Summer Running

These summer months are forcing me into a difficult running schedule.  The heat and the threat of thunderstorms are effectively negating the extended hours of daylight, leaving few segments of the day left to jam in a run without the risk of being fried by either the sun or electricity.

This time of year in Denver, Mother Nature starts turning up the burners around 5:30am.  At sunrise the temperature could be in the mid-60s, reaching the high 90s at its peak.  Mornings generally don’t bring many clouds along with the sunshine, so it heats up quickly here in the thin atmosphere a mile above sea level.  If you want to avoid the heat, you have to start early.

Running in the heat can have its benefits.  It can increase your endurance and help to lower your heart rate in cooler conditions, but you need to be careful not to overexert yourself or run out of water.  It definitely changes the strength and distance of run you would normally take.

To avoid that heat, wake up earlier.  Pretty simple right?  In principal, yes.  However, if you’re like me, getting out of bed at 5am is tantamount to chugging a gallon of tequila then being handed an IQ test.  I can do it, but the results aren’t going to be pretty.*  Well, it’s really the getting to bed early enough to get enough sleep to wake up at 5am that proves to be the kicker.  Until I can get that part of the schedule figured out, those morning runs may have to wait until later in the year.

Evening runs can be especially nice if you have good weather.  As your run grows longer, the day grows cooler.  If you can plan for the impending darkness these runs are great, as long as there are no thunderstorms waiting to rain on your parade.  Well, in fairness, some rain feels great on a warm day.  It’s the threat of downpours, wind, and lightning that tend to screw up my plans.  Colorado is known for its summer afternoon thunderstorms.  Sometimes we get them early enough in the day where the evening is cool and clear, but this year it seems to be a constant afternoon into evening threat.

So it looks like I’m either running in the heat, at night, or waking up and a ridiculous hour of the morning.  No matter which one I go with, my daily schedule is going to have to adjust.  The hard part is doing this every day, and for just part of the year.  When you’re playing with your metabolism and your sleep schedule, consistency is the name of the game.

Today was a cool, overcast day.  Despite my aching muscles, I knew I had to get out and run.  The weather was too good to pass up.  The threat of a stormy afternoon sent me out just after lunch and I was able to knock out a solid 8 miles.  I’ll definitely take a few more days like this.   Maybe just a little more rain.

* I probably can’t chug a gallon of tequila.