I feel like an elementary school kid on the first day of summer! Even though I have been home and out of class for a month already, today is the first day that truly feels like summer vacation. I finished my externship yesterday – I learned more than I even expected and am sad to leave the office, but am really looking forward to having the next six weeks off. I didn’t set an alarm this morning and slept until 8:40am! (For anyone who doesn’t know me well, that is really late for me!) I then lounged around for 20 minutes and hit the road for my run. I meant to go further, but took a new route and got a bit lost. As I was slowing down to figure out where to turn next, my feet got a little lazy and the concrete jumped out and got the best of me…
Ouch. Luckily I was only about 2 miles away from home, but I got some crazy looks as I had blood dripping from my elbow on the way. With a little more preparation, I could have saved my elbow this bloody fate… I have learned a lot so far about running in the heat and humidity, but I am the worst at following my own advice. Here are some things I have learned so far about running in the summer heat and humidity.
- Drink a lot of water the night before you run. Also drink a big glass of water before you leave. Dehydration is the worst – its responsible for those evil side cramps and can make your mile times really sluggish.
- If you are running for more than a half hour on a really hot day or 45 minutes on a normal day, bring along a sports drink or something with sugar in it for a pick-me-up along the way. A lot of my friends put a handful of Gummy Bears in their pocket for a sugar boost along the way on really long runs.
- If possible, don’t wear cotton T-shirts on days when it is really hot and humid. You will sweat, and then it will just weigh down your shirt and trap more heat around your core. A wicking material will help pull the moisture off of you for more efficient cooling.
- Don’t run when the sun is at its peak! I made this mistake a few weeks ago and was lucky to make it through my planned 4 miles. Instead, go a little earlier in the morning or around dusk to avoid the peak heat of the day.
- Make sure to stretch well after you run! Read a little more here for some important stretches for runners.
And don’t forget to fuel those muscles! It sounds counterintuitive, but often times I am just not hungry when I get back from a long run. I probably fill my stomach up with a ton of water, but I know that my body needs some calories for fuel. I have recently discovered smoothies as the perfect cure for this post-run dilemma. I know that a lot of runners turn to protein powder, but I can’t get over the flavor. I choose, instead, to get protein from other places – Greek yogurt and peanut butter! I love peanut butter and banana in any form, and this smoothie really hits the spot after a long workout. Try this shake out next time you need a workout recovery!
Peanut Butter Banana Shake
makes 1 smothie
1/2 cup ice
1/2 frozen banana, chopped
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1/2 cup milk
1 tbsp peanut butter
Combine the ice and chopped frozen banana in a blender to crush. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend to desired smoothie consistency. Can adjust with more or less milk if you like it thicker or creamier.