runningman pavey

extreme runner and novelist

Finding what works for you

With a permanent ankle injury in one leg and then a seriously angry and painful Achilles aggravation in the other, to say it’s been hard keeping my running up, and more so my love of running up is an understatement of the greatest magnitude. I thought 2012 was a tough year of re-evaluation and soul searching. 2013 has stepped itself up a level. Not only do I have the self-doubt (that running is just not for me;that my body is not capable) to deal with, but with newborn twins and work to contend with and a daily schedule that does not event hint at the possibility of spare time to run in even if I was injury free, this year to date has been nothing but challenge for me.

With injury at least, it has meant reduced miles. But even then, when and where can I slot those in? My solution was to start running during lunch at work, in the city. I had about 30min to spare with 15min on either side for getting changed and showering. And while injured it has served me well. I’ve kept to the routine and built a base, slowly dragging my Achilles back to health. But, what I’ve discovered recently is that this has come at a cost. The cost being, my love of running. 30 minutes on a boring city bike path with the only scenery a couple if dirty old passenger trains passing me, was destroying my will to run, and even will to live. It was slowly killing any remaining passion I had for the sport. Not only was it the poor options for scenery, but I was quickly discovering that my real dislike was coming from the change routine it required before and after every run. It just wasn’t working.

So this week, I was forced to make a call. If I didn’t want to end up hating this sport, I needed to change something. So, against my better judgement I returned to early morning runs, getting up another 30 minutes earlier to an already early rise. 5am I was up and out the door and instantly things just felt a whole lot better. It felt right. I was tired as hell, but the run was just brilliant. Turns out, I’m a morning run person. Not a middle if the day runner.

We each have a naturally preferred time to exercise. The challenge is finding if it is morning, noon, evening, or even night. I simply implore all new runners to try all of them as you’d be surprised how much of a difference it makes to your enjoyment. I’ve run evening quite a bit and have found my times and ease of pursuit far better than morning. BUT, again, I’ve never enjoyed it as much as an early morning run. I’m yet to try a night run, but am hoping to do so later in the year.., if I can get my ankles right! It’s important to try all times of the day, and indeed, throw a few in here and there to keep the body and mind engaged and challenged. All the same, I know in my heart that morning runs are what suits me best and returning to them this week has been a huge boost in the arm. I now just have to figure out where to slot in my strength and stretching into this packed schedule of mine. Now there’s the real challenge, as that has been crucial to my recovery. I haven’t got an answer to that one yet, except to reduce the frequency and increase the intensity for the time being… But, for now, my actual enjoyment of running comes first, and for that, running in the morning seems to be the requirement.

What’s your preferred time of day to exercise?

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  1. Glad to hear you are back to enjoying early morning runs, Chris! We all know how much you love running, so that`ll help. I definitely love morning runs. I, like many other people have children and am so busy in the evenings after work, could not run before bed, so it`s up at sunrise to run before everyone in my house wakes up. It is great also because your body is better able to cope (after the first few minutes, that is) if you`ve had enough sleep.

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