Thursday, June 19, 2008

From Early Bird to Night Owl

While the transition hasn't yet come full circle, I feel like I am slowly turning into a night owl. And by night owl I mean being able to stay awake until 10:00pm.

I canceled my gym membership. I was only using it for the treadmill, and I didn't enjoy it. I realized that I was only going because I didn't want to feel like I was wasting the money we were paying for the membership. So I decided to drop the membership altogether (which was surprisingly very easy to get out of), save money and gas, and take to the roads for this marathon training season. Plus, it only makes sense to me that training on the road will translate to racing better on the road.

But back to my late nights. Since I don't have this obligation to wake up each morning and get ready, drive to the gym, do my run, then drive home - I have more freedom with my time. On Monday, I woke up at 6:00, ran 2 miles, took Emma for our 30 minute morning walk, and still had plenty of time to get ready for work. The taste of freedom was so sweet! I love waking up, getting dressed, walking out my back door and starting a run. There's something so refreshing in simplicity.

On Tuesday, I had to get in five miles. My plan was to get up at 5:15, start the run at 5:30, and be back home by 6:15. But, I overslept and didn't wake up until 6:15. As I was driving to work I was trying to figure out how I could get the five miles in and the thought occurred to me that I could run the five miles in the evening. In my year and a half of running seriously, I have run at night only twice. Both were pretty disastrous - I was so tired and weary during the runs and ended up cutting them short. But I decided I would give the night running thing another try. Since I knew that I was going to be running that night, I made sure to stay hydrated and eat well throughout the day on Tuesday.

I took to the road that evening about 8:30 and started on my way. I felt great through the run and finished in 46:08, with an average pace of 9:13/mile. The best part is that I was showered and snoozing by 10:00pm - a realistic bed time for me. I've got another 5 miles scheduled for today, and I am going to try another night run tonight. It's strange, but sleeping in a little later each weekday makes me feel like I am getting a summer break, too!

My ideal schedule would be to wake up every morning at 5:15 (except for weekends) and be running by 5:30. The sun is just starting to come up at this time, and its still cool out. I feel conflicted because I would like to get back into a consistent routine, but I also love the sense of freedom of not having a set schedule. I'm hoping to find a happy medium. And while I have enjoyed the night runs thus far, I am hesitant to take away from the time in the evenings that I have with Chad. Running in the morning has been perfect because he is usually asleep while I'm gone. So, maybe it is true that the early bird does get the worm...

Well, if you've stuck through this post this far, thank you for reading along as I think out loud. It is always a challenge to incorporate marathon training into a lifestyle, and I'm trying to find the best, most balanced way to do it.


jen said...

I cannot believe you only ran in the evenings twice before! You must be really dedicated.. I think a lot of my evening runs stem from skipped morning runs. I actually enjoy running at night more, I am always so groggy and stiff in the morning. But then again, mornings are such a peaceful and pretty time of day.

I hear you on the schedule/no schedule thing.. both have their pros and cons.

By the way, I love that picture at the top of your post!

a.maria said...

oh girl, i hear ya. but how how HOW could you have only run in the evenings TWICE?!?!!

*shock and awe*

i wish i had that kind of dedication to get up so early. i'm sure once i move south that'll be my only option, but still..

well done you.

PLUS 9:13 miles.


Megan said...

Haha! I've NEVER done a training run in the evening! Save from lacrosse practice, I just can't handle running in the afternoons/evenings. I just feel bogged down from everything I've eaten during the day, plus the morning is best for optimal fat burn! It's getting too hot here to run at any point outside, really,so I'm about to bust out the Trek!

Courtney said...

CONGRATS on your new found free time.

If you're training for a race, you must train on the race surface. Treadmills have a LOT of cushion and don't prepare your body for the asphalt.

And if possible, run on asphalt, not concrete. Concrete is BAD for your feet/knees/joints. Asphalt has more give (believe it or not) so it's way better for you. That's why you see a lot of people running BESIDE the sidewalks. :)

Sarah said...

Well now, I like the evenings, especially running off the energy from a nutritious dinner. I'm glad your schedule is more flexible now; if it means we get you awake for a bit longer on Saturdays its fine with me!