Cooler = Faster
It was 64 degrees with a brisk breeze as I walked outside at 7 AM this morning. That’s rare for the summer in Georgia and with a heatwave about to strike I knew that I had to make the most of the cooler-than-average weather. The heat index will probably be into the 110’s by the weekend and that doesn’t sound like very much fun for running.
After warm ups and stretching, I decided to run one of my favorite routes (affectionate known as Ardsley Park 5K). For a twist, I chose to run the course in the opposite direction. That’s one of my regular tricks to mix up the monotony of my morning runs. Just when a route starts to seem boring and you know instinctively where your mile markers and challenging spots are located, run it backwards. It’s a whole new race.
The different view and cooler temperatures really paid off. Despite some knee and side pain that persisted through miles two and three, I ran one of my fastest times in recent memory, averaging 8:43 min/mi with 8:27 for my first ten minute split. I’ve had trouble breaking the 9 minute/mile mark, so I was happy with my pace. I’m currently running with a coaching prompt of 10 minutes run and 30 seconds walk. While the walk break isn’t needed, it’s there to remind me to look around and enjoy my runs. During those breaks I’ll often stop completely and take a picture or admire a neighbor’s landscaping. Savannah is a gorgeous town that I too often take for granted.
I listened to Alec Baldwin’s Here’s the Thing podcast. The latest episode was a great interview with David Letterman, someone who is usually on the other side – asking questions instead of answering them. It was quick paced, varied and interesting. Perfect for tuning out the sound of my feet hitting the pavement and letting the miles fly by.
Regardless of what was in my headphones or the beauty of my surroundings, I know that it was the weather that made my run fast. I’ve said it often – what makes you faster is simply running faster. When it’s hot, I’m sluggish, even with a good attitude. The breeze and lower temp made the running faster part easier. If only every morning could start out like that.
As for that pain in my left side and right knee, my wife has convinced me that I need new shoes. I’m around 400 miles in to my Asics Gel-Cumuluses (my first real running shoes) and so I’ve ordered a replacement pair. Same make, same model. Hopefully I’ll have some cooler weather to break them in – but I’m not going to count on that. There’s nothing like being drenched in thick, salty Savannah sweat to make new shoes feel like an old companion.