Rambling Roads: August Adjustments

By George A. Hancock

August is a transitional month requiring running adjustments. Morning runners are keenly aware of this point. My morning run begins before 6 a.m. in the quiet dark. Streetlights illuminate my road course. I carry a handy rechargeable road light. My light illuminates my path while alerting oncoming motorists to my roadside presence. 

Huge sections of my morning routes have no streetlights. I run on dark roads with my road light. My old running eyes quickly become accustomed to this dim-to-no light. The diminishing morning daylight is gradual. We don’t transition from full daylight to dark. There’s a seasonal shift here that everyday runners encounter. Of course, few welcome this dwindling commodity. Running in daylight is always appreciated.

Mother Nature is on track. Examining the daylight calculator for Greater Johnstown on August 1 reveals sunrise happens at 6:13 a.m.. Sunset that day is at 8:29 p.m. My morning run starts before 6 a.m. usually at 5:45 a.m. This means that half of my morning run on August 1 is in the predawn dark.

August 31 finds sunrise at 6:41 a.m. Sunset occurs at 7:48 p.m. We now have thirteen hours and six minutes of daylight at the end of August. Now, on most mornings, my entire run is completed in the dark. Cloudy mornings are darker. Clear mornings do provide more, although dimmer, daylight. Morning runners adapt and run on.

I run in a reflective safety vest year-round. These vests are lightweight, durable, and offer high visibility. I also wear a yellow or safety-green hat. My hair is black. There’s not enough white or gray to offset that dark color. So, I wear a hat. The hat comes in handy when I have to swat at buzzing insects too.

Many morning runners in my area wear headband lights. These are a great item too. They provide road illumination while also alerting motorists to your presence. Many safety vests come with reflective flashing lights. These lighted vest are eye-catching.

A group of female Johnstown Running Club (JRC) members frequently pass me on my running routes. Their approach with those twinkling/flashing safety vests is neat. Sometimes their accompanying dogs are wearing them too. This makes for an incredible roadside view. Motorists often slow or stop to witness this morning parade. This is great proof these illuminated safety vests work.

This reflective vest practice is a dose of common sense too. There are many perks associated with morning runs in the dark. However, getting hit by a vehicle is not one of them. Run facing traffic and wear reflective gear. It’s an easy inexpensive practice.

Of course, another August adjustment is proper hydration. The warm and humid August runs demand fluid replacement. Every runner is different. So, fluid replacement sources are numerous and varied. One neat thing these days are the numerous devices available to carry fluid on your run. There are fluid vests, hand-held fluid containers, and even fluid containers carried at your waist. These portable fluid devices inure your long-distance journey continues in a healthy manner.

I run thirty miles a week so my daily run is shorter now. The pace at times is faster. My August runs demand proper hydration before and after my morning run. I live in a hilly region so drinking plenty of fluids keeps me in a semblance of working order. Sort of.

The one replacement fluid drink I ponder is coffee. So many runners and exercise enthusiasts drink coffee after a strenuous workout. I don’t get that. I’m a coffee drinker but skip this beverage during the warmer June, July, and August months. This hot beverage raises my temperature. I really don’t need that after a sweaty summer run. Iced coffee is a better treat for me during these humid summer months.

Yet, as mentioned previously every runner is different. Coffee seems to work well for so many. There are no discernible side effects. So, continue on with what works well.

Sliced chilled fruit like melons, oranges, apples, and seasonal berries are perfect for fluid replacement. These mouth-watering treats are perfect after any humid run. Add some flavorful popsicles and one has a heaven on earth.

Perhaps we can’t beat Mother Nature’s humid heat. But, we can slow the pace while tolerating her sultry weather patterns. The calendar is with us. September’s 30-day autumn adventure is mere steps away. Enjoy! Run well, run smart!

Categories: Features

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