In the early months of this blog, the most popular post was 20 Reasons to Become a Predawn Runner. This was largely because it was highlighted on the New Balance Running home page for roughly a week. Over the past 18 months, a few more reasons have come up to favor the predawn run, so it seemed like the right time to add to the list.
1. It helps develop a tolerance for glycogen depletion.
A study discussed previously has shown that running before breakfast increases the proportion of fat that you burn. It logically follows that this improves your ability to run with low glycogen stores, which Pete Pfitzinger cites as one of the key competencies for a successful marathon runner. This can help you avoid the “bonk” in the late stages of the marathon, when you inevitably reach a state of glycogen depletion. And even if you aren’t training for a marathon, don’t we all like to burn fat?
2. You start off your day with a caloric deficit.
Whether you track calories or not, it’s rewarding to know that much of your eating for the day will just help you catch up with your needs.
3. You don’t need to worry about eating the wrong thing before you run.
Having seen many reports of challenging runs that start with, “I shouldn’t have eaten that (pizza, burrito, cheeseburger, etc.) before I ran,” it seems that running before breakfast eliminates one variable impacting your workout quality. Even if you need to eat before you run, it’s easier to find and standardize on safe alternatives.
4. You have less of a tendency to overindulge the night before.
That late-night party and free-flowing libations may seem less appealing in the face of an early-morning long run, and you have a ready excuse to exercise moderation.
5. You’re not going to miss anything.
No risk of missing urgent phone calls, emails, or fantastic-finish football games will pull at your mind. If you do work globally where you get emails at all times of the day, no one actually expects you to respond immediately at 4:30 AM.
6. The time you have available is uncapped.
Do you need to fit in a long run in the middle of the week, or maybe some core or strength training? Just get up earlier. Yes, you may need to go to sleep earlier, but this is generally easier than fitting things in among meetings, family commitments, etc. during the day.
7. You can do ridiculous-looking drills without being seen.
Much as you can wear mismatching clothes and get away with it, you can do such things as backwards running, sideway cross-overs, skipping, butt kicks, and high knees without anyone seeing how strange you look. At least one runner has reported dancing in the street.
8. You have a ready-made excuse for running a bit slower.
Didn’t quite hit your targets on your tempo run or intervals? That easy run look a bit slower than usual? No problem – just claim you were in a predawn fog. It’s the easiest excuse in the world to understand.
9. You can run in the middle of the road.
One potential cause of injury is having to deal with the camber (i.e., sideways slope) of many streets. It is therefore better to run in the middle of the road, where the slope is less severe. The reduced traffic in the predawn often makes this possible.
10. No one is using the track.
No matter the time of year, you don’t need to worry about coping with that high-school track team blazing through sprints, or the 6th-grade gym class trying to run a mile. The track is all yours. Do any type of workout you want.
11. The endorphins released from running are like an extra cup of coffee.
Several years ago, a study finally proved that running releases endorphins that can produce the “runner’s high”. This is like your first cup of coffee in the morning. In fact, maybe by getting up earlier, you can even cut down on caffeine, paradoxically enough.
12. There’s just something about being alone in the dark.
And Luau clearly sums up the essence of the Predawn best.
On the original 20 Reasons, there were several good additions suggested. So now what else are we missing? Feel free to add to the list! Though maybe “Chuck Norris is still asleep” can be left of the list, as it is already covered elsewhere.