Saturday, April 01, 2006

The Afternoon Run: Expelling the Virtues of the A.M.

I am a morning person. You can wake me up at almost any hour no matter how little sleep I have had and I will happily get out of bed. Just don't yell at me, that makes me cranky. Go ask Carmella and Beau-- who have woken me up many times a little too rudely and suffered the wrath of Mommy-- just how cranky I can be. They both learned early on that if you want to wake Mommy up at 5 am do it with a cheery "Good Morning Mommy" and a kiss. NOT with a stand by the bed screeching like a banshee wake-up call that means: Mommy get the fuck out of bed now and get me my milk! That doesn't start the day off good for anyone.

However, even though I can get up at any hour I cannot go running at any hour. I need time in the morning to eat and get my constitution (thank you Uncle Sam's) on before I lace up the shoes and go out the door for my daily 10k. My friend Stephanie blogged about the virtues of the early morning runhere.

She is a morning person AND a morning runner. Lucky ducky, those are good things to be. Most races are at the ridiculous hour of 7 am. I have even seen some start at an ungodly 6 am and occasionally there will be one at the more reasonable hour of 8 am. Regardless, I never run before 9 am unless I am at the beach because it is too damn hot to run after 9 am there, so I am always at a distinct handicap. The early race times really suck for me because I have to have 2 hours before I can run. For example, for the Atlanta Marathon I got up at 5 am. I went to bed the night before after 11 pm. So I ran 26 miles with less than 6 hours sleep. This, for sure, is not ideal but I can and do manage it. See, those sleepless newborn days were not a complete waste. They trained my body to function and function well on little sleep.

Ideally, I wish races were in the afternoon. Well, at least in the fall, winter and spring. Summer, because, of the heat I do agree about the early times. My body is, by nature, an afternoon runner. Therefore, I wanted to compliment Steph's Morning Run top 10 with an Afternoon Run top 10:

10. You are well-hydrated from, hopefully, drinking water all day: Hydration=energy

9. Most likely you have gotten your constitution on and won't have any, err, is there a gas station around here moments.

8. You have at least 2 meals in you (and if you are like me 4 or 5): Food= energy and Energy = distance + speed.

7. You are not sleepy.

6. You are not sore because you have spent all day walking around and stretching out all the tight joints and muscles. (Steph IS younger than me so she, admittedly, may not suffer from the AM tightness that I do.)

5. There are a lot of afternoon road runners so it can be a social event. (No Dale and his dog since I don't know who that is but there are others with their little dogs out there.)

4. If you go after high school is out you can breeze past the cross-country runners and feel great that you kicked the ass of asses that are half your age: Those asses may be perkier but you are faster!

3. Sunsets.

2. The after run beer. Mmm carbs. . .

1. You don't have to get up early to run.

As a Mommy though, I offer this caveat: you have to take your runs when you can get them. So while the afternoon run may be my ideal it is rarely a reality. It is always safer to run in the morning if you can because then you don't spend the whole day sweating the "am I going to get to run today" panic.

That said, I am off for my morning run.


  1. What I wouldn't do to be able to run past the cross-country folks - they train in our neighborhood.

    You know, I think that I am faster in the afternoon, but the fear that I won't get to go at all makes me get up and go in the morning. Plus, it's a lot cooler in the summmer and not so many cars.

  2. I'm the same. Pre-kids though, I NEVER ran in the am. Parenting, really makes you switch your prioritees around.