The most wonderful time of the year to run is very different, depending on who you ask. In most places, there are four distinct seasons, each with their own “charms.” However, things are different in Florida, where the year is broken into one eternal summer, with spring, fall, and winter all crammed into about six weeks. Good times.
So let’s talk about it.
Winter Running. In Florida.
Friends, it does get cold in Florida. Especially in Northern Florida. Honest. This year alone has shown us temperatures in the 20s (warmer in Miami and the Keys, of course), which means actual frost. It’s a humid winter, which means you can still get sweaty AF, but at least the air is breathable. I love getting to wear leggings and long sleeves, and not having to get up before sunrise to beat the murderous heat of the sun. We were lucky to have a long winter this year, and I am going to miss it.
Spring Running. In Florida.
Spring running hits a little different in the Sunshine State. It comes suddenly (Literally one day will average about 45 degrees, and the next will be 70, and BAM. It’s spring). While most places herald spring with the return of the migrating birds and the blooming go beautiful flowers, Florida rings it in with mating alligators, invasive Muscovy ducks, and a healthy dose of neon green pollen dumped over everything. Bring on the Zyrtec! Running is ok. The temperatures and humidity aren’t awful quite yet, but sinus pressure, sneezing, and itchy eyes and noses make it a little less fun.
Summer Running. In Florida.
The road is lava. Literally. Summer running in Florida is a Herculean effort of will. Most runners choose to log their miles in the dark, either morning or night, just to get away from the scorching sun. No amount of hydration can prepare you for temperatures in the 90s and 99% humidity. Speaking of which, put your speed on hold because breathing summer air in Florida is like trying to breathe through a warm washcloth. Embrace the slow down, and bring on the chafing, the sweating, and the exhaustion, because it’s all up for grabs from April through about January. There’s a reason why we drop to 5Ks and shorter races through the summer and early fall: longer distances are flat-out dangerous, especially for those who aren’t accustomed to the conditions.
Oh, and please note, summer means hurricane season, as well. Sure, we have plenty of time to prepare for these weather events, but huge tropical storm systems throw a wrench in training and also add to the swampy, muggy conditions. We’ve also got love bugs (which will fly into your nose, mouth and eyes without regret), mosquitos the size of small birds, and yellow flies, who will straight up chase you down the street, biting you the whole way. Ah, the adventure.
Fall Running. In Florida.
Get that Pumpkin Spice Latte on ice, and settle in for what I call Summer Part 2. Fall doesn’t bring much relief to Florida running. The leaves don’t change color, nor do things cool down much, if at all. It’s just more of the same, except we get to flaunt wearing a tank and shorts for our December runs. Which is fun, but it would be nice to feel some of the same autumnal bliss as our northern neighbors.
So Which Is My Favorite?
Eh. I’m far better equipped for summer running than anything else, but I’ll say winter, just because it’s so much easier to breathe. Plus, it’s a little something different, which always make it more appealing.
What’s your favorite time of year to run?