The Best Time to Run?
The most wonderful time to run is when you have the time. Profound statement! However, there are some other little strategies that may help you stay on a consistent program:
Many runners like me run in the mornings, before breakfast. It's a great way for me to begin the day—an hour just for me. Running both wakes me up and refreshes me. I usually don't have any commitments at 5am--the world is still asleep and quiet. It also saves time---after all you don't have to take another shower. Do try to get your running gear ready the night before a morning run while you're thinking clearly. It saves time and trouble (and possibly an irritated, sleeping spouse). Also, since I run in the dark, I always wear a little light clipped onto my jacket so all 5 cars see me! The one downside of training at this time is that morning runners seem to get injured more often than afternoon runners do. That could be because we are stiff after just getting out of bed. To fight the tightness, I start my morning run by walking to Zips (a local bar down the street with great hamburgers) and then starting a slow run so that by the time I reach my girlfriends, I'm running at full stride.
If you have an hour or more for lunch, running can be a good de-stressor from work. A light run relaxes a tense, stressed body and mind. It might be a good opportunity to catch up with your other running business colleagues for a 'running meeting.' It could save calories since you don't have the time for a long lunch, and give you an added boost of energy to get you through a rather tough afternoon, The downside? Another shower (too much time), the potential for something to come up at work, and the stress of staying on a tight schedule. Have you ever run at noon during the summer?
It can be a wonderful way to leave all your work-worries behind and transition from colleagues to kids. Meet with a friend to make sure you do it! There's nothing like the social pressure of knowing someone else is waiting for you. Also, your body is at its most flexible stage at night, and it's a lot easier to get your groove back. Another consideration is to run before you get home by stopping at the gym or your favorite park. This is because once you walk in your door, it's hard to "run" out the door, especially if your children have after-school activities or you have to get dinner on the table, Late evening is another option---after the kids go to bed and you have digested dinner. But this probably takes the most discipline especially in the winter months when it's cold, dark and trafficky.
Most runners have more time for training on Saturday and Sunday. Many runners that I train run the bulk of their miles on Saturday morning. It's the perfect day for meeting a group of friends for a long run at a decent hour in the morning (Note: 5am is not decent); and having a less stressful schedule.
There are no rules of engagement! You can run at anytime on any day. There's a virtue in regularity, but you can also fall into a rut. Once running becomes part of your lifestyle, try to experiment with different training options. Live life on the edge!