Historically, I have been far from a "morning person". Throughout my school days, all the way through grad school, I suffered from insomnia and couldn't fall asleep at a regular time. When I finally DID drift off, the last thing I wanted to do was wake up only an hour or two later. I'd put up with a disgustingly early alarm if work or classes called for it, or for a game or practice if that's what's on the schedule... But wake up early on my own? Never. I've always relished every extra minute I could spend under the covers before having to face the day - until recently.
I'm not sure what initiated the switch. This awful summer heat was probably a big factor in hauling out of bed early, trying to pound out my weekday mileage before it became sweltering and I chickened out. Several people have also suggested that more morning training will help prepare my body for race days, which almost always start pretty early. Plus, I'm still staying with my parents for now, which means they get up early and make some noise, so I'm usually awake-ish before I really want to be, so I guess between all these things, it started to click that morning running might be for me.
After a few weeks, I've actually started planning multiple morning runs each week. Being able to get the mileage out early means I can come home from work and take care of other things (like puppy and blogging, eh) and eat without worrying about how it will affect my run later. Morning mileage also makes me more alert throughout the day, and I've noticed a little extra weight loss in the past couple weeks too. Sounds like a pretty good package so far!
Of course, some of these benefits I'm noticing aren't necessarily just from the run itself, but from the overall habit adjustments that have come with changing my schedule a bit. Early workouts kickstart your day with more than just a good sweat or metabolic boost: I'm now finding myself with enough time for an actual breakfast, and because the early morning running is making me feel all healthy, I've been making smarter decisions for what I eat. Earnest Eats has sent me some single-serving hot cereals to try, and I've had one every day this week - loading up on superfood grains and slow carbs, plus extra protein and a great shot of fiber in each cup. My new obsession with almond butter and raspberry Greek yogurt carries me through lunch, and I'm back to making home-cooked dinners more often (especially when it's so easy to grill up a fresh burger). Just the little AM boost helped push me on track for a better overall diet.
My extra time in the morning also gives me a little window for some yoga in the early sun's rays. This month I've been participating in another yoga challenge with my fellow Move More Fitness ambassadors, but I don't feel pressured to just throw up my pose for the day, snap a few pics, and rush out the door. Most days, I take a little time to stretch after my run and really practice a pose or two. Flexibility is hard for me to come by; with dedicated work, though, I already am seeing a little extra range of motion. Also, a regular stretching and/or yoga routine can decrease the risk of injury, and with the Marine Corps Marathon only 44 days away, anything that will keep me mobile belongs in my daily schedule!
These past couple days, though, I've noticed a little stomach trouble mid-way through my runs. At first I was a little worried, but then I realized it's most likely a combination of two things. One, I think I'm a bit under the weather, as we've started seeing cooler evenings and even some cooler days, so the pressure changes are affecting me. Two, and probably the larger factor, is that my body is adjusting to waking up early, so my hunger and other body functions are coming online more quickly! For the first couple weeks, it was a shock to my body. Didn't really know how to handle it. "She's up already? What do WE do? Uhhhh just hang out, I guess...?" (That's my internal organ dialog happening.) Now, though, it's "Okay, we're up, let's do this!" I'm sure with more practice, I'll have the details worked out!
Do you run in the morning or in the evening? Or whenever fits your schedule? Did it take you a while to adjust if you weren't a morning person before starting morning runs? What are some of the hiccups you've experienced while changing a training schedule?