Thursday, January 22, 2015

Trying to Be a Morning Runner

The hot topic of the week seems to be about when you fit running or other exercising into your day. ("Timing is Everything", "Morning or Night?", #1 of "8 Hacks for Runners") 

Historically (with one exception, my very first busy season - I still have no idea how I got up around 6 to exercise most days, but I did), I'm an afternoon/evening runner and exerciser. This isn't a conscious choice per se, it's just that I'm prone to getting up in the morning with just barely enough time to put myself together and get out the door in time to be at work. No matter my good intentions, an early alarm is most likely to be met with multiple presses of the snooze button, and still actually get up just in time to leave in time, without fitting in anything extra like exercise. 

On the rare occasions I do manage to get up and run first thing, it's never quite as quality a run. I haven't eaten or had caffeine (nor does getting up even earlier, to have time to eat, digest, and go to the bathroom first, sound appealing), and it just takes me a while to be fully alert, so I feel pretty sluggish. I never plan on doing actual workout runs (tempo or speedwork) in the morning, just easy miles.

For the most part, I really enjoy running in the evening, typically right after work:

  • It's typically warmer (ok, this isn't a good thing in the summer).
  • It can be a really useful tool to pound out stress and anxiety that has accumulated over the course of the day.
  • For many people - definitely for me! - my energy level is higher at this time of day.

So why am I trying to exercise in the morning? Well, that has plenty of benefits, too:
  • You start your day with endorphins. 
  • Most races are in the morning; practicing that time of day will get your body used to performing then.
  • You get it done and other things that come up won't interfere or delay it.

It's that last thing that is both why I want to work towards being a morning runner - leaving my evenings free for other activities or simply to not feel like I "have" to do something when I'd rather not - but at the same time makes me hesitant, and gives me pause every time I read it on a list like this.

Running isn't just something on my to do list, that I want to get it over with and check it off. I enjoy running! Of course, just because I get in a routine of running in the morning doesn't mean I can't also run in the evening when I have the time available. But I think I'd miss having a run to look forward to after work if it became a rare occurrence!

Do you run in the mornings or evenings? What's the best thing about the time you choose?

2 comments:

  1. When you figure out how to be a morning runner please let me know! With the exception of my long run, I never run in the morning. With the long run you have time to ease into things and get up to a decent pace, with shorter morning runs if you don't wake up until the end it feels like a total "junk miles" type of run which is why I avoid them.

    When I am approaching a race that's really important to me I will try to get in a couple morning runs during taper week so that my body is used to getting up extra early (and it's totally cool to do junk miles since it's taper week)! :)

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  2. I'm a weekday morning runner, and I usually start my long runs midday. I love having a run before work, although I have a little more autonomy in terms of when I arrive in my office (and there's a shower/locker room in the basement of my building). It really invigorates me and makes me feel like I've accomplished . . . something no matter how badly the day goes. Also, it could be on account of my age, but I'm more run down (no pun) by the end of the day, and evening runs just seem intimidating. Good luck with your transition, but I've learned this -- don't get attached to any one time of day, especially if/when you have children. You'll need to be flexible, and I think you'll find it more satisfying if you "take the shot" to go run when you get the opportunity.

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