How to get the best out of summer training
Expert summer running tips
Summer training, as I am sure you will agree, is much better than logging the miles in the dark depths of winter when it is cold, snowing, raining, miserable and dark.
Scott is a British long distance athlete who represented Team GB at the 2012 Olympics. His marathon PB is currently 2:10:55.
The summer months allow you more daylight and therefore more time to get your runs in. This can be especially handy after work when you can venture to parks that are still open, rather than those that are already closed by the time you get home in the winter. Running on the softer surfaces more regularly will help you steer clear of injuries and this is probably the best part of summer training. Obviously the weather is going to be better, that goes without saying (well hopefully anyway) but when you don't have to pound the pavements in the dark, you'll be surprised how different your legs will feel after each run. Running on a harder surface is always going to put more stain on the lower legs, especially the Achilles and calves. So by running on the grass or even the softer trails, you will be able to run further without risking injury.
The summer months also allow you to think about entering some track races. These races really aren’t just for elite guys and it’s worth bearing in mind that joining an athletics club can open up lots of distance opportunities to race on the track. Track running is a lot of fun and you'll be surprised how much faster you can run on the track compared to say a Park Run. The track season tends to go from May through to September and there are often midweek fixtures that offer a 3km distance (7.5 laps). You can go for that distance either as a standalone race or as part of your training in preparation for a 5km.
The other advantage of joining a club is that there will be a group of people who you can run with, and that means runners of all abilities. Just because you're a member of a club doesn't mean everyone is super fast! A lot of people have more participation in the social side of things than the actual running!
Generally I would say the summer is great for training, and that is definitely the case for me when it comes to training for a marathon. Getting the miles in and the sessions done becomes so much easier when you can do them in the daylight. This is why I love the Berlin Marathon because the whole build up comes during the months of July, August, and September. If you are thinking about running a marathon and are worried about running around work commitments, I would strongly suggest targeting a marathon that falls in September/October time. Not only will it be a lot easier to get out the door when it’s still light after you get home from work, it also means it won't be -2C when you have a long run to do!
So my top tips for summer training would be to join an athletics club and give a track racing a go. Also look to increase your mileage to take advantage of the extra daylight hours, and most of all, make sure you run on softer surfaces when you can! Save the pavement running for when it’s already dark at 4pm in the deep mid winter!