For those of you who read this blog, you may have read a week or so ago that I decided to join a couple of women and run at 6:00 am on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. My body revolted for the first week. The second week I felt a little better, but by the third week, I realized that I hate to run in the morning. I can wake up at 5:30 and write, but I cannot wake up at 5:30 and run. I prefer to exercise in the afternoon, preferably alone and with my Ipod.
I was hoping that by running with these women that I would gain a sense of camaraderie and increase my pace as a result of getting in shape with someone else. Both of these things started to happen as I got to know my running partners but the reality was that while I looked forward to seeing them, I did not look forward to running with them.
Having been a runner for over half my life and living through grueling track practices after high school, running in the afternoon became a habit. Never, in my athletic past did I desire to get up and run in the morning.
I remember living in Doylestown, PA and training for a marathon in the dark cold wee morning hours. I would get up and run as part of my duty toward training for this race but the reality was that not only did my body hate me, but I did not enjoy any part of running in the morning.
As we get older, we also need to think about our bodies and our ability to not only cope with exercise and life but to recover from both. I find that by running in the afternoon, I can shed the stress of the day I just experienced. I also get energy from the bustle of the cars driving by and the energy of all of the people I see. For some reason, the quiet sanctuary the morning provides is better for my writing and other work than it is for exercise. While it is beautiful to see the sun rise, I would rather see the sun set. While it is nice to see bunnies bouncing around in the morning frost, I’d rather not be out running in it.
I also notice that I sleep better when I train in the afternoon. Since starting to run in the morning I am more antsy. My body was functioning differently too. I became hungier and more agitated – and I realized too, that the stress and anticipation of having to wake up so early to meet someone else was too much of an obligation. I have a husband and two children to tend to, so to speak and I discovered that my getting up so darn early prevented me from sleeping well. That, coupled with the fact that my two-year-old is climbing into our bed everynight around 3 AM, has compounded my inability to sleep. So timing or whatever, I am not doing the morning run thing!
Further, I must admit that running in the morning was not good for me on the injury front. My left hamstring, the bane of my existence, started to bother me. The arch of my left foot also started to hurt. I was not sure if it was because I was running on pavement more frequently or not, but I have come to the conclusion that it was not the pavement, the pace, or the personalities of my running partners. My body does not respond well to constant pounding on a regular basis in the morning – period.
That is why I don’t mind running a race every now and then, because while races take place in the morning, they usually begin around 8 and by then I would have been on my feet for while. It is possible, that my body needs more time to warm up throughout the day and so by the time I run in the afternoon, I am more limber and loose than I am when I wake up in the morning.
So to end this thing, I hobbled out of bed, crunching son as I rolled over him to get up – how did he end up at the foot of the bed? Anyway, I drove to our meeting spot and told my female friends I was not going to run with them today as my hamstring was bothering me. Next will come my email – I am going to discontinue the morning run – or I might wimp out and suggest that I join them every other Friday. This way, I can gracefully bow out and go back to my world of afternoon running and music.
I’d love to hear what works for you! Please comment – who are the morning runners? Who are the afternoon runners? Have you found that you have experienced the same things I have?