News flash, folks: we live in Ohio.
We have crummy weather that you can’t count on. The weather man doesn’t even know what’s up half of the time, it changes so fast around here. We don’t live in San Diego; we don’t have 80 degree weather with a slight breeze every day.
So, how do you train? I used to be a weather wimp (ask my husband). It took me a
long time to get over it and come to grips with our weather around here. (Well, I am
actually still working on this.) I’ve lived in Ohio for almost 3 decades; it’s time to
give up the ghost.
It used to be that my runs were quick little 2-3 milers. I would look outside the
window, and if I didn’t like what I saw, I’d just wait it out. Enter longer, more
intense races and training programs.
Suddenly, I didn’t have TIME to wait for the weather to change. If the run was going
to happen, it had to happen now. My husband would tease me about not wanting to
run when it was raining. “Aren’t you a swimmer?” he’d say. Yes, but sometimes you
don’t want to be wet…..I can’t explain it.
Or how about when you crawl out of bed in the dead of winter, it’s pitch dark
outside, and the temperature is 0. Literally. ZERO. Well, as I have come to learn,
you have to suck it up, buttercup.
Now, I’ve been told by quite a few people that running in the rain, snow, sleet, or
extreme temperatures is just plain crazy. Sometimes it is, don’t get me wrong. BUT,
when you have to race in Ohio, you had better learn to deal with Mother Nature.
Case and point: when you show up for your races, is it always perfect? Nope. So,
you’d better prepare yourself. You can’t train inside with perfect temps and
humidity and then head out in to extreme temps and expect to have a good race.
Let’s get real here, people. Think back to your last COLD run. Pretty vivid memory?
Mine is. Zero degrees and dark for the first half of my long run. What was a must for
that run? Well, I knew I needed fluids, something to protect my face and hands, fuel,
and not too much/not too little clothing. And how did I do? Well, not too bad.
However, my water froze. That was crummy. Plus, what I used on my face was
trapping too much moisture, which really backfired and made me colder and more
Lesson learned, and now I have a better plan. This will carry over to my winter
races, now that I’ve been there, done that.
Ok, now think about a time when you started your long run, and the weather began
to change. Soon, the temp was skyrocketing up and you weren’t prepared. This
happened to a lot of folks last year at the Columbus Marathon. I was at the finish
line watching people collapse on their way in. Pretty bad stuff, if you ask me.
How would you deal with the heat if you had never experienced it? Do you think
you would make the best decision(s)? Maybe, maybe not. Wouldn’t you rather
experience the heat during training instead of race day for the first time? Wouldn’t
you rather be prepared?
For heat, humidity, and cold extremes, think, plan, and train smart. Be prepared
when it comes to fuel, clothing, and your goals for your run. Remember, if the
temperature is extreme, your pace needs to change or you won’t be able to get it
done. Be safe, no matter what.
You have to TRAIN in the weather to RACE in the weather. So, don’t be a weather
wimp. Get out there in the thick of it, and learn.
Run Happy. Run Long.
Amy is a marathoner and triathlete, a mother of four, an Exercise Physiologist and a
Physical Therapist. She lives with her husband, Dan (also a marathoner and
triathlete), and kids in Lewis Center.