There was a time when waking up at 4:45 to run for two plus hours felt normal. The alarm would go off, I’d jump out of bed, put on my already laid out clothes, chow down on a granola bar, sip some water and head out the door.
This week (apart from Monday when I had a running buddy to encourage me – thanks mom) that has not been the case.
My alarm goes off at 6:00…and I turn it off. 6:15, off again. At 7 I finally pull myself out of bed and determine it is too late to start running and just get ready for work.
Around 4 p.m., after nearly 8 hours of sitting in a less-than-comfortable chair (it’s just a little bit too short for my desk), my legs are restless and my feet are itching to get out of ballet flats and into my favorite pair of Brooks running shoes. Despite the heat and humidity my body is so much more eager to hit the trails than it was 10 hours before.
And despite the later hour, the sun, the sweat and the fact that it means when I show up at friends houses after work I don’t smell too good…I like it. I get the run in, I get a bit more sleep, it’s a win win for me.
And that is something I would not have always agreed with.
It’s tough to get out of the mindset that the best runners – the best at anything – do it in the morning. The idea is that if you’re really dedicated, really care, really want it you will get up, put in the work and make it happen. If you sleep in late, you missed your opportunity, you’re lazy, you’ll never make it.
True confession…I am a morning person.
It’s true, and it always has been. As my dad always says, I always wake up early and ready to eat!
But just like anybody else I need sleep (although granted I can get by on much less than others). My worst runs – including one where I got nauseous, threw up and had to call a friend to pick me up just 4.5 miles out – always happen when I’m sleep deprived. When I’m pushing myself to go, go, go just a little bit too hard.
I used to ignore the warning signs, the headaches, the eye-aches, the stomaches, the everything aches…and just go for it. Push my body through and hope that the pain I was putting myself through would pay off.
I just got sick, ran slower and ended up getting hurt.
So even though I still tend to run in the morning. I still opt for pre-breakfast workouts. I still consider the morning the best time for me to get anything done…it’s okay to mix it up.
An evening run won’t kill you, a lunch break run counts just as much as and the days you decide not to go at all, that your body is screaming for a rest…those days are good too. They help. They give your muscles and bones and mind time to recover and rejuvenate. My best runs are always the day following a rest.
So if you can’t seem to get yourself out of bed to run, bike, lift (whatever your favorite exercise is) at the crack of dawn it is O.K. Pick a different time, right down the hour that you’ll do it. You’ll still get the workout in and you’ll feel a whole lot better when doing it.