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Florida “Spring” Training Tips

March 23, 2009

Well, here’s the thing about spring in Florida: it doesn’t so much exist.

Mostly we get one day where it rains a lot, and then one day you realize, Yikes, it’s hot–and there you go, it’s March, and summer’s pretty much here.

It was cool yesterday, a nice sunny day that our 4th and 5th graders at church got to enjoy a party in, but it’s the last cool snap we can expect.

So, at least for this Florida runner, when mid-March gets here, she starts thinking it’s time, not for spring training, but summer training, and summer training around here pretty much lasts from March until October. You see, here’s how temperature, relative humidity, and precipitation shakes out around here:

Mon           high/low          mean          rel. hum*      precip
Mar             79  / 61               70                82%                 3.3 in
Apr             82  / 65               74                79%                3.3 in
May           86  / 70                78                80%                5.7 in
Jun            89  / 73                81                84%                 7.5 in
Jul             90 / 75                 83                84%                 6.2 in
Aug          91  / 75                 83                 86%                6.3 in
Sep           89  / 74                 82                87%                9 in
Oct           85  / 71                  78                84%                 7 in

As you can see,though some of you are still seeing snow flurries, it’s starting to get fairly sweltering around here. It was in the low 70s and windy this weekend, but it’s the last coolish snap any of us are expecting until late November.

How do I train differently starting now? I hydrate a lot more as the temperatures and relative humidity climb–it’s crazy, but you can’t count on sweat to cool you off as much when it’s in the 90%-humidity range. And though the temperatures look like they’re starting to drop off by September, most Floridians think of it as the most hellish month–probably because it’s the most humid. It’s like living in a greenhouse. It’s why football games played at Dolphins Stadium have such a home-team advantage: anyone who’s been training in different conditions and then has to come play a 1 o’clock game down here is ill-prepared to come play a three-hour game in this heat. Physically, it’s an intense thing. So, you hydrate all day, in preparation for any kind of physical exertion.

Secondly, I stop worrying about pace for a month or longer. The fact is, heat will screw with your pace for a few weeks, until you get used to it. Last year, I couldn’t even run for a week or so–just had no endurance. Takes a while to work it out. You have to work that into your training program–run your speedwork by effort, or at least pay really close attention to your body to make sure you’re not dehydrated.

At the beginning of this season, I start stopping for water even on short runs–say six-milers or so. Don’t need it as much later in the season, but at first, while I get used to the heat, I prefer to schedule the water just in case.

And I start breaking out the sunblock, while planning for some bad-weather training. It seems at least once every three weeks I get rained on during a long run during the eight-month summer. ‘Ts okay. As was amply proven during the Gasparilla Marathon, bad weather training is excellent.**

*I’ve posted the relative humidity in the morning, when I train, which is usually higher than in the afternoon.

**Don’t you just love how I keep bringing up that race?

***Hurricane season is June 1 through November 30. That might be playing with our rainfall numbers.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. run4change permalink
    March 23, 2009 1:54 pm

    I would trade my cold and rainy 9 months for your hot ones any day. I am so freakin tired of the cold and rain. I ran a 10 on Sat. and 15 on Sun. and all I had was snow/rain mix with 33-36 degrees. I was getting totally mad during my runs because I am tired of it. Byby now.

  2. the Ringmaster permalink*
    March 25, 2009 12:16 pm

    I’m sorry, J; I guess my fallen human nature is leading me to want what I do not have. How does your landscaping look so beautiful, then–or were those pictures on your blog taken in a different season?

  3. run4change permalink
    March 25, 2009 3:13 pm

    No, those pics were taken recently during a short glimer of light. HAHA when the sun comes out we all run outside as fast as we can to soke it in before the clouds cover it up. So I have about 5 minutes to get out there. HAHAHAHA No it is not that bad, but everything is soooooooooooooo beautiful BECAUSE of the climate and rain and such. It is just that I only get to really really enjoy it for about three months out of the year.

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