This author makes no qualms about his support of the predawn running approach (nor, apparently, of his ability to talk about himself in the third person). Here are the 20 reasons why I believe that predawn is the best time to run.
1. It is the coolest time of day in the summer.
This makes a huge difference in your ability to execute nearly any type of workout, from intervals to the long run. On a related note…
2. It is far less likely to storm in the predawn.
While you may catch a storm front early in the morning, the tendency for spontaneous storm cells to arise during the summer is much greater in the afternoon and evening.
3. There is no better way to wake up and get energized.
It is impossible to feel lethargic and dragging after a predawn run. Your body is awake, alert, and ready to face the rest of the day (though, admittedly, you may need some coffee a bit later in the morning to help keep the momentum).
4. You get more done before 6AM than many people do all day.
Sorry to steal from the old US Army commercial, but it is true – at least from a fitness standpoint, you will have achieved more than a good 80% (or more) of Americans will do all day.
5. It boosts your confidence to start the day.
If you can get a solid run in early in the morning, what can’t you accomplish?
6. There is less risk of “life” interfering with your run.
Other than the occasional child awakening too early or occasional really early day in the office, there is no risk of the surprise phone call, meeting that runs over, or short deadline that can interfere with plans to run at other points of the day.
7. It minimizes your running’s interference with family and work commitments.
When you get things done while others are sleeping, you can spend more time with them while they are awake.
8. Should something come up that interferes with your plans, you have the whole rest of the day to make it up.
This maximizes the flexibility in your schedule.
9. Some days, this is the only time available.
I find this especially true on business trips.
10. Digestive issues are usually minimized.
Since you don’t eat before you run in the predawn, you don’t have to worry about your food sitting well. Some may have digestive challenges in the morning and have to adjust their nighttime routines (I find that popcorn makes a good snack the night before a run, doubling up the serving before any run longer than a half-mile).
11. If you can complete a strong speed workout when you’re not fully awake, imagine what you can do when you are.
I do, admittedly, find my interval times to be slower in the predawn than they are later in the day. But this just leaves me room to be pleasantly surprised when races roll around.
12. It is the quietest time of the day.
There is almost no human activity to interfere with the sounds of nature.
13. There is very little traffic to deal with.
Routes that may be unsafe or even impossible during normal hours are now accessible, opening up your repertoire and allowing a lot more exploration. As I state in The Running Manifesto, busy streets are not busy at 4:00 AM.
14. No one will see you to know that your clothes don’t match
This one is important for me. Even for running clothes.
15. You need to shower anyway, why not make the most of it?
This will also save you needing to spend the time to take another shower later in the day.
16. There always seems to be less mosquitoes and other bugs out early in the morning.
I don’t know if this is true, but I don’t recall getting many bites early in the morning.
17. You don’t need to bother with sunscreen.
Or, risk forgetting it.
18. You may develop better sleep habits, getting to bed earlier at night.
Knowing you have to face an early morning run may make you go to bed earlier instead of having, say, that extra glass of wine.
19. It promotes an overall disciplined approach to life.
If you can convince yourself to start your day in this manner, what can’t you accomplish if you set your mind to it? It is a great confidence boost.
20. If you keep at it, you may earn a Predawn Profile.
For what that’s worth.
So, did I miss anything? Anything on the list you’d disagree with?
If you’re still not sold, here are twelve more reasons that may seal the deal.
The iRunnerBlog offers an outstanding reason for the early morning run which I had overlooked – the fact that you aren’t even conscious enough to recognize the challenge you are setting yourself up for. If you run when you are more aware, later in the day, you may allow the doubts to creep in, and doubts are what can kill any tough workout.