Weather Can be a Blessing and a Curse

I’ve always run outdoors, where I’ve discovered it can be uncomfortably hot, cold, or wet.

I’ll persevere through the hot part, but not so much through freezing cold or heavy rains.

I know there are many runners out there who stick to their training routine even if it’s 25 degrees and sleeting. I’ve seen you in your sweatshirts and shorts.

Not this Miami boy. I took more days off than normal this winter because I won’t run if the temperature in the morning is much below 35 degrees.

But there is one day a year when it can’t get cold enough for me. I’ll be happy if Atlanta’s temperature ties an all-time low for July 4th about 8 a.m. About eight degrees below the all-time high of 80 for the AJC Peachtree Road Race start would be fine.

Over the years I’ve participated in the race on days so humid everyone was soaked before they reached the start line, even though it didn’t rain. And I’ve run it on days so sun-splashed and hot that I hugged the east side of Peachtree Road to try to catch the shadows cast by buildings as the sun rose on my left.

Most years I try to avoid the occasional water sprinklers that are aimed at the runners until the last couple of miles. I don’t like to run in soaked shoes.
holy water

I make an exception for the sprinkle given out at Jesus Junction by Sam Candler, Dean of the Cathedral of St. Philip, (shown here splashing some holy water on my friend Kathy).

I’ve run in every Peachtree since 1990 and not many rain drops have fallen on my head. But July 4, 1994 a steady cooling mist probably kept me from keeling over somewhere in Midtown.

I did a poor job of training that year, even by my standards. I probably should have slept in. But that would have meant taking a hard look at some of my bad habits (cough, cough).

I was determined to make it. I was overheated before I got out of Buckhead. Without a steady cool spritzing from the drizzle, I don’t know how I could have crossed the finish line. I can’t say that it’s a Peachtree strategy I recommend.

Do you keep up your training schedule, through rain, sleet or snow? Has there been a year when the weather kicked your Peachtree game up a notch? On the other hand, has there been a July 4th when you chalked up a disappointing run to lousy weather?

2 comments Add your comment

Reid in EAV

April 29th, 2010
8:13 am

My training routine during the week is pretty treadmill-friendly, so particularly in the winter I do a lot of training runs (intervals, tempo runs, even recovery runs) on the ‘mill. But I always do the weekend long runs outside, without exception, usually at the crack of dawn on Saturday mornings.

This was my first winter of truly sticking to that, and what I discovered was that once you get past the first mile or so, as long as you’re dressed properly (hat, gloves and some good wicking core insulation are essential) running in the winter is FANTASTIC! There’s never a worry about overheating, you don’t need nearly as much hydration and the contrast between sweaty effort and cold temps reminds me of my other favorite outdoor activity, skiing. (I even got in a run in the ice and slush just past Christmas, when many others — even some local running clubs — were calling off their runs for the day.)

On the contrary, runs in the heat and humidity are completely miserable. The sweat has no place to go, you need a gallon of water, and the discomfort is palpable. Give me 25F any day.


April 29th, 2010
8:51 am

2009’s weather was pretty terrific. Getting on MARTA around 6:30 was *almost* chilly – a pretty confusing experience for Atlanta in July! I think it buoyed my slack training and got me to Piedmont Park faster than I deserved. :)