Earliest Run Ever

In general I consider myself to be a morning person.  I’d much rather start work and get it finished and have the rest of the day to enjoy than feel like I have to rush my morning activities before getting ready for work.  This was always a struggle when I worked retail (juniors’ clothing store and later a grocery store) as I loved the 6a-2p shifts and loathed the 2p-10p ones.  For some reason morning seems to just pass by more quickly for me while working.

That being said, I do not consider myself a morning runner.  I’ve often chalked it up to all the years of running after school for practices.  When we had optional Sat. morning track practices I would attend, but I never felt very well physically.  I never felt hydrated enough or loosened up enough to perform decently.

When I trained for my first half marathon in 2013 I completed all my long runs on Fri. evenings after work.  Last year I typically ran my long runs on Sat. or Sun. mornings around 9a or 10a.  I had no desire to get out of bed on the weekends.  Some of this was fueled by Jason working second shift and not being much of a morning person.

Times have changed since last year.  Now on the weekends I’m normally out the door to run no later than 8:30a.  I chalk this up to the fact that Jason started working first shift in the spring and has found enjoyment in being up early.  This has moved our bedtime up earlier thus my body is well rested to be up earlier as well, even on weekends.

On vacation in Ocean City I wanted to complete at least one run.  Jason and I were awake before 6a and running on the boardwalk not long after that.  There were very few others awake at that time, and it was nice to not be bothered to watch out for bicyclists.  It also meant we were back to the motel, showered and out on the beach to claim our spot before most others were even out of bed.

There has been a heat advisory in our area everyday since Monday.  Todd texted our running group last night to cancel our usual Wed. evening run and suggested we should try to run in the morning.  I knew I had to get a run completed, so I notified my manager I would be taking lunch at 8a to run.  It crossed my mind to simply set my alarm early enough to run before I started work, but that was a fleeting thought.

Much to my surprise Jason was out of bed before 5a today, and my body/mind wouldn’t let me fall back to sleep.  This was partially due to feeling well rested and partially due to hunger.  I got out of bed and he said he was interested in running, so I quickly ate a cinnamon raisin bagel with cream cheese and got dressed.  We were out the door by 5:30a – the earliest I have ever ran in my life.  Unfortunately neither of us had reflective clothing so he wore a bright orange shirt and I wore a neon yellow one and he used the flashlight on his phone to light our way.  We stuck to the alleys and side streets in town and ran some of the 3 miles on the high school campus.  The only real traffic was on Main Street but luckily no cars were passing when we crossed it to return home.

Running that early was a very different experience for me, and I can certainly understand the appeal of it to many people.  The quietness, lack of traffic and lower temperatures compared to the afternoon heat were all enjoyable.  I felt comfortable because I was running on very familiar routes, so I didn’t have much worry about tripping.

3 miles seemed like a good distance to test both my stomach and the darkness.  I can’t say that I would want to run much farther than 5 miles as I would need to eat more (I had “second breakfast” after I showered) and thus have to wait longer to run.  The other option would be to get up even earlier which would likely never happen.  I don’t think I could force myself to get up at that hour to run, but if I’m ever awake and have a short run to complete I’ll consider it in the future.

Are you a morning person and/or morning runner?  If so, how early do you run?  Do you eat before you run?



About Tracy

Runner. Writer. Reader. Environmental and Indigenous Peoples advocate. Work from home Workforce Specialist. NASM Certified Personal Trainer. Assistant Varsity Track Coach. Fascinated by the ocean, waterfalls and Christmas lights.
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20 Responses to Earliest Run Ever

  1. Erratic Movement says:

    Definitely a morning person! My ideal start time to run is 6:30 – 7:30, the earliest I’ve gone was 4:30 when I woke up super fresh for whatever reason!

    • TracyNicole says:

      I think I could manage a run at that time since I’m usually up by 6:30 most days anyway. Through the week though I start work at 7 which is why I normally just run after work. I bet it was really dark running at 4:30! Isn’t it funny though how sometimes we wake up super early like that and feel great on a few hours of sleep and then other days we sleep well beyond 8 hours and feel awful upon waking?

      • Erratic Movement says:

        For sure 😁 A bit more background on that run: it was actually the first time I ever ran marathon distance! It was around two years ago, I’d decided I wanted to go for a long run and planned to get up early (6-8AM was my target). Ended up feeling real good and just going for it! I was woefully underprepared to handle the dark though! Really should have had a head torch, there were some real dicey country roads I had to navigate with a little keyring light as my only light source to show cars where I was.

      • TracyNicole says:

        So you ran the full 26.2 miles that morning?!? That sounds challenging to begin with let alone navigating it in the dark. I wonder what is safer in terms of running in the dark like that – town roads or country roads? I tend to think of country roads as less traveled (one of the reasons I tend to prefer them particularly for long runs) but I also know people like to fly down them so they might not be watching out for runners as much.

      • Erratic Movement says:

        Yes, when I got to 20 I thought I’d carry on! Legs were gone by the finish but was an experience! Would definitely say city/urban running in the night is safer in terms of road traffic and hazards. The country roads sometimes have really sharp turns where you’re exposed as a pedestrian.

      • TracyNicole says:

        Wow, I am just baffled at the idea of spontaneously running that far! My husband did that on the rail trail once, just randomly decided he was going to run a half marathon. Unfortunately I have yet to convince him to actually train and sign up to race one (though he’s raced 5k’s I don’t think he really has the racing bug as he figures why should he pay to run when he can just go run) as I think he’d do very well. You make valid points on the city/town safety vs country roads. I can often be clumsy and I think the only reason I felt comfortable running the past two mornings is because it was on streets I regularly run and knew there would be no potholes!

      • Erratic Movement says:

        It was challenging for sure haha. The darkness only impacted me during a 3-ish mile stretch in the middle, otherwise it was generally easy to navigate and quite peaceful. I was woefully underprepared in terms of nutrition/energy though, so I scuttled along at around 10:30+ pace for the last 6 miles.

      • TracyNicole says:

        Nutrition is one of the main reasons I have yet to contemplate training for a marathon; I feel like I’m hungry/eating all day after my long runs for my half marathon!

  2. AJ says:

    I am a morning person and enjoy a morning run, but my evening runs are always so much faster and stronger

    • TracyNicole says:

      Yesterday’s wasn’t too bad for me but I think having Jason running too kept my pace a little quicker. This morning I was up after 5 again so I decided to go for 5 miles and it definitely felt tougher. I’m not sure if it was because I was running alone, it was more humid, or I just wasn’t feeling it as much.

      • AJ says:

        At least you went!!! I am trying to get myself out the door right now!

      • TracyNicole says:

        Motivation is a funny thing isn’t it? I knew I was going to get 5 miles in today no matter what, it was just going through my head laying in bed if I wanted to exert the effort to get out of bed to do it early or suffer through the heat later this afternoon. It honestly helps motivate me when Jason is up early; I could never get up and run if he was still sleeping away as that would fuel my wanting to be lazy too. Haha

      • AJ says:

        Motivation is really tricky! I joined a virtual running group which has really helped with getting me out the door, but having someone to go with is the best!

      • TracyNicole says:

        That’s cool, are you liking the group? I find reading other runners’ blogs to be motivating as well.

      • AJ says:

        It is a neat group as it tells you what to run and then you earn points for completing it. Since I’m not training for anything right now their schedule works and it’s nice to just be told what to do!

  3. Training for the half marathon that I just ran in Alaska a couple of weeks ago really tested my resolve with not being an early riser. It’s been hot and humid here as usual this summer so I did all of my week day runs after work (often when it was in the 90’s) and my long runs on Saturday mornings usually around 7 or 7:30 (out the door then). The problem here in NC is that the humidity is unbearable in the early morning until the heat really comes on, but even so it’s still 75 degrees by 8:00 with humidity around 90-95%. Long story short, it’s been hot and humid for pretty much every single one of my runs for the last several months and as long as I live here, there’s no escaping it other than to run on the treadmill. I’ve done very little treadmill runs, because I just realize this is how it is here during the summer. I’m so ready for fall; can you tell?

    • TracyNicole says:

      The humidity of the south is one of the reasons I fight my husband in vacationing there (though I’m 99.9% certain we’ll be visiting New Orleans next fall); he completed basic training in Georgia the summer before his senior year and all he remembers of the south is how miserable the weather was. The heat advisory for my area expired last evening though this afternoon’s temps were to read mid 80s; the humidity during my run this morning made me wonder if it would’ve been more pleasant waiting to run until the afternoon. Props to you for sticking to it and I don’t blame you for avoiding the treadmill. I believe I read somewhere recently that people who live in northern states log more miles a year running than those in southern states; apparently it’s easier to fight the cold than it is the heat/humidity? Fall weather is certainly the preferred weather for runners!

  4. Pingback: Double Digit Week | The Writing Runner

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