Higher temperatures promote morning runs


By Gary Droze


That Tallahassee’s average temperatures begin climbing after April 15th is just slightly less certain than death and taxes. By next month, we can expect daily taxation of our thermoregulatory systems. While there is no escaping this reality, coping options exist for area runners who wish to build training volume through the summer in preparation for the fall cross-country and road-racing seasons.

The key adjustment entails committing to the morning run. Though many already practice this form of sunrise service, others (including yours truly) have been sleeping in and saving the run for the mild afternoons. Given that we are nearly out of mild afternoons, now is the time for us to become early risers. Yes, I’m groaning right along with many of you sleepyheads, but if we start today, we can adapt to the morning routine in time for Tallahassee’s first heat wave of 2002.

Another adjustment involves rerouting our training venues to include plenty of shade. Thankfully, the preponderance of off-road courses in this area make such an adjustment relatively simple. An ever-expanding list of such courses may be found at www.gulfwinds.org. Among the courses listed, the Munson Hills Trail, located off Woodville Highway south of town, merits special recommendation. Long a preferred summertime site for weekend overdistance forays, Munson Hills should become popular again with the locals by mid-May. Incidentally, it is completely absent of actual hills.

Once the area high schools and colleges let out, those who have room in their schedules may be able to combine the two adjustments outlined above, by piggybacking onto the daily morning trail sessions that student runners undertake. Obviously, it would be inconsiderate to hop into any assemblage of them uninvited, but some genuinely inclusive groups coalesce every summer. Perhaps the best example is the 7:45am Forest Meadows group, which begins in late May and continues through August. This loose collective has included runners from the Gulf Winds Track Club, Florida State University, area schools such as Leon, Lincoln, Maclay, North Florida Christian, and Florida High, and area alums on break from out of state schools. While nobody is willing to take credit or blame for actually organizing this group, GWTC member John Kalin, who earned the club’s annual award for advancement of the sport last year, generally has the best idea of when these morning sessions begin. He can be reached at 656-7064. Call early, because John will be on the trails at sunup.