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The 7 emotional stages of your first really hot run

The first run of summer can get really, really ugly.

Over the past two weeks, Canada has gone from winter to full-blown summer. If you’ve hit the trails in the past couple of weeks and found yourself feeling unprepared for the weather, you’re not alone.

Photo: Getty Images

by Madeleine Kelly

Your first really hot run is always a doozy – take it from Canadian marathoner Krista DuChene, who had a tough warm-weather workout on Saturday.


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Attempted a 10 km time trial yesterday. It was ugly. Very ugly. I staggered to the finish. Starting too fast on our first warm and humid day of the year made for a huge physical battle. I’ve only had a few experiences like this, which come every 3 or 4 years. It’s ok to be humbled. It’s good to know the next one will be better. With my Paris Runner’s Den team orange family out there (physically distancing of course), I wasn’t going to quit. There’s always something to be gained. Having this to train for during the pandemic has kept me motivated and given me purpose. I’ve always felt the joy in the pursuit. Although I’m sore, it feels good to feel normal again. Thanks, team! And a special thanks to Robyn, one of our many front line workers out there, caring for others (including me at the finish ??‍♀️) ?

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The goal was to run roughly a 10K time trial, but she says it felt awful. “I had a bunch of friends come to cheer me on, and I didn’t want to pull the plug. I’ve had a few experiences like this when I wasn’t prepared for the heat. One was in Russia at the World Championships in 2013. When you’re not used to the heat, it’s really tough to push through a workout.”

Here are the stages most runners experience on their first really hot summer day of running.

Stage 1 – blissful ignorance

Despite the hottest weather your body has experienced in six months, you lace up and hit the road around noon without a second thought. Like you have for the past few weeks, you don’t consider the weather much and head outside for your workout completely unaware of what’s about to hit you.

Stage 2 – realizing it’s really warm

You discover that it’s hot outside–like really, really hot. You think, “Maybe sunscreen would’ve been a good idea.” But you’ve already run a few kilometres from your home, so you forge on.

Stage 3 – I should’ve brought water

During every other season, unless you’re going to be gone for hours, water is optional on a run. You can get through most workouts without needing a bottle. However, the summer run is different. Loops are your friend. This way you can plant a bottle and come back for it every few kilometres.

Stage 4 – Legs stop working

This is when your body starts to turn on you. You foolishly didn’t consider the weather, you certainly haven’t been training for this and your body won’t take this crap anymore. Cue sandbag legs.

Stage 5 – I’ll cut this one a little early

Runners are persistent people, but when it comes to a warm-weather run gone wrong, don’t be a hero. If this run really isn’t happening, just call it a day and move on.

Stage 6 – The corner store stop

Once you’ve decided to cut your exceptionally sweaty run short, get yourself to the nearest convenience store and buy something cold. This is one of the rare times when a slushie is nutritionally recommended. Make sure you’re rehydrating.

Stage 7 – I’ll be better next time

DuChene says runners shouldn’t beat themselves up about a hard day, especially when it’s the first big run of summer.

“Easing into it, lowering [pace or distance] expectations, doing loops so that you can hydrate during your run, wear a hat and sunglasses, hydrate well when you get back and through the next day,” she says.

After all, summer running is the best. You just have to take a few more precautions.