- The Sunshine State isn’t always Sunny like Philadelphia– Now for me growing up in Reading, Pa and spending lots of time in Philadelphia left me too dependent on the Weather Channel. In PA I can typically start out a day by eating a good whole grain breakfast, checking my email, checking the weather, then heading out for a good run, but unfortunately this isn’t how it is in Florida. I found out pretty quickly that no matter what you may see outside, hear on the news, or feel in your heart there’s probably about a 150% chance that the weather will completely catch you off guard. After being caught in torrential down-pours for 2 days in a row while on long jogs I realized that long distance jogs are something best accomplished by taking several loops around your neighborhood. Although this isn’t always true I’d definitely consider keeping this idea in mind for anyone looking to log more than 5 miles in a day.
- Lizards are Worse than Roaches– For some people roaches can be some of the biggest pests on the face of the Earth, and for the longest time I’ve completely agreed, until now. The other day while on a jog near Lego Land in Winter Haven,Fl I began seeing hundreds of tiny lizards dashing across the sidewalk in front of me. Taken back by this spectacle I began slowly running through the may-lay of tiny critters as they dashed under my feet. Now although this was a bit annoying what happened next was what gave them the title of “Most Annoying Pests” in my eyes. Scared that they would be stepped on the lizards began jumping across the sidewalk, hurling themselves into mine and my running partners shoes. As I ran hysterically laughing about the experience I began to notice how badly my running partner had really felt about the lizards that attacked her. Although I had been relatively unaffected by the mild inconvenience, my running partner looked almost completely traumatized by her fear of lizards. Due to this fact these tiny lizards earned themselves a spot on the list of Things I Learned from Running in Florida.
- Wear a Mask in Central Florida– I probably don’t have to tell many of you that mosquitoes and nats aren’t something that are particularly good to have around, but central Florida takes this truth to new heights. With one of the highest concentrations of lakes per square mile in the entire country this region is bombarded by all manner of pesky insects. So if you’re like me and prefer to jog outside instead of on a treadmill for an hour then I highly suggest investing in a high quality bug repellent to help minimize the likelihood of becoming a feast for every insect in the area.
- Humidity kills more than Heat– Warm days on the beach with friends, good drinks, and beautiful people is the reason nearly everyone comes to Florida. This of course is very similar to runners as well who come to Florida with dreams of running on the beach with the soft breeze of ocean air hitting them in the face. In fact I myself have been caught a few times falling into this mindset as I took long jogs on the beach. Sadly to say however as fun as this may seem at times, the humidity in Florida makes running on some days almost unbearable, if you’re not use to it. With the humidity and daily temperatures ranging in the 90’s on most days average runners often wait til late night or early morning to get daily runs done. While the heat may some times consume the day, it is the humidity that makes breathing extremely difficult at times. This is especially true for individuals, with allergies, asthma, and respiratory conditions. So stick to the recommended 5am runs to help avoid the humidity and maintain proper hydration to avoid breathing complications.
- Grass isn’t always Low-Impact- On many occasions I, like many of you out there, prefer to run trails and grass paths for a low impact day of running. As good as this is it’s not as easy as it sounds in many parts of Florida. One of the reasons this is true is that despite offering an abundance of natural beauty, a lot of the trails and grass paths in Florida tend to have very patchy spots of grass that isn’t properly maintained. Part of this is due to the soil that is found predominantly throughout Florida which is more comparable to sand then the typical dirt one sees in other parts of the country. This combination leads to many ditches and small potholes that if not monitored at all times could turn a once relaxing jog into an unwanted sprained ankle. While not all trails in Florida are like this it is something to consider if you plan on running off the beaten path.