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Aug 17, 2022

A Tale of Two Cities: Training for and Running a Marathon in Different Climates

Training for a marathon—really training for a marathon—requires grit, grind and gratitude. I completed my first and only marathon to date in 2020 at the Little Rock Marathon in Little Rock, Ark. But after verbally committing to running a full marathon with my run squad, I failed to physically prepare. A full marathon is not something anyone should ever attempt to wing. Fast forward to now, and I am gearing up for my second go at it. This time, it’s the 2022 Bank of America Chicago Marathon in October. But, preparing for the fall race season demands a grueling training schedule during the hottest time of the year. The sweltering and sometimes stifling temps of the summer are in stark contrast to the cool Midwest temps in the fall. So, how do you beat the heat and the urge to quit?

Trade the track for the treadmill.
If you’re anything like me, chances are you’re paying for a gym membership for access to the showers after an outdoor run (and not for the use of the equipment). But the gym can provide a much-needed retreat from the heat and a break for your body from the pounding of the pavement. It also allows you to mix it up a bit by giving you a change of scenery and pace. An added benefit of the treadmill is that you can control all aspects of the workout, including speed, incline, warmups and cool downs.

The concept and benefits of hydration are well known to us runners, but sometimes bear repeating. Ensuring you intake adequate amounts of water is as important as ensuring you fuel your body for your runs. Proper hydration is vital to you staying safe and healthy while training, as water regulates your body temperature, keeps your joints lubricated, prevents muscle cramps, promotes energy and replenishes fluids released while running. But remember, sometimes water alone doesn’t deliver. Stay mindful that we need to add electrolytes to replace mandatory minerals lost through sweat that are necessary for energy, endurance and muscle function.

Fatigue can literally stop you in your tracks and derail your training by keeping you from performing, which is why rest days are built into most training plans. A day of rest allows your body to repair tissues damaged from the stresses of exercise, helps you stay motivated by allowing you to mentally recover along with your muscles, reduces the chance for injury and supports your immune system, all while aiding in your overall performance when running or working out. Consequently, overtraining can have adverse effects including restless sleep, burnout, weight gain and changes in mood.

Consistency in your training is key to improve muscle strength, to boost endurance and to reaching your goals. Indeed, repetitive runs condition our bodies by burning fat, building muscle and ramping up our stamina, but they can also improve our physical, mental and emotional well-being through greater cardiovascular fitness, better body composition (less fat), lower cholesterol, glucose and insulin control, stronger bones, better hormone regulation and positive neurological functioning.

So, go ahead, lace up and train, train, train but remember to be just as vigilant in ensuring your rest, recovery and refuge from the heat. See you at the start (and finish) line!

By: Joy Harrell @joyrunsrealestate

Joy Harrell is a licensed real estate agent and co-owner of The Sift Sisters bakery based in Houston, Texas. She is a native Houstonian and graduate of the University of Houston—go Coogs! When she is not helping people buy, sell or invest in real estate, she can be found hanging or traveling with her hubby, running or biking the streets and trails in and around Houston, mentoring girls or testing new food and cocktail recipes.