Hot Weather Training in full swing!

First, let me say "Yes! I made it through June!" ::fist bump::Boom::

The high temperatures and humidity, my 39.3 mile Avon Walk, the brutal 93F North Shore Half Marathon, and 106 miles of 'foot time' all combined to make June a challenging month for me. And I am happy to say I survived it. I ended Marathon Training Week 3 with 21.1 miles across four runs (marathon training miles to-date: 60.8). Crossing the 100-mile threshold for the second time this year is pretty cool -- another milestone that last year I thought I'd never be able to reach.

I have changed my training program to include four running days now, and 1-2 days of cross-training (depending upon how the body feels). This week was so hot that even at 5:30am, the temps were in the 73-76F range and very humid. That certainly added to the difficulty level. So this week looked like this:

Tuesday: Interval Training. This is where you focus on speedwork. I have a set of three speed runs of 500m (1/3 mile) with a 1-minute recovery walk/jog between them. Then I follow the set with a 5-minute easy run. I do this twice. And I always do a 5-minute warm-up at the start and a 5-minute cool-down at the end. Today my run segments were at a 9:00/mm pace (actually 3 of the segments were run at a 8:50/mm pace). That was a good workout!

Wednesday: Tempo Run. This is where you run at a pace close to your Race Pace. Today I ran for 3.11 miles (a 5K) in 28:29 at a 9:11/mm pace. This was 40 seconds off my fastest 5K time, but given the heat I was okay with my performance.

Thursday: Easy Run. This is just a 'get out and run' day, where I don't look at my sports watch and just run at a pace that feels comfortable. This day was the hottest day in the week, with the temp at 77F with high humidity when I walked out of the house at 5:30am. But in spite of that, my run went very well. I ran for 4.05 miles at a 10:33/mm pace (faster than I would have guessed) and felt strong the entire run.

Sunday: Long Slow Run. This is where you train your body to burn fat efficiently for fuel and to work on your endurance (not speed). You can't go too slowly on a Long Run. I went out with my Marathon Training group and hung with the 11:30/mm pace group. We ran for a solid 9.2 miles this morning at an 11:42/mm pace. The route had some decent hills and we ran those. It was really a lot of fun because of the camaraderie among our pace group. The temperature was 76F when we started, and 86F when we finished! But we all finished strong, and headed for the pool afterwards for our 'ice bath" -- boy did that feel good!

After this week, I think my body is starting to acclimate to running in the heat. I really enjoy running in the cooler temps, but maybe I can make the adjustment to warm weather running. I have the Rock-n-Roll Chicago Half Marathon coming up on July 22nd, so I am really hoping to be able to run that race well even if it turns out to be a hot day.

Next week will be 'more of the same.' Except this time, it will be in Indianapolis. I have a two-week church conference there (which I am really excited about!) and the average temperature out there is going to be 95F. I am going to try to stick with my training schedule and get out there at 5:30am (or thereabouts). I have a 3.8 mile loop defined along the River which should be pretty and is just a few blocks from my hotel. I am also running a 5K race sponsored by the Episcopal Church Women organization on July 8th which should be a fun event.

For those readers who are Episcopalians and are interested in what is happening at our General Convention, I will be posting on my other blog "Random Musings" about my reflections and observations of the flow of Convention. I am the First Alternate Deputy for the Diocese of Chicago.

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