Center of the Running Universe
"Happiness mainly comes from our attitude, rather than external factors." –Dalai Lama
Does the title Center of the Running Universe refer to the actual sun, as in that's how freakin' hot it can get in the summer in DC and it feels like we're running on the sun? No. The title has more to do with the fact that many runners always keep chuggin' along, seemingly unaffected by adverse weather. Hence, the quote above applies to your training. Here is how it works:
The track workouts for DC Running Coach runners go very well in the summer. Remember there are a few ways to alter your workout in the hot summer weeks. So, let's get the mundane advice out of the way. Adapt, adapt, adapt. Keep checking the weather in advance and swap your workouts to take advantage of days where it isn't as hot or humid. Push your long run back as many days as you need to, or cut down the duration of the run. You can also spend half the run on a treadmill in instances like this. If the treadmill is at your gym with a shower, then you can cool off there as soon as you're done. "We always make time and adapt for the things we really want to do." –Common Knowledge
Living in DC, I see many, many runners out running well after 10pm every night of the week, including the weekends. Based on your schedule this may not be feasible, but I can only give them respect for staying dedicated. Not everyone can run early in the morning due to their schedules, so when I encourage folks to try running in the evening, I'm usually talking about after 8pm.
Stay motivated. The weather isn't always ideal, but stay motivated. The runners working toward a goal that they value are finding ways to get around the winter/summer weather (see above). Adjusting goals is also important, so remember that intensity is more important than pace (ahem, Garmin runners).
The last section of the Training Notes document I send to all my athletes is entitled Run Happy. This is my attempt to give the secret to running-happiness and find the center of your running-universe. The Dalai Lama was just in town, so the timing is appropriate. Even with the hot conditions, you should never have a "bad" run. Impossible. What was your mental approach to the run that made it so horrible by the time you finished? If world champions, whose competitive goals are loftier than ours, never have a bad workout, then why should we?
Someone once asked me if I ever have days when I don't feel like running. Yes. As a matter of fact, the week I was asked contained one of those days. It may have been one of my slower runs on paper, but a great run during its entirety. How so? I was outside, I like being outside. I finished the run for the allotted time I wanted to hit; that was important. I found a new street in DC I'd never been down before, that's always cool. And it meant I could take the following day as a rest day. So there were lots of reasons it was a good run despite the fact I really did not want to start the run and being that it was slow as molasses.
And as they say, there are always greater tragedies in the world. Stay positive. Don't let your training program dictate your mood during the week, don't let running ever get you down. There can be many turns in life that call for lots of mental energy and stress management, don't make physical activity one of those events. Balancing your work, play, social life, and personal relationships is what it means to be human and I never lose sight of that. That's why it's important we stay in touch and that's how a coach differs from online training programs. There needs to be the capacity to sympathize or empathize (difference) with the circumstances surrounding your run training and/or the goals you want to hit. Train, run, work out, exercise, etc because you want to, because you enjoy the activity for its own sake, and because you value being fit and healthy. If you can do that and maintain whatever competitive edge you have and still strive toward goals, then more power to you. I'm here to help no matter where you fall along that continuum.