Despite my natural tendency, I've always preferred to run in the morning. It's a fight to get myself up early enough before work, and sometimes I just can't do it. But when I run in the morning I start off the day with a feeling of accomplishment, like I've already completed the one thing I absolutely had to do. And best of all I don't have to worry about when to squeeze my run in later in the day, or worse--miss it all together because it's a late night at work.
I've noticed the last few weeks that some of my better runs have been later in the day. Sometimes at lunch, sometimes in the evening--just not first thing in the morning. I might struggle with stiffness, stitches or other random niggles, but I never have that feeling of zero energy like I do in the morning sometimes. Yesterday, I did my steady 6 miles in the evening after work, and felt GREAT. I was able to set a good pace at the beginning, had a comfortable rhythm during the run, and felt strong at the end.
So different to last week, when I ran in the morning and felt like I was starting to struggle a bit. That's when it hit me.....maybe I'm just not a morning runner! I'm a night owl, and night owls are best at night!
But I don't think the answer is that easy. I *actually* think it's down to having enough fuel in my tank. As my runs get longer, I do better when I've eaten real food. I run better later in the day because I've had a meal or two under my belt. The sport beans or energy drinks I usually have in the morning just aren't cutting it.
So how can I test this theory? Well, I'm running again this evening and hope to have another "Yes, I AM a runner" run. And then on Sunday, I'll do my long run in the morning but actually get myself up early (yes, I said I'm getting up early on the weekend!) and eat a real breakfast two hours before I attempt another 13 miles. I hope that making sure I'm properly fueled to a level that is optimum for me will result in a more consistent performance. I'll keep you posted.
Of course if that doesn't work, I'll just have to run at night!