Get up already

Hopefully I'm not repeating myself with this post, but it occurred to me that except for this topic occasionally coming up in the comments section, I've never discussed my routine as a steadfastly morning runner.  And I've gotten enough questions ("how do you have time to run so many miles a week!") that I might as well walk through it with y'all.

There are so many different ways to go about morning running.  You can be really prepared about it by getting up hella early and taking the time to fully wake up, eat some food, warm up, stretch, get a lot of miles in.  You can wake up with just enough time to have coffee, hit the bathroom, and go.  You can sleep in your running clothes.  You can run in the dark, with a headlamp or a friend.  You can head to the treadmill in your basement or drive to the gym or a lit track.

You can also forget about all the logistics of being a morning runner and run instead during your lunch break, or after work, or when your kid is napping/at school, or after dinner.

Probably not surprising to those of you who noticed I am prone to cut corners when it comes to saving time (arriving at a race 4 minutes before it starts....not stretching, not doing yoga, not doing squats....eating pre-packaged food instead of planning out a nice evening meal), but my morning running is all about minimalism.

1) I WILL NOT drive anywhere.  It's out my front door or nothing.  Occasionally I will run to the gym (0.5 mile away) and sometimes I will drive the half-hour to my "temporary" glamour gym near my work so that I can swim in the a.m.  But for time saving purposes, all of my outdoor morning runs are out the front door.

2) I do not take the time to wake up.  I often start waking up when I hit 20 yards of running and realize my legs are moving and I'm not dreaming.  My first mile is usually 9:00 minutes on the dot.  Slow and steady, waking up.

3) I do not eat.  Do not eat, do not eat before a work morning run.  I do eat on the weekends before a run, because those runs usually start at 10:00 a.m. or later, and I wouldn't make it 2 miles without eating.  But weekday runs, no food, which feels fine up to 18 miles.  I do drink water while I run.

This has always felt 100% fine for me energy wise, and I know a lot of other runners operate this way. I attribute it to years of adjusting to morning running (I first tested out running in the morning in high-school to get a leg up on my soccer endurance, so we're talking around 12 years).  Since those high school years, I have eaten high calorie dinners, and I think my body kind of knows that it needs to store up for the next morning because it loves to eat right before bed.  I'll eat dinner sometime between 7:30-9:00, then snack or dessert until bed.  I don't go to bed stuffed, but I never go to bed anything close to hungry.  If I even think I might be almost near hungry, I have a snack.  I guess that is called "topping it off" before bed.  And I feel great on morning runs thanks to it.

4) No coffee.  It would sure help to get the bathroom sitch done quicker, but I don't want to take the time to make it, drink it, and I like the boost caffeine gives me on race days as someone who is not immune to it from drinking it daily.

5) Alarm.  Once I wake up, with an alarm or on my own shortly before the alarm, I'm up for good.  No snooze button necessary.  I will turn off the alarm, and just lay there for 5-10 minutes.  Soaking in the warmth of the bed.  Consider not running and going back to sleep, but somehow, I always choose the run over sleep.  Then I get up, and unless I have a battle with my Garmin or the bathroom, I'm out the door in 15 minutes.

6) Post-run.  Only the rest of the world has to suffer from the fact that I don't put much time into beautifying myself.  I stretch for 2 minutes, shower in 3 minutes, put clothes on in 3 minutes, put make-up on and brush my hair in 2 minutes, throw my breakfast/lunch/snacks into my workbag and drive away.  Average 10-15 minutes.  This means I get to run 2 more miles in the morning than if I took 30 minutes to get ready! yay!

20-minute face.  You're welcome EVERYBODY

10-minute prep.  Sorry world!

As for the evening, I can run up to maybe 5 or 6 miles, but in general evening running is not for me.  After commuting home, I want to go on a slow walk or hit the couch.  Since I stand most of the day at work, the couch feels welcome.

My standing work station keeps evolving.  This is the current creation.  

Also, I am typically a solo runner, but when it comes to evening running I prefer to have company.  Analyze THAT.

7) Depending on when I wake up, I usually give myself time to run from 1-2 hours, which means anywhere from 7-16 miles depending on how fast I'm going.  I seem to hit the 11-14 mile range most often.

What's your morning running routine? Or lunch, evening? Does anyone switch it up?


I'm running a half marathon tomorrow in San Francisco.  Since I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt of being TOO COOL to stay at home on a Saturday night reading blogs, and TOO AWESOME to be awake before 10:00 a.m. on a Sunday, I will probably have finished the thing before you read this.  So....I just ran a half marathon.  Unless something went terribly wrong.  Hopefully I didn't just curse myself.

I'm hoping to run a few miles before and after to make it a long run, even though last time I did this I regretted it fiercely.  But since I don't know where to park, I'm forced to use running as my means of transportation to the start line.  And back home.  It works out.

Plan: run hard, see how my leg-lock/buttcrease behaves.  It's so off and on these days.  There were a few days earlier this week where I was like "yes! It's gone, I can't find it!" and then woke up the next day with a tight buttcrease.  blerg!

Plan Ruiner: the story of a toothache is not a very interesting one, but it is a true story and it has attacked my running this week, in a few ways.

See, I have a toothache.  It developed last Sunday evening, and by Wednesday morning after two nights of laying (lying?) awake in pain, I made an emergency dentist appointment.  I had been loading my body with all sorts of pain relief drugs (something I never do....I hate drugs) and none of them were doing a thing.

I either have an infection underneath a crown (I had a root canal on this tooth 8 years ago) or the tooth is "cracked" underneath the crown.  I'm on day 4 of penicillin (which I was warned may have unpleasant side effects that nobody wants to have while trying to run a half-marathon...)  I'm on day 7 of avoiding crunchy foods, and of chewing on my non-dominant side of my mouth, both which make one of my favorite things (eating!) less enjoyable.  And I'm on day 3 of blissful sleep, pain free, thanks to codeine.

I'm not too worried about how the drugs and tooth pain impacts my run tomorrow, but if the pain persists, I'm going to have to schedule surgery to get it yanked which may mean having to take a week off (at least that's what I recall happening when I got my wisdom teeth removed).  This makes me worry a little, since I am 4 weeks out from a marathon.

But then I can say, "I should have PR'd, but, my tooth!" and I will gracefully bow, having gifted the blog world the lamest marathon fail excuse ever known.

Week so far:

Monday: 9.2 miles.
Tuesday: 15 miles a.m. 4 miles p.m. (19 total).
Wednesday: 11.3 miles a.m. (3 x 2 miles at about a 6:55 pace with a half mile recovery in between).
Thursday:  12.8 miles a.m. (4 miles of fartleks followed by hilly slow run); 3 miles p.m. (holding a massive burrito from a taco truck for the last mile for strength training). (15.8 total)
Friday: 4.6 miles.
Saturday: 0 miles.

Now go watch the Superbowl and update your Facebook status so everyone knows that YOU are watching it and that YOU especially love sports.  Damn, you're cool!