I have swallowed the first bugs of spring.
That’s not an analogy for anything, it’s unfortunately quite literal. At the very end of a tempo run today, I ran, unsuspecting, straight through a large swarm of flies, realizing only too late that my mouth was quite open. I spat multiple times and swatted my face, killing probably about a dozen flies, but I most likely ingested one or two.
But enough of that. The graphic bug story only serves to symbolize the coming of spring, the real topic of this post. Besides bug swarms, spring also brings heat, which drastically changes my daily running routine, and I’m sure many other runners’ as well.
First of all, it brings an end to basement treadmill running- no fan can serve to alleviate the miserableness of a run in an 85 degree basement with no fresh air. If you go to an air conditioned gym, it may be a different story (I always yearn for air conditioning as I run by a local gym with people exercising comfortably while it’s 95 degrees outside. I also enjoy fantasizing about cool beverages I will enjoy if I make it home alive.).
Secondly, it means less warm up for tempo runs or speedwork- leg muscles get loose much more quickly in warm weather. But heat also limits your exertion level, and I always tend to run more slowly on hot race days than on cold.
Spring and summer also have a major impact on running fashion. Well, maybe not fashion per say, but I definitely break out a different running wardrobe for the warm months. I like to think of it as my minimalist running outfit- my shortest shorts and a sleeveless shirt (or, on occasion, no shirt). I may not be pretty to look at, but at least I don’t overheat.
Finally, more than anything else, spring means I carry more water. While I can get away with one water bottle for a 10 mile run on a winter day, it just won’t do in warm weather. I always bring money with me to buy water en route, or plan a water stop for long runs in the heat. And don’t forget to drink until it’s too late! Drink consistently throughout the beginning of the run, before you start getting thirsty (sound advice from my brother the runner).
Happy spring, and merry running to all.