The Gift of the Early Morning Run

Even though the official start of summer is still a week away, it definitely feels like summer in the south.  Not that I’m complaining.  I love warm, even hot, weather and summer is the time of year I crave the rest of the year.  Even though the temperatures in the fall are better for running, I’m already mourning summer’s passing by the time it cools off.

But running in the heat admittedly sucks sometimes.  The heat slows you down and makes even an easy run harder than it should be.  Your body does adapt to the heat and actually becomes fitter if done right, but even I don’t want to run at the hottest part of the day all the time.

So when I couldn’t fit in my normal Sunday long run until the temperature was well over 80 degrees yesterday, I chose to hit the pool instead and got some easy laps in.  Not the same as a long run, but certainly the right choice.  To make up for the missed run, I decided to get up early today and run long before work.

This might just be my new routine.

Besides the much more pleasant temperatures, there is something special about running before most of the world wakes up.  Catching the sunrise is a good one.  I love running downtown without the traffic and crowds, watching the shops open and seeing a few early-rising tourists wandering around searching for breakfast.  People driving to the office sip coffee from travel mugs at red lights or apply lipstick in the rear view mirror.  The usual regulars hang out at the Hot Spot on Hilliard: the lady who wears pajamas at all hours of the day takes a swig from her Pepsi bottle and talks to a Mountain Dew drinker dragging his luggage from the bus station.  This morning a fine mist settled over Town Mountain and the layers of blue hills were back lit in shades of gold, lemon, and cream.

Another beautiful part about running early is that you’re done before breakfast.  I don’t have to worry about fitting my run in later or timing my lunch so I’m fueled but not too full for an afternoon run.  I don’t have to stress about not being able to sleep from an evening run.

Yes, getting up early when I’d rather be sleeping takes a little getting used to. But after a few runs like these, I’m reminded why I like it.  In the depths of winter, there’s pretty much zero chance that I’ll bound out of bed before 6 and happily go for a run in the dark and cold.  But while the days are long and warm, those early morning hours are like a secret little gift given only to those who choose to be awake for them.

Do you like early morning runs?  Tell me why or why not in the comments!





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