Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Survey Results and My Early Morning Running Experiment

The results are in! Thanks to all who participated in my extreme summer weather running survey. Before I announce the findings of my impromptu survey, let me just say that I tried to make this exercise as scientific as possible, by giving a full point to the option that was exclusively preferred by a voter and a half point to the options that weren't exclusively preferred. I think that's only fair. So without any further ado, here's what you all recommend to do when faced with the prospect of having to run during the current heat wave:

Run Early Morning - 10 votes
Run Late/Night - 1 vote
Treadmill It - 5 votes

Interesting, huh? My unrandomized uncontrolled scientific study shows that the overwhelming majority of you would rather wake up at some god-forsaken hour (like 4 or 5am), before even when all the nocturnal animals have turned in yet, to go run than suffer the ignominy of running in place on the treadmill despite the comforts of air-conditioning and cable television. But even that option seemed way better than running outdoors late at night, which I imagined is impractical and inconvenient for most runners. Also, no one picked the option of not running, which, although not explicitly stated as an option, is probably what the rest of the non-running world would have unanimously picked. As a whole, I find the results of this study rather fascinating because it highlights how much we are willing to put up with and how dedicated we are to the sport of running...and how much we hate running on the treadmill!

So as recommended, I got up on successive days (yesterday and today) at 5AM for my first early morning runs of 2010. Now let me confess right here that I've never been much of a morning person. Yes, I am usually up early for work on most days, and generally have no problem waking up early for the occasional weekend race but getting up in the dead of night (which I consider anytime before sunrise) for training runs is not really my cup of tea. For one thing, I find that I have to rearrange my entire eating and sleeping schedule to accommodate pre-daylight running. Not only so, but I find that I'm not up and rearing to go run in the early morning like I am when I run after work in the late afternoon. Maybe it's a matter of personal preference. Maybe it's a matter of establishing a habit. I figured I could try for a week or so and see what evolves.

My Tuesday morning tempo run (11 total miles with 6 at 6:37 min/mi) went well despite it being 87F with 50% humidity at 5AM). I struggled during the latter half of the tempo miles more due to the heat than to the effort, but otherwise surprised myself that I was able to get this one done on a day that hit triple digits on the thermometer. This morning, I took it easy and ran a recovery run of 6 miles at a slow 7:31 min/mi pace. The temperature was essentially the same except that the humidity was about 20% less than yesterday, which made conditions much more favorable for running. I ended the workout with some easy 6 x 100m strides which my legs liked after all the slow stuff. The only complaint I have about both of these runs was that it took me more than one-and-half miles of warmup before my body got moving and my pace felt comfortable. My legs felt like they were entirely asleep for the whole first half of the run! What's up with that? Eventually, everyone got with the program and we were running well again, but geez, this early morning running is no joke!

I'll wait to see how the legs respond tomorrow (rest day) and the next day before making a further assessment of my early morning running experiment. Anybody out there have any pointers on this transitioning process? Any pitfalls to avoid? Stories to share? Or maybe I'm just a wimp...(No, don't answer that last question and no, this is not another survey!)

Hope everyone in blogland is staying cool during these hot summer days and running well despite the heat by whatever method you employ. I'll check in with you all this weekend after my scheduled long run of 17+ miles. Yikes! I pray it'll be cooler by then.

13 comments:

marathonmaiden said...

stay cool yourself! it's been wicked hot out. it was 76* out when i got up this morning and the funny thing is that i thought "well hey this feels a bit chilly" hahah

i had to do some 430 wake ups last summer to beat the heat and, while my body did get used to it, it was brutal at first. probably didn't help that the other 4 or 5 mornings when i didn't have to get up so early i chose not to haha

J said...

My favorite line has to be " This morning, I took it easy and ran a recovery run of 6 miles at a slow 7:31 min/mi pace." I want to run the Boilermaker at that pace! hehe.

Anyway - since I morning run all year long, I find that my legs always take a while to warm up because I am up and out the door within ten minutes. If perhaps I had more time to get up and actually wake up and then start running, say 30 minutes after waking I think my legs would feel better and I would get into a groove faster. Also I think it takes some getting used to - your body has to adjust to getting right into running, rather than having all day to prepare.

Greg said...

I'm with J and you on needing some time to warmup in the morning. I used to go right out and start a tough workout like intervals with no warmup, but the times on the first and usually second one certainly suffered. Now I just assume the first mile is going to be crap and focus on the rest.

And, I'm a big predawn running fan, as you can tell by http://predawnrunner.com

The Happy Runner said...

Interesting. I missed the survey but probably would have voted for the late night run. I've tried and tried to run in the morning but can't get it going. Lately, I've been running either late at night or on the treadmill.

Good luck with the morning runs!

lindsay said...

i missed the survey too but i would vote for AM running. i used to get up at 3:30 to run! i'm crazy, i know. go ahead and have me checked in to the mental hospital. :)

glad your am running has gone well so far. now that you mention it about the nocturnal animals still being up, i remembered one morning where i saw an opossum get run over. it was very gross.

anyway. 50% humidity would be a dream. usually when i run at 5ish am the humidity is, at a minimum, 80%.

lindsay said...

i missed the survey too but i would vote for AM running. i used to get up at 3:30 to run! i'm crazy, i know. go ahead and have me checked in to the mental hospital. :)

glad your am running has gone well so far. now that you mention it about the nocturnal animals still being up, i remembered one morning where i saw an opossum get run over. it was very gross.

anyway. 50% humidity would be a dream. usually when i run at 5ish am the humidity is, at a minimum, 80%.

Rad Runner said...

Cool study- add one late entry for the early morning city girl here.. (when all is quite and the air is not so smoggy). Oh yes, I will go to bed early to wake up early to beat the smoggy smog to save my lungs, yep I sure will.

John said...

I feel your pain at making the transition to a morning runner. I am not naturally a morning person but discovered I was more consistent when I switched and really enjoyed my morning coffee at work after having a run. Now,if I can just rehab my strained hamstring.... Now, I hit the aqua-jogger or the bike at the crack of dawn...

Julie said...

Hi Lam,
I think that everyone is dealing with attempting to workout in the heat! Yuck! I missed your survey too. I hate running on the mill so I guess that I would most likely get up early and run then:) I am not really an early morning person but I would do it if it meant running in cooler conditions:) I hope that things cool down a little soon. The scary thing is that August is not even here yet:(

Have a great weekend Lam:) Enjoy your long run too!

Jamie said...

Good for you waking up early to get the training done. I too am not a morning person at all! It takes my legs forever to figure out what is going on when I do attempt ridiculously early morning runs. Hope it gets better for you after getting on a morning schedule!

Adam said...

Dang - I totally missed this! But, given that I live in PHX, I suppose I would have voted for early morn, because that is what I do!

The Laminator said...

So sorry so many of you missed the survey. It was so fun that I think I'll make it a regular feature here. Stay tuned.

@marathonmaiden - Haha! After the crazy weather from the weekend, when it's 70s now, it's like paradise!

@J - Crush that Boilermaker! Cheering for you to crush 7:30 pace. Woohoo!

@Greg - I'm so not used to the prolonged warmup that is required to do speedwork so early in the morning. I'm working on it!

@Happy Runner - I'm trying and trying too! I've not given up...yet! We'll see after this week whether I can keep this up.

@lindsay - Your 3:30 runs are insane! I am working on 5AM runs and even that's so hard for me right now.

@Rad Runner - Haha! Early to sleep, early to rise. Right? How come I have so much trouble with the early to sleep part? Hmmm...

@John - Good luck with your rehab. I think it's all a matter of habit. If I'm used to morning runs, they will get easier and easier. At least I hope so.

@Julie - True, everyone is having so much trouble dealing with the heat these days. Is this global warming rearing it's ugly head. We've had record highs all over the US! Yuck! Enjoy your weekend too, Julie!

@Jamie - Haha! Yeah, I literally had to shake my legs this morning mid run because they felt so dead! We are such NOT morning people! LOL!

@Adam - Yes, I don't imagine you could run at anytime other than in early morning out in the desert. I truly do not know how you all deal with such hotness all the time!

sRod said...

My body isn't in tip top form when I head out in the mornings either. But if I wait to the afternoon/evening, I'll run stronger but will fatigue faster. It's always a trade off.

 
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