Running · Summer

Ode to Summer Running

While this isn’t necessarily a running blog, running is one of my hobbies, so I’ll talk about it here now and again.  I found myself injured a couple of years ago and unable to run.  It was at that time that I realized how much I rely on running to keep me sane.  Despite that fact, I’ve always had a bit of a love/hate relationship with the act of running.  I always feel better once the run is over, but I sometimes dread every moment before and during the run.  That seems particularly true this summer.  I don’t know about y’all, but the weather this year is killing me!  Summer is always tough for me, but this year the heat and humidity is never-ending and I am so over it.  Not only are my paces and energy suffering, but {warning: TMI here} I’ve had awful GI issues as well.

It’s a well-known fact that performance is going to suffer in the heat and humidity, but I’ve always felt like I was on an island when it comes to the GI issues…until recently.  I’ve spoken with some other runners that have dealt with that issue as well.  While we seem to be a minority (at least those of us who admit to it are a minority), it is a real issue and I’ve done a bit of research to back it up.  When you run, the body diverts blood flow away from your digestive system to the muscles and skin, as they need it more during exercise.  Additionally, a study by N.J. Rehrer and colleagues at the University of Limburg in the Netherlands found that, when dehydrated and running in the heat, your stomach empties significantly more slowly.  In the heat and humidity, your body must sweat more to control body temperature.  The lack of blood flow and excretion of water through sweat, combined with the excess contents in the stomach, seems to create a perfect storm for GI issues.  The solution seems simple enough: hydration.  In practice it can be tough, though, especially when you seem to sweat all day in this never-ending summer heat.  I haven’t yet reached the level of water intake needed to prevent my problem, but I’m vowing here and now to try.  This year more than ever, it has put a hamper on my training by sidelining me for many workouts.

In my delirious state the other day while trying to slog through yet another torturous run, I began singing to myself.  As we all are suffering, I am sharing the song I made up with you.  Please enjoy to the tune of “Summer Nights” from Grease.

Summer runnin’ is kicking my ass / Summer runnin’, ain’t nowhere near fast / my nemesis is humidity / air so thick I can barely breathe / Summer days driftin’ away, but oh how the Fall will be nice…

If you’re struggling through this heat and humidity (which is hopefully almost over), please be careful and HYDRATE!

sweat