It’s one thing to identify as “a runner”. There are a lot of us out there. But there are sub-categories among runners, and we can relate to each other a bit better when we belong to the same tribe. I have realized I belong to the category of Morning Runner.
I admit – I haven’t always run in the mornings. When I was in high school and university, although I liked the idea, my circadian rhythms and daily patterns did not fit the morning running schedule. Not many people I knew in those days ran in the mornings, and I just followed suit with my friends and team mates of running in the afternoons. I have always loved running, and would rather run at any time of day than not run at all, but in hindsight I realize that in those days I was denying my true identity.
It wasn’t until after I had kids that my destiny revealed itself. If I wanted to run it had to be either before everyone woke up, or after they had all gone to bed. That left either the windows of 5 a.m. – 6 a.m. or 9 p.m. – 10 p.m. I tried out both, but soon found myself falling in love with the early morning slot. I had stumbled across the running schedule that fits my true personality. Yes, it took being forced into it, but now I feel like I have discovered the real me.
A few reasons why I love running in the mornings:
Heading out in the mornings, I don’t expect it to be either warm or light out. It may become lighter and warmer by the end of my run, but they all start out the same way – relatively cold and dark. It’s all about managing expectations. In contrast, if I wait until the afternoon or evening and it happens to be cold and dark out, I find it the hardest thing in the world to get out.
Early in the mornings, I don’t worry too much about traffic. I own the streets and rarely have to slow down or stop for streetlights or car traffic. Later in the day I get annoyed at the cars driving on my route, and my runs take way longer as I have to stop for the full duration of traffic lights.
Admittedly, running intervals in the mornings takes some getting used to, but I now realize the benefits. My repetitions always get faster as I go. They start out feeling hard, but become easier and faster as the workout progresses. In contrast, one day the other week I had to do an interval workout later in the day. My first repetition was blistering fast (I was obviously too well warmed-up), I struggled to match the time in the next intervals, and barely completed the entire workout.
When I start my days with my run under my belt, I feel alive and full of energy and ready to tackle any challenge. If I wait until later it takes me about half a day to wake up, and the second half wondering when and how I will fit in my run.
I am aware of a breed of people who are Night Runners. I see them out there at various hours, seemingly happy and in their element. I know we are part of the same family, but we a different sub-species. Although I can and sometimes do join their ranks, I will never truly be one of them. Now that I’ve finally discovered my true identity I will embrace it and be true to it, and will continue to run most of my miles before the sun rises.