Follow these tips if your running is stuck in a rut.
The end of the summer is a difficult time to be a distance runner. After several months of oppressive heat and, depending on where you live, smothering humidity, your legs and lungs are likely fried. Your motivation flags and achieving that fall goal seems impossible to attain. No matter if you’re training for your first marathon or are a veteran of many, the requisite weekly long runs and high-mileage training in sweltering conditions can be downright demoralizing.
For many runners, an end-of-summer slump complete with drudgery and malaise is inevitable. Workouts are harder to nail. Long runs often seem an impossible task. Just lacing up your training shoes is a real chore, knowing you’re about to head outside and melt. A 3-mile run can sometimes seem like 30. The mind seeks out ways of talking the body into lying on the couch and soaking up the air conditioning instead of getting out the door to train.
What’s a weary runner to do? Is there a cure for the late-summer slump?
Of course there is, but before you try to remedy the late-summer slump, it’s important to understand that you are not alone. Elite athletes, age-group-aces and recreational runners who live in warm-weather climates all have to deal with this formidable challenge.
Hot and humid summer weather is its own stimulus. Sure, it’s tough grinding through a sweltering day, but don’t forget that these conditions can also make you a lot stronger as you wait for the cooler weather to arrive. Approach the late-summer season with caution. Experiment with your training approach and open up your mind to trying new ways to cope with scorching, sticky situations.
RELATED: Are You A Motivated Runner?
Distance running isn’t for the faint of heart; it takes courage to hit the streets and trails, especially in the heat. The same, day-in, day-out routine, especially when weather conditions are challenging, can lead to boredom, mental fatigue and even injury.
Top athletes and coaches such as Brad Hudson (an elite marathon coach based in Boulder. Colo.), Jason Hartmann (fourth place at the Boston Marathon in 2012 and 2013), Bob Hodge (a former 2:10 marathoner and third-place finisher at the Boston Marathon) and John Honerkamp (a coach with the New York Road Runners) have experienced late-summer slumps themselves and with the athletes they mentor. Here are their top 10 tips to help keep you plugging away when the dog days of summer roll around this month.