Thursday, February 9, 2012

Night Running Tips

Are you a morning, afternoon, or evening runner? I started out as an afternoon runner. After school (High school and college) I would go for a run. It was the warmest point of the day, and chances are I didn't have to work. Those were the days...

I had to transition to anytime running. Once I started my last year of college and serving tables in NYC, my schedule was so off the wall I started running whenever I could. I had to build up morning running because I would get nauseous (hypoglycemia), but I learned what to eat, how to get going. So, I conquered anytime running.

Then I reverted back to afternoon running. When I began teaching, I couldn't imagine waking up BEFORE my already early morning alarm to run. Gradually I started to realize that I would come home tired and find excuses not to go running. When I finally moved to an apartment semi close to our gym, I started morning running.

Hello, 5am. Throughout marathon training, I continued this until school started in the fall when certain runs (Er, more than 5 miles) couldn't be done in time before work. Recently, with the addition of attending fitness classes later at night, I've had a harder time waking up at 5am. So, night running has been happening more often. I never thought I'd be a night runner.

Here are some tips to get a night run in when your normal morning/afternoon run just didn't happen:

- Think fuel all day. If you have a stomach of steel, God bless you. I and many other runners are, unfortunately, not as blessed. Consider what you eat throughout the day. More coffee gives your heartburn? Skip that mid afternoon brew. Cheese and milk irritate you? Pizza is not your best choice. Pack your lunch on a P.M. run day. It gives you peace of mind and ensures that you won't have an excuse to skip it.

-Bring a phone. A main reason that I prefer not to run at night is because it's not the safest. In January alone I had three close encounters with cars that ran stop signs. Having a phone is a sure way that if something happens I am ready to call for help.

- Wear bright clothing. Obvious right? Not so much. Inevitably when I go for a night run, all I have in the clean pile is dark. My black gloves have green neon thumbs, so when approaching a cross walk I tend to throw a thumb or two up ;-) My sister, Coach Jen, owns a fabulous reflector vest. However, I'm not as cool as her....yet. Either way, cool or not, wear bold bright colors.

- Anticipate being a little tired. At the end of the day, when the sun is down, all I want to do is sit on the couch, read blogs, play fetch with Lambeau puppy (It's not a choice, he's very demanding) and talk with Mr. Miller. On a run night, I know I'm tired. I go easy for the first half and try to push it in the second half with the mindset that: I'm halfway to sitting on that couch!

- Make a quick, easy, yet satisfying dinner. When I work out at night, the temptation is to eat everything in sight when I get home. Hello. I'm. STARVING! Therefore, a salad with chicken will not be an adequate dinner. Tonight I made delicious eggs (Featured below) and they were great, easy, and healthy. Another option is preparing dinner right when I get home and running while it bakes. Either way, prepare to be hungry even with a 2-3 mile run. It's dinner time!

- Watch out for dog poop! Ha. I had a close call tonight!

- Take in the peacefulness of the dark. It's very relaxing to me. If I have music, I put it on low so I can still be aware of what's around you.

- Last, and certainly not least: Take some cool night photos!!! Tonight I finished 4 easy miles and enjoyed it immensely. The scenery was beautiful!

The track at my park is lit up like a stinking Christmas tree! Night speed work anyone?
Manhattan skyline. I called this one "Yellow Diamonds in the Light" on Instagram (Follow me at Kristinannm).
Yummy dinner!!! I added sauteed red peppers, thawed chopped broccoli, and extra sharp cheddar cheese. Mmmmm.
If you want tips to become a morning runner, this blogger wrote about her journey toward morning running.

What time of day do YOU run/exercise? TELL ME ABOUT IT!

Running and Cross training my way because it's...
12 days until Cancun and Winter Polka Dot Bikini!!!
41 Days until the 13.1 NYC half marathon!!!


(christine) said...

I am an an afternoon runner. While in grad school I ran in the evenings, but usually on the treadmill. Now I work evenings so I typically go after lunch and before work. I keep trying to become a morning runner, but it just doesn't seem likely!

Lauren said...

I definitely gravitate toward afternoon/evening running. I hate going out in the cold and dark, but once I'm out there I usually feel pretty good. And it's what I've done for most of my life, so my body is just used to running at that time of day - when I've had all day to wake up, stretch out (by moving around, etc) and eat.

Transitioning to morning runs has been tough, but I'm lucky that I don't have to get up super early (compared to some). And it's helped my motivation a lot. So far. We'll see how long it lasts... ;)

Meg O @watchmegorun said...

such pretty pictures! I run in the afternoon besides on the weekend. I've ran a few times at night, but it's hard for me, the later I run, it keeps me awake at night.

Kelly said...

I prefer running early in the morning, when it's quiet, the animals out, and I get my workout done before my day gets started (and less chance to get derailed through the day). In the winter it's too cold and dark to run in the morning, so I take lunch runs at work. I feel a little more rushed then, but it's better than no run.

RunnerMom said...

A head lamp is great too. Whether running before the sun is up or after it is down, I wear a head lamp. No matter what time of day, I usually rock the neon yellow safety vest too!