her run in. She had told coworkers she would be up for a little happy hour after work, which left morning as the only available time to run. On this morning, Minneapolis was experiencing one of its more sauna like days. With dew points reaching the high heavens, the air was thick.
Without thinking, Jo had decided that an out and back route was the best option. The first few miles were fine, but about half way through the run, the humidity started taking its toll and Jo was it’s first victim. The only way to get home was to go back. No shortcuts allowed. Jo arrived home drenched. She hobbled up to the doorway with no life left in her legs. Jo’s boyfriend was sitting at the table with breakfast already made. The expression on his face sums up the way Jo felt.
“Did you decide to do a morning swim?” Jo’s boyfriend chimed in.
“Very funny. Would you like a hug? I’ve got plenty of extra condensation here for the both of us.” Jo retorts.
“Seriously, how was the run? It appears as though it may have been a bit brutal?”
“Brutal doesn’t describe the half of it. My first mistake was the out and back leaving no options for getting home earlier. I was having visions of stopping at random houses so I could drink out of their hoses. Luckily someone was watering their grass this morning. I may or may not have done a couple leaps through it. At that point, I couldn’t get any wetter. I felt like my lungs couldn’t get any breath. The air was so thick! I’m glad it’s done though. If the marathon is that hot, you might have to bring the wagon and wheel me though the finish line. I’m beat!”
“So what did you learn?” he asked.
“Mainly that I need to plan my runs better, and slow down when it’s this hot. I probably should have also cut the run short, but I was determined to make it to the turn around point. By then it was too late.”
“Well, good for you for getting through it! I made some eggs if you’re interested… or would you like some ice cream instead? Ha-ha”
Unexpected Running Adventures
Over the next few weeks, Jo experienced a few more first to put into her “Reasons To Never Run Again” category.
There was one instance she was running on some trails and was chased by a horse fly. The darn thing followed her for over two miles! Jo likes to think she smells good, but perhaps the pre-run sprits of perfume might be overkill.
Another day she drank her morning coffee a little too soon before heading out for her run. Unfortunately, porta potties were few and far between which ended up in a sock sacrifice. While coffee can help running performance, not in this situation.
Finally, she decided to do a few lake loops on a busy afternoon. Due to the flooding, the trails have to be shared. Let’s just say she and a bike got in a fight, and the bike won.
Marathon Training Tips
Now that Jo has been starting to weather all the elements, she decided to make a little list in her running log to help her with future runs. These tips can be used during her continued marathon training and hopefully will result in some better, more prepared runs.
- When going longer than an hour, bring a water! Drinking fountains are unreliable. She purchased a hydration belt so she may as well get some use out of it! Plus, one looks pretty hard core with a water belt.
- Always bring toilet paper on long runs. A new travel size Kleenex package works well. The lakes always have portos, but most trails don’t, and sometimes TP isn’t scarce anyway. She doesn’t want to lose another pair of good socks.
- Wear a brimmed cap on rainy runs. Getting water in her eyes is uncomfortable, but hats really help that. Also keeps the sun out when it’s sunny.
- Horse flies (or other animals). Use the opportunity to do some sprints. It’s great speed work!
- Always look at the weather forecast several days in advance. Plan to run at the coolest part of the day if possible. This might mean dragging your butt out of bed in the wee hours of the morning.
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Most marathoners should probably be sipping on water all day.
- Practice running in the morning because the marathon start time is early in the morning, and you never know what the weather will be like early October. Let’s just pray there is no snow yet.
Although marathon training has been mentally and physically draining, Jo continues to power through. She’s starting to pick up on fitness cues and really loves the challenge. She has never felt better, even with bike marks on her legs.
If you’re a seasoned runner, what other marathon training tips would you give Jo? Leave them in the comments below.