21 May 2012

Running 101: The Adaptation

Besides baby things (which stroller does our little bundle of love need?), running has been on my mind. I have not written a running post in a while. I could blame my current lack of running, but that doesn't cut it for my readers, huh?

The weather is getting nice and toasty here in Erie, Pennsylvania which means running adaptation. I remember a really ugly run (one of many!) where I had side cramps so badly I had to stop buy a sports drink before I could go on. There are some days where you have a great sounding plan, but mother nature gets in the way. Whether it is the heat, the weather conditions or your body signals, some times the run isn't going to happen. That is the time to pull out the adaptation card.

Adaptation in running might not be your favorite option but it should be one you keep in mind. Here are a few issues and adaptation suggestions.

Issue: The HEAT!
Adaptation: If possible, choose to run early in the morning or in the late evening before the sun reaches it's peak, usually around 10 am until 4 pm. If you start a run and feel too hot or easily overheated, stop, get water if possible and if it is really bad, end the run. There is no use in dehydrating yourself more or worse causing complications from the heat. If you don't have water handy, ask a friendly house to use their hose. Honestly, I have been in the middle of the country without water and asked plenty of people for a drink of their hose water. Most are happy to oblige. Try to drink LOTS AND LOTS OF WATER before and after a hot day run. You need a lot more than you think. If necessary invest in a hydration belt or handle-held water bottle for long runs.

Issue: Bad Weather
Adaptation: Even the best plan runs are no match for bad weather. Keep a cell phone handy if you are going to be too far from home to run back. If the weather gets bad enough, seek some shelter and place a call to a family member or friend. If no one is available, try to wait out the weather before running back. Again, if you feel comfortable approaching a nearby home, a friendly neighbor might be able to help. Being a woman, alone most of the time, I don't tend to use that option but if you know someone around the area feel free to get help. 
If you really want to finish the run, head to an indoor track!

Issue: Wrong Attire
Adaptation: One of my least favorite adaptations to make deals with clothing. I swear before I left the house it was 40 degrees, now it's near 60 and I am wearing capris! Before the run on a strange temperature day, dress in layers. There are so many great moisture/sweat "wicking" material out there that work great for layering. While on the run, the best option is to de-layer. Strip down as much as you feel comfortable with. Tying your shirt around your waist is not the most fashionable thing, but it works!

Issue: Feeling Sluggish or Slow
Adaptation: Knocking down 7 minute miles can take a lot out of you. If one day you aren't hitting your desired pace, slow it down. Keep your heart rate down if you wear a monitor, or keep the per mile pace slower on your GPS. Although it might take a conscious effort to slow down your body will reap the rewards. If you body is too sluggish but you want to get a workout in, go for a weight lifting routine, or yoga. If all else fails, take the day off. There are days that you just need the rest! 
Issue: Cramping
Adaptation: More water. More electrolytes. More potassium. If you are on long run, consider taking a sugary snack with you (try gummies if you can chew, jelly beans or other "sports" candy). For pre-run and post-run, have an extra banana and some sports drink (think Gatorade or Powerade). If you are on the run, stop, take minute to re-stretch those muscles that are feeling tight. If you can stand walking for a few minutes, try that as well.

Bottom line: if it hurts, doesn't feel right or is horrible weather, postpone your run or take it inside.

Running should (and can be, I swear!) a time for relaxing, feeling great and getting faster. It shouldn't be a painful, hurtful and detrimental exercise.

So get out there and run!

It is sunny and gorgeous here today!

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