Running in the 'Meda: When do you run?

Running in the 'Meda: When do you run?

Marty Beene

I hate running early in the morning.

Sure, many people are just not "morning people," so it stands to reason that non-morning people might not enjoy running in the early morning.

But that's not me. I love the early morning. I wake up without an alarm at 5:30 every day and willingly get out of bed. Okay, I sleep in 'till 6:00 on some weekend days. I get up, eat breakfast (something healthy, of course), drink my coffee, read the news, and so on. And I love doing that.

But run? I don't think so.

This can be a bit of a problem, given that road races almost always start fairly early in the morning and it's generally advisable to practice those early starts by training in the early morning. Some bigger races start REALLY early in the morning, like at 5 a.m. Ow.

I think I've gotten into the habit of enjoying running later in the day from living in the Bay Area my whole life. We don't have to deal with 90-degree temperatures with 80 percent humidity, something that much of the rest of the country does at this time of the year. I can often go for a 10 or 11 a.m. run here in Alameda and the morning overcast still hasn't burned off yet. Even in the mid-afternoon, it's rarely more than about 75 degrees, which is comfortable enough for a long run.

My later ideal running time probably contributes to why I enjoy track so much. Few track meets occur in the morning; most of them are in the evening, so the race times of 7 p.m. or so are right in my wheelhouse. Cross-country (for grownups, like the series I mentioned a couple weeks ago) is another discipline that usually suits my later time preference, with few races starting before 9 a.m. and many scheduled for 10 a.m. or later.

For other fitness activities, I don't mind early starts. When I go to the gym for my strength work, I'm usually up before 5 and starting my workout before 5:15. That way, by the time I realize I'm awake, I'm already halfway done! For cycling, I'm more than happy to get started as soon as it's light outside - that seems to give me a fighting chance to avoid having to fight the inevitable wind.

I always preach that it's critical to find an exercise mode that you enjoy, otherwise you won't do it. The same is true for the time you exercise, so think about what time of day works best for you, then do that.

I'm considering various ideas of start times for the "senior/pre-senior" (over 40) strength class I'm starting next month - if you're interested, shoot me an e-mail and let me know what time you would prefer.

Marty Beene, a USA Track & Field certified coach, is owner of Be The Runner; he coaches adults from beginners to veterans individually and in groups. He can be reached at marty@BeTheRunner.com early in the morning, 'cause he won't be out running then.