The sound of faint synthetic chords interrupts a spectacularly peaceful slumber, growing louder and louder in volume until my dream—whatever it was—is broken.
Awake enough to stand, sort of, I use landmarks to navigate my path out of my bedroom and into the hallway—and, from there, toward the kitchen, where the source of the music wails. I silence the noise, shuffle over to my Keurig, and button press my way to an all-too-necessary cup of coffee.
As I wait, through bleary eyes, I stare at the clock display: 4:18 AM. It’s a Tuesday morning—or a Wednesday, or a Thursday. Whatever day it is, the reason I’m standing here, waiting on a cup of coffee before even the daily newspapers are delivered, is the same. It’s time to run. Again.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. Believe me, I know everything you’re thinking. I know because I’ve thought it all, too. But hear me out. There’s a case to be made for this seemingly ridiculous behavior and I’m going to make it.
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First things first: Why?
More miles, more time: I should clarify that being a “morning runner” does not mean you, too, must set your alarm for 4:15. My wake-up time—initially 5:30—has gradually crept closer and closer to 4 a.m. as my marathon training has progressed. With “short” runs around five miles and midweek mileage reaching double digits, I routinely need to hit the pavement by 5 a.m.
Some folks are capable of rolling out of bed, into their sneakers, and out the front door. Maybe you’re one of them. I’m not. I require a brief caffeine-infused introductory period before I can function as a human.
I injected new life into my legs by simply flipping my run from evening to morning.
It’s warm in Texas: I live and run in Dallas, and, in case you didn’t know, it’s really freakin’ hot here in the summer, which—evidently—is approximately 11 months out of the year. Afternoon and evening runs can be brutal. Earlier this year, in what was supposed to be the spring, I found myself struggling mightily to perform as temperatures climbed. I injected new life into my legs by simply flipping my run from evening to morning.
Of course, you may not live in Texas and the heat may not be a factor. But, for you, I still say run in the mornings, because…
Morning runs free up your evenings: I have to tell you—and I mean this sincerely—one of the best parts about running in the morning is not having to run that evening. Instead, I just go home, put on some comfy clothes, pour a little red wine, and turn on the ballgame. It’s sublime.
Evening runs have a habit of getting canceled. Meetings run late. Traffic is jammed. Your spouse requires some assistance. Whatever the case, there are no excuses at five o’clock in the morning—which is very different from the circumstances you will inherit at five o’clock in the evening.
Starting your day out with a run will allow you to stay consistent in your training while reinforcing discipline.