I've never been one for the summer. Autumn and winter have always been my favourite times of the year. I like that feeling-chilly-and-having-to-wrap-up-snug thing. I've never been one for sunbathing or hot beaches, and the idea of sun-drenched holiday destinations does nothing for me at all. Just moving about and simply being in the heat has always irked me.
But running is really helping me to deal with the summer. I'm treating running in this heat as a kind of endurance training. I physically cannot run as fast as I can when the weather is cooler. I'm pretty sure this is because my body is busy doing important bodily cooling stuff, so there is less battery power available for running – a bit like how a car uses more petrol when you've got the air conditioning running at full pelt. As a result, my recent runs have been more like joggy-plods but I reckon this is all good and that I'm building my running muscles. I thought that the summer would make running awful. Sure, it's different, but it's not half as bad as I thought it would be. I'm usually a mid-morning runner but I've done my last couple of runs in the evening. I've not got the energy levels I have in the mornings, and it's still warm out there, but it's way more bearable. Plus the evening light at half past eight is just beautiful. I'm shifting all my hot weather running to the evening and I'm just accepting that my running pace will be slower. And anyway, trying to run fast in this weather is a bit daft, if you ask me. On my walk back from my run last night I saw a runner who was in a right state. He was getting help from some passing people who fortunately had some water with them. Maybe I'm just lazy, but it seems to me that pushing yourself in this heat is a pretty silly thing to do
Running has helped me to cope better in the warm. I work in a wooden shed all day making glass beads, with a propane torch and a kiln at chest level. The shed heats up and by about two o'clock it's about 32°C in there. I used to abandon shed at that point but this year I've found that I can stick it until it hits the 35-36°C mark. I swear this is because of the running in the hot; running in 24°C is hard, hard work and the sweat levels are unprecedented, but it makes sitting still in a warm place seem a heck of a lot easier!
Running has also helped me to dress better for summer, which in turns makes me more comfortable in the everyday non-running heat. When I ran my first 10K race earlier this year, it was the first time I'd worn shorts outside of the house since I was in my early twenties. Since that 10K, I've only worn full leggings for running twice. I now own three pairs of running shorts, and two of them don't have the second pair of inner shorts that my first pair has. This is so liberating! I have to put a bit of Vaseline on my inner thighs to avoid chafing as my thighs are quite chunky and they rub together when I run, but oh, my new light and airy shorts have made running so much cooler. The knock-on effect of this shorts revelation is that I now own – and am pretty much living in – two pairs of non-running shorts in my day-to-day life. All these years I've been so self-conscious about getting my legs out in the summer, but running in shorts has taught me to give zero fucks about it. If I can run with my thighs on show, with them flabbering with every footstrike and not causing a subsequent tsunami on the River Cam, then I can sure as heck wander around town in a pair of shorts. So I am, and I've found that shorts make summer at least 27.8% more bearable. Who knew?
People say that running can give you body confidence. If body confidence is the same thing as not caring what people think of what your body looks like, then yep, I reckon that's true. A couple of weeks ago I bought myself a couple of new sports bras. My Nike ones had seen better days and both of them had this ridiculously-placed seam that had a tendency to cause quite painful teat-rubbage if I hadn't positioned the old tittays in the correct place. I am now the very happy owner of three Brooks sports bras, and the owner of happier tits as a result of this. The bras are all the crop-top type (no fastenings or actual cup sizes) and they're ridiculously comfy.
I've not actually run in just a sports bra yet, but with this seemingly never-ending hot snap I'm not discounting the idea. I've taken my vest off and walked home from runs with my sports bra on full show, though. It's a bit runstrumpety for a forty year old, I know, but when you've finished running seven miles in silly heat and you're rightly proud of what your body has just allowed you to do, whipping off your sweat-drenched vest and thinking "Who cares if the neighbours see my midriff?" really is very liberating and it makes you feel ruddy invincible.
|It even tells the time|
In other news, I upgraded my Garmin. I've now got a Forerunner 235 and I love it. It's well techsnazzy and it provides stats galore. I've linked it to my half marathon training plan and my runs are all there, programmed in and ready to go at the touch of a button, which is really useful.
Talking of the half marathon, my Make-A-Wish running vest that I'll be wearing for it arrived last week. It's got a cool cape design on the back. I've always wanted a cape.
I paid for my Richmond RUNFEST entry myself, but I'm raising a few quids for Make-A-Wish, partly to spur me on because this will be the most physical and challenging thing I've ever done in my life thus far, and partly because Make-A-Wish is such a wonderful charity doing fantastic work and it'll be nice to make my running not all about me for once. My fundraising page is here if you'd like to read more.
If you're running in this heat, do take care – slap on your sunscreen, wear a hat, take water with you no matter how uncool you think it makes you look, and take it a bit easier than you usually would.
Running Tune of the Week
Mexican Fender by Weezer