Couch to 5K Summer Running: Heat and Humidity


Hey! Did you know that running in heat and humidity is about seventeen times as difficult as running in crisp, cool morning air? Interesting.

I did more slogging (slow jogging) yesterday. I finished C25K Week 1 Day 4. Yes, Day 4. And yes, there are only supposed to be three days. I’ve already decided to just keep doing the week one program until I feel less like dying. I thought I was making good progress at the end of last week, but yesterday was HARD! My legs felt like lead and near the end my stomach felt not so good… but I did finish.

So I am definitely repeating week 1 at least this time, and there is a decent chance I will repeat it again. I want running to be something I can feel good about, something that makes me happy and helps me feel good after I workout. Since I will be running these hills in hot and humid weather from now on (thanks, Maryland, for skipping Spring entirely and plunging head first into Summer) I don’t want to push things too far. I hate humidity and it totally zaps my energy, so I am feeling pretty good about finishing those eight sixty second “run” segments at all. Who knows how many times I will end up doing the same week 1 program. I’d like to only repeat it this week and then move on for next week, but I just don’t know how realistic that is.

Anyone out there had to repeat a week more than once, particularly one of the first couple of weeks? I feel a little self conscious about it.

So how did I eventually survive the run? I drank LOTS of water. I was absolutely pouring sweat, so I was trying to recover some lost moisture. I tried to take it even slower than normal, although in the end when I tracked my route on Daily Mile it looks like I was faster than before… I wore a tank top and some capris, trying to uncover as much skin as possible without giving anyone in the neighborhood a show.* And finally, I talked myself through the last run segment. It happened to fall on a hill, and it was KILLING me to run uphill for that final sixty seconds.

So, like any good crazy person runner, I talked my way through it.  “Come on. It’s the last run. Keep going. Keep going. Last run. You can do it. Come on. Last run. The last. Just this one. Do it. Last run.” Over and over and over, out loud, through panting and sweating. And it got me up that hill and through the final run segment. Sometimes, finishing is about sheer stubborn pride for me.

At this point, I am not sure of running will be my sport. But I WILL finish the C25K program. I WILL complete a 5K, just to prove to myself and the world that I can. And that might be all. I might never run again once this is all said and done, but I will have done all I could to try it out.

I feel good about my progress for the most part. Of course I wish I could stick to the schedule, but I have to stick with what I can manage, and in the end I will be that much more proud of myself. If only I’d lost weight this week too…

*At one, very awkward, point in my walk/slog, I was being followed down the street by a guy in a work van. At first I thought he was just keeping his distance until he was sure I knew he was there. I run with my iPod, so sometimes cars will sort of pace behind me until I look back and acknowledge them. I suppose they’re trying to confirm that I won’t randomly veer into the street? Odd, but safe I suppose. This van, however, kept pace (slow, slow pace) behind me through the whole sixty second run segment. It was weird. I wanted to stop so he would go by, but I didn’t want to stop running. I finished the segment and stepped closer to the side of the road (no sidewalks here!), where I promptly rolled my ankle a little, and he finally drove past me. Of course, a few minutes (and another run segment) later, I passed him sitting outside of one of the houses I run by, and I felt….. ogled. It was creepy.

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8 Responses

  1. There have actually been studies to show that the optimum temperature for running is somewhere between 40 and 50 degrees. I’d still rather run in the summer though. Maybe slow but so much easier than bundling up!

  2. Congratulations on the progress so far. I’m going to have to repeat week 1 at least once myself, but I want to do this right rather than force my body to conform and then allow it to collapse.

    Good luck and thanks for joining the challenge!

  3. You are doing it!! That’s all that counts, no-one is going to ask you how many repeats you did in C25K when you run your 5k.

    That van would freak me out – guess I should be happy I bought a dreadedmill so I don’t have to worry about wierd dudes!!

  4. Oh my goodness, I can’t run in the summer. I’m going to have to get over that, but seriously, when it gets hot it gets HARD. Give me a treadmill in a cold gym please! I mean, in the worst of summer it’s near 100 degrees here. It’s only 85 ish now so its doable. That won’t last long.

  5. I followed you here from the Feminist Breeder breastfeeding post.

    Before Couch to 5K, I did not think I could run. I did the 1.5-mile run in high school (because grades were more important to me than death-by-running). I never ran again.

    I finally did Couch to 5K, and it was amazing! I could run! I really could! I never actually made it to a 5K (I am SO slow), but I was moving my body in a running-like-motion! It was very empowering for me. I’ve fallen off the wagon of exercising, but that empowerment stays with me. I tried running again after months of no exercise, and I was able to jog for about 13 minutes. Now, to a real runner, that’s pitiful. But for me, who struggled to run for 30 seconds on the first day of Cto5K, that was fantastic! Keep it up!

  6. Ah, slogging – that is the name for what I have been doing! I am doing the C25K thing too, and those times that my running interval comes on a hill are the WORST. Even the slightest incline makes it a hundred times more difficult. Way to go for pushing through and getting it done!

  7. I live in WDC so I understand the heat situation. I just finished my 2nd time of week 3, which means I have been doing C25K for 4 weeks total. I have run at 2am, 8am, 12pm, all outside.
    I am at a point that I don’t know what to do because as we all know the week 3 is running/walking 90 seconds and then running/walking 3 minutes 2 times each. I am fine with running 90 seconds at this point, but running 3 minutes is very very difficult to the point where I want to quit but just really slow down so much I am almost walking but still jogging, if that makes sense to you. What do I do? I definitely can not go on to the next step, because to run 5 minutes is just not something I can do, but to repeat this step one more week seems like I am not progressing as I should be, Any tips???

    • Honestly, I’d say running indoors on a treadmill or in the gym would be the best bet for the summer. I had to repeat every week twice, so I’d say just keep repeating the week your on until you feel like you’re ready to move on. There is no deadline here, nobody judging you or caring when you finish. No matter how long it takes, you’ll still be running a 5K when you’re done. Go as slowly as you need to. It’s going to feel tough, but for me the three minute run was not as hard as I thought it was going to be. If you KNOW you aren’t ready to go five minutes, just keep repeating this week. There is no “should be!” I actually stopped after week 4 because it just got too hot and I plan to pick it back up in the fall, but I repeated every week twice up to that point and often felt like I wasn’t making enough progress. But think back to your very first day of week one. I bet you’ve made a ton of progress since then, it’s just hard to see it for yourself.

      Good luck, and you’re awesome for getting out there to run.

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