A Running Update!

It seems like it’s been awhile since we chatted about running here and with spring almost upon us I’m starting to think more about my miles and look forward to my runs a bit more.  Winter has always been a tough season for me to run and honestly it probably always will be.  The darkness, tricky weather conditions like rain, sleet, snow and ice and the cold are enough to keep me buried under the covers.

I spent most of December, January and February making the most of it.  Morning runs are always best for me so throughout most of the winter I kept a good eye on the weather and planned to run on the best days possible.  Occasionally when the alarm went off at 5am and the bedroom was freezing I would rolled over for some extra rest and head out for a run on my lunch break.  In the end I had a good combination of morning runs and afternoon runs.  On average I probably ran 3 times a week but February, with its cold and snow, had me out running more like 2 times a week.  I usually ran only 3 or 4 miles…it was just long enough for me to get some cardio in but not long enough for me to freeze!

Now that the snow is melting, the mornings are lighter and the air warmer I’ve been loving my morning runs again.  I find myself getting right out of bed to head out and considered running last Friday even though it was a rest day!   I’ve been increasing my mileage slowly.  During the week I’ve been getting in a couple 4 mile runs and then every other week I’ve been doing a 6 mile long run.  It feels good to be running long.  As the weather continues to get better I’m planning to up my mileage a bit more.  Ideally I’d love to do a 3.5 mile run, a 5 mile run and a 7 miler each week.  I feel like that schedule would be completely manageable with yoga and everything else.  I’d also like to add a speed workout or tempo run in each week.  I love the feeling of working hard while I’m running.  My pace has also slowed this winter and I’d like to get back to my 8:15 min/mile.  I think my slower pace is a result of running in the darkness, snow and ice.  When I run in the daylight my pace is almost :45 seconds/mile faster.  Running faster is something I’ve been thinking about but I don’t plan to stress about it.

For a month or so I was feeling a little down about running because I wasn’t sure what races I wanted to do this year.  I still don’t know what races I want to do but I am loving my runs more.  I feel like I’ve struck a good balance between running, yoga and teaching.  The last thing I want is to be stressed about my runs or workouts.  My other thought is that adding in a long run and tempo run will help to get me in half marathon shape, so if I decided to do one I won’t need months to build up to it.

Like always, I’m just happy to be out running!  It’s kind of nice to not have a plan right now and just go with the flow.  I love the “me” time running gives me and when I’m ready I’ll pick a race to start training for!

What is your running status as we head into spring?

The Benefits of Morning Running!

Hey Guys! Hope you are all having a great day.  The weather is still gorgeous here in Boston and I really can’t get over it! It’s made running so fun and enjoyable this week! I’ve been trying to get outside every opportunity possible.  I studied outside yesterday on my lunch break because I couldn’t bear to sit inside.  Hopefully you are all taking advantage if the warm weather has found its way to you.

I have a love affair with running in the morning but when I run is always changing.  For most of February and early March I ran outside every morning, mostly because the sun was rising earlier and I could finish my run with more daylight than I started.  Much better than the darkness of night.  Now that the time change has happened it’s dark in the morning again so I’ve been running at night in the sunlight and warmth.  Come July and August I will aim to get most my runs done in the morning because the air is cooler and my body just likes it better.  Regardless of the time of year or whether or not it is dark or light at 5:15AM there is nothing that makes me happier than a morning run.

Who wouldn’t want to start their day with this view?!

Why does running in the morning make me so happy?

I love when my alarms goes off and I roll out of bed and put on any old running clothes.  I don’t care if my Lululemon patterns match or if my headband coordinates, I just put on what will make me happy and that is freeing.  I love pulling my hair back and not caring if it’s bumpy and messy because of my bed head. I love feeling the cool morning air on my makeup less face as I wait for my Garmin to connect.  I love being 3 miles in with sweat running down my face and wiping it off without having to worry about smearing my mascara.  I love that at 5AM I don’t feel judged by what I am wearing or how my hair looks.

I love running on the empty streets, not having to worry about traffic and cross-walks.  I love seeing the traffic lights flashing red and yellow…no green to be found.  I love the quiet.  I love that I can hear my own feet on the pavement and the sound of my own breath.  I love that I don’t have to navigate runners, walkers, bikers and cars.  I love the morning air that smells so fresh and clean. I love the sky as it slowly gets brighter.  I love watching the sunrise over a city I love with all my heart.  I love thinking about how much I’ve grown as person thanks to that city and all it contains. I love being lost in my own thoughts, and my own world.

I love that by 6AM I’ve accomplished something for myself before most the world is up and stirring.  I love that at 11AM I will think back to my morning run and feel like I’ve had a fulfilling morning.  I love that at 5PM when I leave work I’m done for the day and can head off and do something fun or just simply relax.  I love feeling the run in my legs throughout the day.

I love Boston!

Beyond just the satisfaction and happiness I get from morning runs there are added benefits for my body.

According to Livestrong.com running in the morning can help you burn fat.  Here’s what the article had to say,

According to strength coach and bodybuilder Tom Venuto, exercising first thing in the morning helps you burn more fat. After sleeping, your body is in a semi-fasted state, and its carbohydrate stores are depleted. Carbs are your body’s usual source of energy, so when they’re not available, your body burns fat tissue to fuel your workout instead. Provided you keep your running at a low-to-moderate intensity, your body will burn primarily fat for fuel.

Running in the morning is also a stress reliever.  By working to accomplish a goal be it weight loss, training for your first 5k or marathon or simply getting more exercise you feel greater satisfaction.  Doing this first thing in the morning can improve our mood and can keep you positive throughout the day.  Releasing stress in the morning helps you to approach situations from a more calm standpoint and can help you to make more rational decisions throughout the day.

Morning runs and workouts are often more convenient for busy people.  When I run in the morning I do it usually because my day will be busy and I want to guarantee myself a great workout!  If you work late, often have night-time social commitments or are busy raising a family a morning run might work best for you.

The other bonus to doing morning runs is that you can do two a days! It’s long been said that running two a days or working out both morning and night is highly beneficial.  By getting your run done in the morning you are able to do an afternoon workout of weight lifting or a second run to help build your speed!  Your body will thank you twice for that!

Love the Sunrise!

Getting up and running in the morning isn’t always easy, particularly if you had a late night but it’s great for your mind, body and soul.  I know personally, I never regret getting up early for a morning run!

So you tell me, why do you love or hate morning runs?  What motivates you to get up and get out the door early in the morning? What are your personal benefits to morning runs workouts?