With marathon training in full swing, my runs are getting longer, which means strategically planning my routes. I of course need to make sure I get the miles in, but I also need to plan for water refills along the way. It’s been ridiculously hot and humid in the Chicago area for at least the past month, so I’ve had to get creative to assure I stay hydrated in the heat. I always carry a liter bottle of water with me when I run, which generally lasts about five miles. On my longer runs, I need to either circle back home, or plan my routes around places to refill. I really prefer not to have to circle back home.
Luckily, there are plenty of running trails near my home, but unfortunately, not all of them have bathrooms or water fountains. I’ve learned over time where the ‘hot spots’ are, and by now I pretty much have it down to a science. Today’s 12-mile run in the heat called for a few more stops than usual. About four miles in, I headed over to the park pavilion, which not only has water fountains (not just for humans, but also for our four-legged friends!), but a pretty decent bathroom as well.
I didn’t necessarily have to go at that point, but it was there…so why the heck not?
Next, I headed to the forest preserve trails for some much-needed shade. About three miles in there is a baseball field, with not only a water fountain, but also a vending machine with Gatorade and water! I didn’t need it today, but I always carry a few bucks with me, just in case.
Another couple of miles in, I crossed a beautiful bridge. I took the opportunity to get a few stretches in and was then on my way. Maybe a mile later I ran through a small tunnel. It was not just cool temperature-wise, it was cool (as in awesome!) to run through it.
This obviously (obviously!) called for a jumping pose. With a later start than planned (what else is new?) I decided to cut my run a little short, so I turned around and made my way back to the refreshing shade of the forest preserve.
A couple of miles later I was back at the baseball field…just in time for another bathroom break!
Another two miles and I was back home, 12 miles completed. The temperature had probably reached its peak by then, so what better way to cool off than to jump in the pool? I didn’t bother to change out of my running clothes, and oh, it felt so good!
Do you map out your runs? How do you manage staying hydrated during your long runs? What fun ways do you cool off when you’re done?