One of the topics we landed upon was **big shock** weather. I know that a lot of you have equally shit-show level of weather to train/run/race in, but I'd love to get your two cents and suggestions.
In my eyes, there are 6 weeks of ideal weather to run in my area of eastern South Dakota. That's about three weeks of spring when the snow and ice melts, the temp comes above freezing, and before the onslaught of heat and humidty arrive. The other three weeks are in the fall, when we get the repreive from the latter and full on freeze of the former.
Yes, that's 42 days.
Out of 365.
Popular times of year for marathons in this area are spring and fall, naturally. If you choose to run a spring marathon (which is my first choice for reasons I'll get in to), you deal with 18 mile long runs on solid sheets of ice (just ask my hip when I ate $#!t hard at the end of a run). You run in 15-30 degree temps for the duration of your training. When spring actually comes, you're enjoying your taper so your body never really gets a chance to acclimate to the warmer more humid temperatures.
Then race day comes, and even a day in the 60s (which is fairly cool as far as spring race temps are concerned) sounds ideal, but it's anywhere from 2x-4x warmer than what you're used to. Throw in any humidity at all, and you're rather screwed.
That gives us our next option of a fall marathon. For me, this really isn't even an option, given how much I sweat when hot and humid, making it seriously unsafe for me to pursue. But let's say for arguments sake that it is. For an early October race, you start training mid-June. The first few weeks aren't bad, but then we reach July and August and some of September (ie: the bulk of your training weeks) where getting up at 3am to "beat the heat" isn't even an option because the humidity overnight wavers in the 99-100% range. Granted, some of this is great training for the fall slaughter heat fest that has been recent popular fall marathons: Chicago, even Twin Cities would've been too warm for my liking last year.
For this reason alone, I won't even think of running a fall marathon at the beginning of October. I refuse to train through the shittiest weather SoDak has to offer to be slapped in the face with just as hot and muggy of a day as I've slogged through all summer. Sorry.
My point: It's impossible to train for race day conditions. That's such a HUGE variable of the marathon day picture, that I feel like sometimes you have 2 strikes against you just heading in to that day that you've prepared for months for. (Wah, wah, I know!)
I do have a third option, and definitely one I will utilize once marathons get back in the racing schedule more regularly, which is the destination marathon in early December. It's almost perfect.... you can (hopefully) get the bulk of your training in before the blizzards hit, and can enjoy your taper when they do. But then there's always the issue of **SOB I'M GOING TO KICK A KITTEN** if a blizzard strikes leaving you not able to depart for your destination marathon. Also the cost of traveling somewhere for a race can get a little out of hand. And here again we have the issue (although less severe) of training in much MUCH cooler temps than you'll end up racing in.
So there you have it. I'm a little bit screwed, and not in a good way. Any good suggestions you'd like to throw my way? I'm all ears. Especially if you're in the midwest and suffering right along with me.