We did not run at 5 am.
I have decided that my genuine dislike for running in the pre-dawn dark far outweighs any dislike of running in heat. And this time of year in this part of the country that’s what it comes down to. A choice between darkness and relative cool or daylight and heat.
I choose heat and light. Besides, all that sweat streaming out of every pore has to be good for the body on several levels.
Which isn’t to say that the transition from running in the pre-dawn cool(ish) temperatures to the after work everything-but-cool(ish) ones is an easy transition to make.
There are lessons to be learned.
Things to be taken into account.
And in no particular order those things are:
- Wardrobe. Not just light weight, but light colored. The magenta tech shirt I was wearing today was, I swear to you, seeking out rays of sunlight to absorb!
- Hydration. This is a three-fold consideration and I made mistakes at every fold.
Fold One – Pre-Hydration: I was sucking down fluids all afternoon to insure that I went into the run fully hydrated. Good for me! However, rather than focusing on plain water I drank Crystal Light Pure (zero artificial sweeteners and tastes like grape Kool-Aid). The problem with this was that it gave me a false sense of feeling ‘full’ that carried right straight through to my run time.
Fold Two – During-Hydration: I had my water belt and both 10 oz bottles were filled with water. Room temperature tap water. Having it starting out a tad on the cooler-than-room-temp side would have been nice.
Fold Three – Post-Hydration: It would have been very beneficial to have had some chilled Gatorade for after the run.
This was also my first ever experience doing a trail run and I have to say I really enjoyed it and will definitely be keeping this particular hilly trail as part of our conditioning runs on Mondays, Wednesdays, and/or Thursdays.
So far I like the ‘softer landing’ of the dirt and loose gravel.
I think having to be mindful of how and where my feet are landing is also helping me to keep my tendency to run like a duck (heels in – toes out) under control and land my feet pointed more straight forward. From what I’ve read keeping one’s feet straight goes a long way towards helping with the tracking of the patella and reducing strain on the patellar tendon.
Having to be mindful of footfall and terrain also keeps me at the more Ye Olde Knee Friendly 12:00 min/mile pace that works best for me.
I also think the unpaved trail went a long way towards ratcheting YOK’s noise making down from The Scream to merely voicing a few complaints in a clearly audible voice. That yes, I listened to.
And there’s just something that feels so much more Runner-y about running off the beaten, sidewalked, streeted path.
The only real downsides are:
Pebbles in socks/shoes.
Dust in . . . well dust just everywhere.
No real shade to speak of – at least on this trail.
And here where we are there are a somewhat limited number of off-road trails for running. But I’ve only just begun to do this so I have miles to go before I start getting anything close to ‘bored’.
Oh, and that “Just run for the fun of it” thing I was planning on? That was in there too. In between the “I should have thought of this before!” moments I really enjoyed running the trail just for the running of it.
Distance: 3.24 miles
Avg Speed: 12:44 min/mi
Calories: 482 kcal (I was robbed – it was hotter than 482 kcal)
I’ll take that and run with it. More importantly – I’ll continue running with it.