Rambling Roads: Weather Tips

By George A. Hancock

Summer 2022 is on a warm track in numerous regions across our vast country. The Greater Johnstown weather scene in late spring experienced some above average daily temperatures. Lunchtime or early afternoon running was nasty. A/C units and floor fans were humming along before summer’s official start.

Wildfires and excessive heat plague various sections of the United States. Tropical storms, tornadoes, and even snowfall in several sections offered unique weather experiences. The daily runner faces these natural obstacles on a regular basis these days. Yet, our run can continue in a safe and orderly manner.

Weather awareness is a huge key. So many individuals now no longer receive the daily newspaper or watch the local news on television. Thankfully, there are many other outlets available for weather reports or news. Staying weather-aware is a key factor in maintaining one’s outside excursions such as running. Getting caught in a severe weather event is never good. Especially when one is on foot and miles from home.

There are many emergency apps for cell phones. My county uses the CodeRed Mobile Alert app for emergencies. There are settings for myriad weather disturbances year-round. An alarm sounds alerting us to potential issues. Using these apps helps alleviate weather surprises.

The severe weather out my way is generally intense thunderstorms with thunder and lightning. Tornadoes seldom visit our region. Occasionally, a wind-shear event will create monetary damages.

Here, our growing weather issue is water runoff and street flooding. It seems that years of local sewer- and storm-water management projects created urban and suburban street flooding. For decades, water runoff from roofs was directed into various outlets. Now in most local municipalities that water is no longer flowing into the storm sewers.

The water is basically flowing onto the ground creating runoff and flooding issues. I run on and near streets that frequently flood. This is a disturbing issue. This water ponding and runoff is creating havoc on the street surface. Many of my running routes are showing water damage. Sections of the streets are cracked and chunks of macadam are missing.

That old adage “turn around don’t drown” applies to pedestrians too. Running through deep standing water or flowing runoff water is not safe. The street under the water could be undermined or hiding other serious issues.

The best advice is to avoid these areas during water events. Of course, running near creeks, rivers, or lakes during heavy rain is never wise. Urban, suburban flooding is a growing issue. Running an alternate route is the preferred choice.

July’s humid heat provides another situation that needs to be addressed. A long-distance run in summer’s heat demands protective measures. Sunscreen is always a wise choice. Especially a sunscreen geared towards an active sweaty runner. Also, if running beneath July’s hot sun wearing a visor or light hat is wise. Wearing sunglasses helps reduce that sunny glare.

Scheduling a long hard workout either early or late in July is prudent. July’s heat is reduced before dawn and later in the evening. A lunch-time run is doable if the mileage is reduced or completed in a shady region.

July’s hot weather requires proper hydration practices. Water is always the best fluid- replacement. Drinking water before, during, and after sweaty running workouts is wise. Athletic companies make so many smart items for carrying replacement water. A Google search reveals numerous products that insure runners stay hydrated during July’s hot 31 days.

Eating more fruits and vegetables during July’s hot days also helps the running effort.  There’s nothing like chilled watermelon, cantaloupe, or honeydew after a hot July run.

Athletic drinks are fine too for many runners. My system tolerates iced tea after my morning run. Iced tea over ice is very refreshing. Being a morning runner, breakfast follows my run. Cereal with diced fruit, a banana, and orange juice completes my meal.

Our July summer runs are safe and fun following basic precautions. July, like any season, only lasts so long. Our journey continues on. Embrace the season as August and summer’s remaining days approach.

Run smart, run well.

Rich Erdlen enjoys the cool waters of the South Branch of the Codorus Creek, York County, PA during the Sasquatch Race.

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