This summer saw the UK have one of the best heatwaves we have had in a long time….and still as I type this, the lack of rain we’ve had is very unusual. We mustn’t complain, it’s been a while since we can say “we’ve had a decent summer”, I think when we look back on 2018 at the end of December we can certainly use this phrase.
As for running, the heat has made it slightly more challenging but I made a point of getting out in it, not letting it stop me and tried to embrace it as I knew it wouldn’t last forever. So as I look back on this summers training with the first day of Autumn tomorrow, can I say its been a success? With a 10k and Half Marathon PB under my belt I think we can say it’s definitely been a scorcher, but it hasn’t been all cupcakes and rainbows. Let’s dive in…
Initial Heat Struggles
So as with most of us UK runners,we don’t do so well in the heat. When it initially landed you could smell BBQ’s everywhere you walked, suddenly vests and flip flops started appearing in the streets and the threat of a hose pipe ban was mentioned on numerous occasions.
I made a point of getting out in the heat and did this very cautiously. I started off by walking everywhere, ensuring 2 miles were covered per day on foot in the first week. Each run that week was also done early morning or late evening to stay out of the heat.
Week 2 rolled around and I got more confident, attempting my easy runs in the midday heat. At the time it was a struggle but by the end of the week I felt like I was running with a turbo booster on my back. The days when we had slightly cooler weather I felt like I was flying and I knew how important heat training can be for endurance work. As I don’t live anywhere that would allow for good altitude training (as with 99% of the UK) I knew this would be a great alternative.
By week 3 the heat wasn’t even a concern and I continued my training as per normal, racking up the mileage again to my normal 40/50 miles and we were back to normal.
To Hot For Racing
So early June just before the heat wave started I clocked my new 10k PB of 36.39 at the Summer Speedway in Beachley, Chepstow. With Gloucester 10k in July a few weeks later I eyed another strong performance, unfortunately this wasn’t to be. Although it didn’t affect training anymore, racing in these hot conditions was brutal and at 9am it was already 24 degrees and rising…I came in over a minute slower than I had a month before and only 6 seconds quicker than last years time.
As a competitive person and someone always looking to better themselves…this was a tough pill to swallow. I felt like my training had been great and I was really well adapted to the heat but as I stated above, racing in it was just a step too far. It has certainly made me hesitant of racing in the summer next year.
Stop And Start Throughout August
I thrive on routine so for me my normal 40/50 mile weekly target is my bread and butter of my running week. However when it comes to school holidays and someone who has two children in primary school, its a time of the year when we have to change and adapt…mould our routine around holidays and day trips or just miss the odd run here and there.
This isn’t something I take lightly….I appreciate there are bigger things in life as a very amateur runner but routine is everything to me so to see some weekly mileage totals around the 30 mark and others at 50 annoys me slightly!! I know it might sound petty to some people but I know my body thrives on a solid 7/8 week training block of 40+ miles so I know I could of got more from myself this summer.
Having said that, it’s been the best summer i’ve had with the family and I wouldn’t trade the lack of running (despite my moaning) for anything. Our children are only young once so its important to make the most of their time off.
To achieve a 10k and half marathon PB this summer has been something I couldn’t of imagined…I always believed we race at our peak in spring and autumn but this summer has proven otherwise.
I am keen to finish off the year strong now with some more hard work before we jump into marathon training in January. Winter for me is my best time of year to train but I am determined to make this Autumn just as successful. I still have that fresh taste of success and I want more.