We were asked to share what works for us as runners during the summer months to keep running and training.
First and foremost, what works for me is not a sure thing for you. Generally though, as human beings our physiological make up make general recommendations a perfect starting point for any of us.
The two most important factors, in my opinion, are hydration and protection from the sun. My first coach in Team in Training, David Burdette, taught us simply to drink water or sports drink often. His general guidance always worked for me which was "Drink before you're thirsty because if you've waited until you're thirsty, until you're craving water, then you've waited too long." There are other symptoms such as urine color (the lighter the better) but ultimately if you're thirsty and craving water, you need to drink.
Don't forget to replace the electrolytes and sodium you are sweating out. S-Caps, Salt tablets, most of the gel products, and sports drinks are all excellent sources of electrolyte replacement. I have no one single product that I recommend. Experiment and find one that works for you. When I buy an electrolyte replacement product that I've never tried before I will try it before even running. I'll take it while at home just to see if it upsets my stomach or makes me feel funny. It's better to find out a product makes you ill at home, close to the bathroom, than it is 3 or 4 miles from home.
I'll close on the subject of hydration and electrolytes by sharing this excellent page from Navy Fitness that covers hydration and the impact of altitude and humidity on your body's hydration.
Protection from the sun is equally as important. Runners and cyclists spend an amazing amount of time out of doors exposed to the sun and its harmful rays. As it gets warmer the clothing we wear covers less and less of our skin and thus we become more and more exposed to the suns ultraviolet rays that, with prolonged exposure, burn the skin and with longer prolonged exposure are proven to cause skin cancer. Protect yourself and be generous with sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. I've read reports that state products with an SPF higher than 30 are really not any more effective than the 30, so I always buy at least 30, waterproof, and sweat proof products. I've also found the "stick" products work amazingly well on the face. Again, I have no specific brand recommendations and haven't had any bad experiences with any one brand over another. And summer time is a great time to wear a very light, designed for fitness, cap to protect that head from the sun. The RunJunkEes shop has an amazing cap designed for runners that I personally own in every color and strongly recommend. The white, red, and yellow are perfect colors for the summer months.
I'll close on the subject of protection from the sun by sharing this excellent infographic from the American Cancer Society about skin cancer, the most common form of cancer diagnosed every year, with you.
Now is the time of year to become a vampire runner whenever safely possible and run during the dark hours. If you run at night please be safe and run in well lit areas, run with friends, run with a pepper spray product, and run with lights such as the amazing Knuckle Lights. Running indoors on a treadmill or indoor track is an excellent option to train on the hottest of all days, but if you're racing this summer remember this: You perform best on race day trained for the environment you'll race in. Running out of doors, even on the hottest of days, is totally possible and safe so long as you remain hydrated, slow your pace a bit, and protect yourself from the sun.
Check out the other RunJunkEes Sponsored Athletes' blogs as they've also shared what works for them. Feel free to ask any of us questions or join us in the RunJunkEes Virtual Run Club and exchange information and experiences with runners from around the world.
I was at the mall shopping for a new pair of shoes for my son Paul and the salesman said he really liked my shirt. I was wearing my "Bright As The Sun Orange" RunJunkEes shirt that says "The Journey is the Reward" on the back. He said he always spends so much time worrying about the end result, of whatever it is he's trying to accomplish, that he misses the fun of getting there. I told him that I am a RunJunkEe, an avid runner, and that for every finish line I have ever crossed and every medal ever hung around my neck the real rewards had always been found in the training leading up to that moment. The money raised for the cause, the friends met along the way, the stories learned of others and their reason for being there, and the many moments of zen and clarity found while running - the rewards were always received long before hitting the finish line timing mat. And he said "And so it shall be with life. I will look for the rewards on my journey." I bought Paul a nice new pair of Vans and we left the store.
The Journey is the Reward is by far my favorite mantra for this thing I do called running. Everything about my life has been enriched by running. I am fitter and healthier than ever before in life. I find myself surrounded by amazing people weekly at social runs, while training with TEAM in Training, and at races. My Facebook newsfeed is filled with positive and uplifting people daily. I've learned to Embrace My Joy on a daily basis. It is pretty amazing how this journey has rewarded me on an almost daily basis. Believe me, if this weren't true, I would've never run more than that first half marathon I set out to accomplish to raise money in memory of my nephew Mavrick.
Every now and again I'll provide a product review for running related products or literature. None of these reviews will be paid endorsements. If I recommend something it's because I believe it is good not because I was paid to do so.
Today I have two books I strongly recommend for runners
The first is Racing Weight: How to Get Lean for Peak Performance (The Racing Weight Series)
I gave this book a 5 star review at Amazon.com. It's a simple plan that does not rely on gimmicky diet plans to help an endurance athlete determine an ideal racing weight and to achieve that diet weight through proper nutrition and timing of that nutrition while burning fat and developing muscle. This was by far the best book I've read on the subject of weight management for the endurance athlete.
The second is Weight Training for Running: The Ultimate Guide.
I also gave this book a 5 star review on Amazon. Weight training is essential for runners. Not only does it build long lean muscle which is essential for speed and endurance it burns fat through increased metabolism better than most other forms of cross training. This book provides photos and descriptions of 100+ weight exercises that benefit runners from the upper body to the core to the lower body and legs along with sample workout plans and recommendations based upon different goals. It's small, lightweight, and will pack nicely into a gym bag to carry with you to the gym. It is also available for the Kindle. I've owned many weight training guides but this is the first (and only) book I found dedicated to the runner and the specific weight training regimens needed to build a strong core while developing the fast twitch needed for explosive speed and the slow twitch needed for long runs.
I have two primary sites that I track my runs, rides, and works out, DailyMile and Garmin Connect.
If you'd like to connect with me at either site here are my profile links:
Garmin Connect Profile
While you will find that I have profiles on other sites these really are the only two that I ever use.
Today I received an email from Dan Woods asking me if I'd consider being a RunJunkEes™ sponsored athlete to represent the RunJunkEes and running through his brand and website.
I couldn't have said YES fast enough. We are not RunJunkIes. We are RunJunkEes. The E representing EVERYONE. RunJunkEes are inclusive of all who run and it simply does not matter how long you've been running, how fast you run, or how long you can run. If you run we welcome you to our RunJunkEe world. The very fact that Dan selected me as a RunJunkEes™ sponsored athlete, a guy who's been running less than 3 years with a PR of 4:38 for a full, is more than enough evidence to his attitude towards RunJunkEes and running as a whole. I am not an elite. Not even close. I'm just a guy who decided in June of 2011 after losing his nephew Mavrick to blood cancer to run a half marathon and raise a couple of thousand dollars to benefit leukemia research and along the way, that first "season", training fell totally head over heels in love with running.
I love what running has done for me and what I see it do for so many others. Running is not the source of my "weight loss transformation" (that was actually strength training in the gym with my friend and personal trainer Abel Berry). Running is, however, the source of a personal transformation that goes much further than anything physical. It has made me more confident and more secure in my ability, as a human being, to accomplish whatever I set my mind to. I started running June 27th of 2011 and in October of that year completed my first half marathon at the 13.1 Dallas and in December my first full marathon at the MetroPCS White Rock Dallas Marathon. To date I have completed 20 half marathons, 10 full marathons, and 2 ultra marathons (50Ks), many of them as a Rundraiser raising money with TEAM in Training to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. I'll share more about TEAM's mission and why it is the single most important reason I run in the coming days.
For now, I'll close this first blog entry in thankfulness and gratitude for this honor. RunJunkEes is by far my favorite running community online and to have been selected as a sponsored athlete and ambassador is truly an honor.