A marathon runner and coach of Ashva running club, Brijesh Gajera talks about how you can be all charged up to take on the Summer without being fatigued.
Parched throats. Beads of sweat. The unrelenting sun.
For most of us endurance runners, the very word summer invokes anxiety, distress and profuse sweating (pun intended!). And rightfully so!
We spend hours on the road building consistency and a training momentum which inevitably in the summer season comes to a grinding halt. Whether it is the dry heat of the Northern and Central Indian plains or the sticky, humid weather of Peninsular India, we certainly crib at the thought of venturing outdoors to run in summer.
But, let’s take a pause here, go back in time and bring to mind some of our summer childhood memories. My guess is that it was probably your favourite time of the whole year rich with stories and lots of happy moments. The heat was at no point a deterrent, I’m sure but the way you approached it was quite different. You looked forward to it for all the right reasons – the long break from studies, a visit to your grandparents or cousins, summer camps or a fun getaway to someplace nice. There was always something new to look forward to each summer.
That should be the approach you take even as we are all grown-up especially when it comes to the aspect of training.
Here is what you can do during the long summer days without getting fatigued and feeling all charged up for what lies ahead:
Keep it Short and Intense
If you have not done speed or interval workouts before, this is a good time to try it. There are ways you could do some quality training in a short time. HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) boosts your cardiovascular fitness and improves VO2 Max. But beware – too much too soon is a recipe for disaster. So, restrict it to just once a week for not more than 30 minutes. Even better, get help from an experienced runner or hire a coach to guide you. A short stair-climbing session once a week is also quite helpful if you cannot do any other form of HIIT.
Run Less, More Often
You can increase the number of days you run in a week by reducing the distance you cover each day. That way you will keep your weekly mileage, but it will not be as taxing or draining as doing very long runs in the heat of summer where your energy will be depleted.
Be the Night Rider
Occasionally try running during the late evenings or nights. If you are planning to run an ultra-marathon or a night marathon, this will be a good time to start training yourself to run in the dark. If not, it will at least make you appreciate the beauty the night sky has to offer and the relief it brings from the dull summer days.
Sign Up for Something New
Ever wanted to try your hand at yoga, martial arts or swimming classes but running was getting in the way? This is a good time to sign up for a class which can help you with overall fitness and can also have a chance at learning something new. You can apply the learning in your running later and when you come back to training for the busy season ahead, you will have an extra ace up your sleeve.
Drink and be Merry – avoid alcohol though!
Ever wondered why Mother Nature bestows us with the juiciest fruits in summer? Because that is what we need to hydrate ourselves with, in the scorching heat. So, while you work out or not, make sure you drink plenty of water and juices to keep your body cool and receive the vital nutrients it needs.
How About an Active Vacation?
This is my favourite part. A trek to the top of the mountains is a definite on my list. This is a great time to plan a vacation to some cold place. Spend some time there, walk around, go for a jog or a hike, get to know the local people, culture, food, etc. Come back rejuvenated and relaxed.
Keep it fun and mix it up. Search within yourself and go back to being that child who yearned for hot summer days.