Summer Training

English: race walking Español: marcha atlética

After my run this morning in the hot Summer sun, I realized what I wanted to think about today. Oh my, it was so warm outside in the Park and I cannot complain because I was saying how cold it was. Many people have already covered the topic of hot weather running but as always I like to put my own spin on it.

Lately, I have found many of  my friends coming back from races with bandages and ice packs (you know who you are). It’s special outdoor event season again. In some places it never stopped, but here in the Northeast it happens every Spring when all of the lovely run for a cause, triathlon, marathon, 5k and cycling events take over the streets and City Parks.

What all this means for me is that I have to walk the walk and get to training for the upcoming races in the fall. Usually, by now I would have a steady schedule for my workouts, but my race schedule changed when all of my races changed dates and filled up. I am counting on 2014 to be what I had planned for this year.

The Summer brings many different activities like: Running, swimming, rollerblading, cycling, and walking. I want to speak about running, walking and swimming. I want to start with Summer walking since it’s the most common activity, but it can be a deceptively difficult activity in the heat.

My girlfriend is an avid walker. She walks both for fitness and to train for races. I was exposed to race walking many years ago when I started to lose weight. I had many pounds to lose and I could not run.  I believe it is a great sport for those who feel that it is too much on their joints to run but love to race. The benefits of walking are Many.  It is a healthy pursuit, it is easy on the body and it is enjoyable.

When you begin training for a race and you are a walker, you do need to consider exactly how you are going to approach the training. The same workouts that a runner would perform are probably what you will want to do as well.  As far as the amount of distance you may need to walk, you will need to eventually practice the same distance as the race. If it is a 1/2 marathon that you are walking, you will have to walk the full 13 miles at some point in order to gauge your fitness. It will be a gradual thing so you should not panic over it but it will be important to remember. The intensity of your workout will depend on your fitness level and your fitness level will have to be raised if you are going to walk a race. Some races are walker friendly and they expect a slower time than other races. Other races are not so you may have to speed walk most of the race. Before you sign up, check into which type of race it is.

For runners, You know what you need to do. There are hundreds of books on how to start running and how to train for various races. For all races except the Marathon you will have to run the actual distance of the race or longer to prepare. Strength training and proper diet are other factors that need to be taken care of before you even sign up for the race. In hot weather everything changes.

Both walkers and runners should be aware of the time of day that they choose to do their workouts. Just as a gym has air conditioning in the Summer, you should consider doing your workouts in the cool times of the day. Many people run before dawn or after sunset, but if you need light to run try the Sunrise run or late sunset run. They are a great time to do your workout in the light until about September (in the Northern regions).

Dress appropriately for the temperature no matter whether it is warm or cold. Hats and headbands keep the sweat from your eyes and hats keep you safe from the strong sun. The sun is not a friend to everyone. By now you should know your own tolerance to the sun. Take this into account when you are out there on the run or walk.

Hydration and fueling up are very important issues to consider when going for a run or walk in the warmer months. Water is important to carry with you when you run or walk. I generally use water for my hydration needs but you can use any other hydration product. Avoid high sugar drinks like soda. They can add pounds and may not quench your thirst in the heat. The longer your work out the more water you will need. Bring a snack for a long walk is wise. Runners will use fuel bars, gels, fruits or candy to refuel. Walkers can do the same. Make sure your snack does not have a high calorie count as to counteract you calorie burn that you are getting from the exercise. Walkers remember you have to fuel up too.

Lastly, I would plan your recovery. Relaxing after your activity, should be a part of the training program. Sometimes I end up taking a power nap after a long run so I can regain my energy level. A bath or warm shower will help ease light pain.  In the case of more intense aches, you can use ice to decrease swelling and warm to relax muscles. Rejuvenation is the key to being ready to do the next day’s workout. Therefore early to bed my be the way for people who do morning runs or walks.

Remember try to make your workouts as enjoyable as possible. This way you can be prepared when race day comes not matter how you chose to do your race.



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