Five reasons why it’s great to get back into the habit of very early morning runs.
Oh, the bizarre hedonsim of groggily wrestling with the off button on your alarm at 5:00 AM.
Sometimes it’s easy, and you pop out of bed like Polyanna on speed, ready to greet the day with a bright wholesome grin on your face, having anxiously anticipated this moment since the instant your head hit the pillow last night.
But yeah, that whole joyfully-springing-out-of-bed thing isn’t the norm, even if you’re habituated to the early wakeups.
More commonly, you experience about three dreadful seconds of the worst feeling in the world, as you come to terms with the fact that you’re being ripped rudely into consciousness by what is surely the most obnoxious cell phone alarm in the universe. In fact, the imminent insult of extracting yourself from your toasty sleepnest to suit up and put away 12 miles before the sun even considers dragging it’s big lazy yellow butt out of bed is enough to make you want to pulverize your alarm clock into a fine powder and then throw it in some unsuspecting gym grunter’s protein shake just out of spite and anger at the world.
If you’re one of the stoic AM runners’ crowd, you’ve crafted the habit of battling back against the “three dreadful seconds,” and have reigned in the instinctual response of chucking your jingling phone against the wall.
I’m one of the AM people. Are you?
People ask me often how we do it, and I don’t have an answer. Why we do it, however, is easier to get a handle on.
1. We don’t want to miss anything. Tucking runs into the morning lets us be more spontaneous in the afternoon. Who wants to miss the fun? Not us. Because let’s face it, if we’re Type A enough to run religiously in the morning, you can bet your pillow-wrinkled face that running takes top priority over lots of other things that might pop up in the afternoon in the event that we miss our early run.
Drawback: Yeah. If we’re waking up at 5, we can’t be out all that late. But we can rage until 9pm! Maybe even 10, if we’re feeling dangerous.
2. As Marie would say, we can pretty much sleepwalk through the first few miles. Sleeping + running = two favorite activities, and who doesn’t enjoy multitasking?
Drawback: When we have to start running 15 minutes after semi-waking up, we are only physically capable of running about as fast as an infant for the few first miles. Kinda wrecks your average split.
3. We enjoy occasional opportunities to brag about it. AM runners take a kind of masochistic pride in getting it done. And we secretly enjoy those moments when others pry enough into our lives to discover that we ran X miles that morning. They might gaze admiringly, gasp and fawn over us. It embarrasses us, but we feel temporarily special.
Drawback: Yeah, at 2:30 PM we don’t feel special anymore. We just feel like napping.
4. Certain challenges of running seem easier to face in the dark. Pouring rain? No big deal, can’t even see it. Monster hills? Can’t see those either.
Drawback: Ice? Shoot, feels like my feet and butt found it before my eyes did. And, an additional fun fact: When you are prone to attracting wildlife with the frequency of Snow White, every dark shadow will look like a bear, which means you’ll be sticking to roads rather than trails on dark AM runs. Bummer. Because, while yes, you know how to use a headlamp, you’d rather not meet up with Mama Griz at a time of day when your reaction time and visual aptitude roughly match that of a slug.
5. There’s no time to think about it. All it takes to get out the door for a morning run is deciding, “Yes, I will swing my feet out of bed and put them on the floor.” We never regret morning runs. We almost always regret skipping them and spending the whole work day feeling fidgety, anxious, tired, and annoyed that we gave into the three seconds of dread just to get an extra couple hours of sleep that morning.
Coincidentally, I’m doing the 5 AM wakeup thing tomorrow like usual, so I’m just going to press publish and head to bed, if you don’t mind.
Really, what are some other reasons that early morning runs rule?
Are you an early runner, or an afternoon/evening type? And if you run in the afternoon, how can you STAND waiting that long? I’d love to know. Waiting until the end of the day to run makes me craaaanky.