Run smart or run stupid? That is the question. 

I spent a lot of time thinking about this on my run this morning. We are currently in the middle of a heat advisory. At one point today, the ‘real feel’ was 103! 0_O Holy crap!  I had 10 miles to run and the middle 8 were to be at race pace. Needless to say, that didn’t happen today. Instead, I chose to run smart and not push myself to the point of heat stroke or injury.  There is a fine line between smart and stupid running, especially if you’re a stubborn runner like me!  The stubborn side of me really wanted to push it and go for the 8 miles at race pace, but with the humidity combined with the heat, it just wasn’t going to happen.  In training, you have to push yourself and push your limits but you also need to know when and how to take care of yourself.

Make sure you are hydrated, that means more than just bringing water along on your run.  That means drinking plenty of fluids beforehand and after.  I drink like a fish, so usually I’m pretty good in this department! 🙂 I also like to carry a couple bucks along with me in case I run out and I can stop at a convenience store and grab a bottle of water or Gatorade.

Another thing I had to stop being stubborn about was walk breaks.  For a long time I refused to walk or take breaks when running, I would say it was quitting or I wasn’t trying hard enough and so on.  That isn’t the case, especially in situations like today when Mother Nature has it out for you!  If you do decide to take a walk break try to go 15-20 seconds and start running again, that way you don’t find yourself walking the entire rest of the way.  Give yourself a limit and if you need another walk break in a half mile, take it!

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Bring fuel!! My rule of thumb is to always bring fuel.  I’d rather have it and not need it, than need it and not have it.  Your choice for fuel is up to you, gel, GU, sport beans, chews, etc. If you aren’t sure about which works best for you or what flavors you would like, go to your local running store.  Many smaller stores will let you sample flavors and some even have sample sizes to take home and try.

Consider your route/course.  I will admit, that was something I did not do very well today.  The route I chose had very little shade and it really made things much more difficult.  I did take advantage of shade when I came across it.  There were plus sides to my route as well.  I had access to water fountains, porta johns, as well as convenience stores in case I needed more water.

Consider the time of day.  Most of us know by now that the best times to run in the summer are early morning or late in the day when the sun is setting.  The reason…..it’s not as hot.  The sun isn’t as high in sky and beating down on you.  If you want to run smart this time of year, definitely take a look at the forecast and try to plan and go early in the morning.

What things do you keep in mind when you are running SMART?? 🙂

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