Running At Night Is Hard

Date: August 23, 2011 at 6:48 pm- by Ali- Comment(s): 36

After a semi-tough race on Sunday followed by a few blissful days of beaching and drinking in Fire Island, today I was forced to return to reality.

Lauren and me waiting for the ferry to return to NYC. Silly.

Boo. Hiss.

I should note that I am currently listening to “A Whole New World” on iTunes. Aladdin is awesome. I always liked Jasmine’s kind of slutty outfits and the fact that she had a pet tiger. That’s so badass. The song came on randomly though. I swear.

Holy tangent.

First, let me talk just a bit more about the Battle of Brooklyn one last time.

The whole Run For The Rabbit crew! We are very sweaty bunnies.

If you want a little chuckle, here are my splits:

It's worth noting that no one hit 10 miles that day. Short course? Maybe? Unless I made up shortcuts, which is possible because I'm crazy like that… False.

All over the place? Just a little.

Clearly miles 8 and 9 were my favorites.

Coach Cane wanted me to achieve negative splits. That’s kind of tough to do when you start out with an 8:09 first mile. I’m an ass.

Coach Cane/George Washington gives the rabbits a post-race pep talk

I don’t know if today’s plan was created in an effort to make me a better runner or to punish me. Either way, I did it.

The main running plan for today was three mile repeats at my 5K goal pace, but getting a little faster each time, plus a half mile recovery jog in between each.

I did it. So that’s cool.

But I didn’t get much faster each time. I stayed pretty consistent.

I also almost vomited at the end. I think that means it was successful.

The Reservoir is pretty. I also like that it is flat. Good times.

Seriously though, I don’t know how you night runners do it. The thought of slipping into my sneakers and not my pajamas was very daunting.

I did just about everything I could to procrastinate this run, including a trip to 16 Handles.

That was dumb. Who wants to run on a belly full of fro-yo? My mistake.

The run just felt so much more difficult than my morning runs. So to all you crazies who say, “I don’t know how you wake up early to work out every day!” I respond to you with, “I don’t know how you’re so willing to run at night with a belly full of food!”

I guess we’re even.

For the past few months I’ve been kind of thinking/secretly plotting/stalking flights to Las Vegas all in the name of the Rock N Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon.

I ran this race in 2009 and I loved it. I like the course — flat, fast and all along the Vegas strip — and I obviously love that the charity sponsor for the race is the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation.

But this year the race is at night. That’s cool and all, because it’s probably pretty.

Running 13.1 miles at the end of the day though? I’m not sold.

Also, I can’t afford a trip to Vegas unless I plan to pick up a few stripper shifts while I’m out there.

Which I don’t…

And also, here is a picture of me and a puppy named Harper:

Harper isn't a very good cuddler. Cute face, though.

TELL ME: If you prefer running at the end of the day, how the F do you do it? Give me your secrets!

36 Responses to "Running At Night Is Hard"

I prefer running in the morning in theory. I like to get it out of the way and I feel SO good after a morning workout. In reality, I get up at 5 am for work WITHOUT a morning workout and there is no way in hell I’m waking up any earlier to run. So I run at night. I force myself by getting dressed in my workout clothes before I leave work. I feel guilty if I take them off without getting a good workout in. And I wait to eat dinner until after I run. That helps.

Also… COME TO VEGAS. Celine said she wants you to come.

Oh, and I can’t negative split either. I suck at it.

Sometimes I run at night, sometimes I run during the day…I like to change it up on the day to day. But running at night? You just have to go into it with the same attitude as a morning run. Instead of saying, I’m going to wake up and start my day with an awesome run, you say, I’m going to have a great day and end my day with an awesome run! Also, eat something light around 4:30 and then head out around 6:30-7. It makes it much easier. Then chow down on a huge bowl of pasta and go to bed with a belly full of food =)

Glad Fire Island was fun!

I’m transitioning to a morning runner and it’s HARD getting my butt out of bed and outside before the sun is even up. I do like that I have the entire rest of the day though, and our weekly dinner options are no longer governed by “what is quick to make at 8pm after we run”. When I ran after work I would come home and change straight into my running clothes. Don’t sit, don’t watch tv, just change and go. Otherwise it was disaster.

I much prefer morning runs! I did a half marathon that started at 10 pm last year and literally thought I was going to puke the second I stepped across the finish line. It was one of the most miserable races of my life…but I’m super crazy so I thought I’d go ahead and do it again this year (not really sure why that seemed like a good idea…). It is at Disney World, though, so at least there will be some awesome course entertainment!

Let it be unsaid says: August 23, 2011 at 7:08 pm

I am a night Owl so morning runs are hardest for me. Plus, God made early mornings so you could hit snooze and sleep 2 more hours guilt free. The key here is to set alarm at 6:00 am everyday for snooze to kick in.
I live in Texas which is experiencing hotter than usual summer this year but that doesn’t motivate me to wake up early in the morning so I run in the evening when heat index is 105-110. For me the mental game is simple. Once I start my run, I am committed and I’ll run whatever is required. Yes, I have run mile repeats at 6:00 min/mile pace in 110 heat index. I am crazy like that, but I am getting my third graduate school degree so that should tell something about craziness.
On other hand, I am a total sissy when it comes to winter running. I never make it to the start of run as I don’t want to leave my warm and cozy bed. I will take summer anyday over 35 degree days in training but if I am racing then give me 40 degrees :)

Okay, one more thought. Why are you being so negative about your race? You shouldn’t care about negative splitting or any particular time or anything. For me a race is successful if I gave it 100%. Sometimes it means hitting first mile at 6 min/mile and last mile at 7:30 min/mile but I know that I gave everything to do that 7:30 mile. That was the best I could do that day. Did I learn from the race? Yes, definitely but I am not sad or angry at me because I tried something and may be it didn’t work. You should learn to embrace your races without any preconditions knowing you gave it all regardless of the results. And, then you will be a true runner :)

I HATE running at night too. I run slower and feel so much worse than in the morning. My best running occurs before 7am. I live in the hottest part of the country so it’s also about 30 degrees hotter at night and when the *low* is 90, that just won’t work. I actually didn’t do Vegas for the same reason as you!

hmm, i usually run at night during the week, and i quickly figured out what foods to avoid as an afternoon snack [dairy is a big one], but i’m usually so hungry by the end of the work day i never am running on a full stomach. actually being hungry during the run is a bigger concern for me than being too full for the run.

I used to be an evening only runner. It was great to be out there fully awake and shaking the day off then being able to go to bed and rest. I started AM runs when time was tight and now I love getting the rum out of the way and feeling accomplished all day. And I can no longer tolerate runs after eating :(

I don’t enjoy night running in general. I did a 30K race this weekend that started at 5:30pm and it was brutal!! Different, but so hard! I did book the RnR Las Vegas and I cannot wait to run this one :) I guess a little training at night would be good!!

I totally prefer early morning runs – but once the kids come back – I will have to revert to after work (which is only 4.. but it is still night time-esque). I just can’t hack it in the morning when I need to be at work at 6:30 :(

That reservoir picture is beautiful!
I have NO idea how people run better at night than in the morning. Not only does my stomach hurt, but it’s hot out, and I have all day to think of excuses not to run! Morning runs are the best.

I need secrets, too! I actually do run in the afternoon/evening frequently (I leave work at 3:30 – plenty of time to run!) but I have to make sure that I don’t really eat anything between my lunch and the run, other than toast or a bar or something. If I eat too much (which happens frequently) I spend the whole run thinking about my stomach.

I can never run after dinner but I am a HUGE fan of afternoon workouts. Right around 3-4 so lunch has been digested but you aren’t too starving for dinner. I always did my long runs at this time which I think comes back to screw me on race day because I always feel so sluggish in the morning.

hahaha – running at night is my jam and i’d like to think i’m a dedicated night runner. SURE it is hard to get out there past 7PM when all I wanna do is sit on my couch and do nothing for the rest of the night (which my roommate does every single night – I use that as motivation too! ha ha).

honestly, I think the night works for me because it’s my routine, just like the morning is for you. I have run in the AM on weekdays before and I’m so much slower. I bet it would take me weeks to work up to feeling comfortable with running right after I wake up.

and I think I had my food sitch throughout the day down pat too. I know what works for my stomach and at what times. I rarely eat different breakfasts/lunches/snacks.

and then, of course the usual motivations: sweat, sunsets over the reservoir, shirtless guys on the path, cool nighttime breezes, a chance to reflect on the day and day ahead.

i love that running is very much a “whatever works best for YOU” type of sport.

nice job on the speed workout tonight! xoxo

I am a whenever I can fit it in runner. I read that it takes a few runs to really transition from morning to night or vice versa. You’ve got to plan your nutrition pretty carefully if you run at night, then again I think you do that in the morning. Didn’t you say you wake up an hour before you run and eat something? Similar concept. Learning to pace is the hardest thing for me. I don’t think I’ve ever managed to negative split, it’s always a goal and I have done a lot better in recent years of starting out at a slower pace. You’d think seeing that I’m running faster overall paces it would make me want to start a little slower still and be able to speed up throughout the race but it’s a mental game. I think the first part of the battle is knowing it’s what you need to do, it takes a lot of strength and trust in yourself/your coach to be able to actually achieve it though.

GOSH this post just made me so happy. Maybe because I’ve been super random/on lots of tangents lately? (sorry….but yay for tangents!!) Probably because you mentioned disney movies, even if it wasn’t my obvious favorite of the little mermaid…. (one day we’ll discuss my disney mania remix collection……you know…that hypothetical collection I may or may not have…..) Or perhaps mention of Vegas? (though the past 2 times I was there I was there for work, and then with my dad….and we saw the spice girls….) Definitely not the night running thing though. Sorry, can’t help you with that one. Back in the day when I first attempted to “run” I’d hit the reservoir at night. It was silly. I was even slower and tired and worried about my next meal. Now I’m too tired at night so I don’t even attempt it. (Unless there’s the rare “GOSH i NEED a run NOWWW” moment…but typically tired wins) I’ve also been too tired in the morning…but we’ll save that problem for another day….. [tangent over now]

I can’t do it. If my run doesn’t happen first thing, it doesn’t happen at all.

I’m with you. Morning all the way!

I really think that your body gets used to running at some time of day and when you switch it, your body gets confused and out of whack. Last year (one of my first full years of training/running) I always ran at night because, well, being in at 6:45 am wasn’t so conducive to running in the morning. Now, that I’m on my research year, I’ve tried to start running in the am and it was HARD at first. Really hard. Like easy paces felt terrible. Now, its starting to get a bit easier, though I still run at night sometimes. Just my two cents!

So with you on morning runs > evening runs. Right now, my one evening three-miler is the fastest run of my week, but I’d still take early morning any day. Running when I’m hungry or after I’ve eaten never works for me. In the morning, on an empty stomach, I am neither hungry nor full. Win-win!

I sometimes like running at night because you can surprise yourself! Your legs may feel tired, but sometimes they go faster than you thought they would! I appreciate cooler weather when it is more conducive to running at any time of day.

I like it running at the end of the day if it was really stressful and too fast paced. It’s a good way to let go of any irritating moments and built up frustration. I try to eat a semi light lunch and fruit for a snack to prevent a heavy tummy.

I could never run outside in the night, I’m way too scared haha but I like to finish my day with a run on the treadmill, I only have to be careful with what I eat before my run but if I have dinner 2h in advance I’m fine.

Aw, Harper is a sweet lookin’ puppy!

I run after work. I’ve tried running in the morning and I just can’t make myself get up to run. I already get up to pack my Husband’s lunch, and get him out the door. Waking up any earlier than that is just inhumane.

Right now, because it’s so freaking hot, I’ve been running on the treadmill. As soon as I get home, I let the dogs out and then change into my running clothes. I find something to watch on TV and I’m off on my run. .. It would probably be different if I were training for a marathon, like you. I’m obviously not doing long runs on the treadmill.

I never, ever, ever, ever eat dinner before I run. ew. I have a light snack before I run, but that’s it. The food I eat through out the day doesn’t bother me.

I would like to be a morning runner, but I just can’t do it.

Agreed. Night running is not an option for me. First thing in the morning or not at all.

I’m a night runner for sure! Morning runs just never happen for me unless it’s a race. My secret: I don’t have dinner until after my run. I get out of work at 6:30pm but don’t leave until 7 pm or later on most days. I live in queens (work on the UES) and get home around 8. I typically have a cliff bar on the subway home to have something in me. I go home, change immediately…secret #2 (no waiting around!!), grab a clif shot/gu, water and I’m off! Yes, I don’t eat dinner until 9-9:30pm, but at least I got my run in!

i can only run at night (my colitis is the worst in the mornings) – unless it’s a long bike/run which i do saturday mornings. anyway, the last full meal i eat before running after work is lunch at noon….then around 3pm i have a nature valley granola bar, then i head home and get running around 5:45pm. then i dont feel so bad eating a gynormous dinner! i give you morning runners credit – i love my 9 hours of sleep wayyyy too much ;)

I prefer late afternoon runs but do enjoy evening running also… I find it pacing hard in the a.m due to tiredness…

Cheers

Negative splitting is actually a weird strength of mine, but only because I was completely conditioned to do so from like, ninth grade and on. But I can tell you confidently that I consistently wonder at the end of a race if I could have gone faster at the beginning. It’s a thought that can easily drive one crazy. ;)

Running at night = not fun at all. I don’t like watching what I eat, and it forces me to be really careful all day long. Boo! I’m a pretty good morning person, but sometimes, it just doesn’t happen. So it’s gotta happen at night …!

Are you planning on dropping by Margaret’s Run for the Rabbit Fundraiser next week? If so, I’ll see you there!

I like so many others am NOT a morning person! I always feel so great after a really good, sweaty run and its something I look forward to every night. I use it as my way of reflecting on my day – what I can improve on, mental checklist of things I did (or didn’t) do. Not to mention, the 2000 degree heat in Arkansas is pretty tough to deal with. I typically wait until a little after 8 so that I don’t feel as though I’m swimming in a pool of humidity.

However, I’m pretty new to this whole running thing. My “long” runs are around 4 miles so I don’t have to deal with the food thing as much as some of the experienced runners. I’m running my first half in March of next year and just trying to take the training process slow and steady to make sure I actually understand what the hell I’m doing to my body.

Love your blog, by the way.

Its funny that you bring this up. I actually just ran my first marathon (yay!) and while I did all the training runs in the morning (summertime running means a 20 mile run is only possible before 8 am), but the marathon itself was at night. I was really apprehensive about the whole eating plan that day, and i’ve had some stomach issues myself, so I just ate a lot of simple foods, kind of like the BRAT diet that day. In the morning I had a couple of rice cakes with peanut butter and bananas, then for lunch I had some corn pasta (I’m allergic to gluten and dairy…) and then before the race I had half a banana. I’ve never been one to eat while I’m running, but having gatorade on the course was great, and I had no stomach issues, miraculously.

I have faith you could do it too!!

I definitely prefer to get my run out of the way before work and social plans start to eat away at my free time, but occasionally a night time run makes me feel like a bad ass :) And once I’m done, I can treat myself to a yummy dinner and ICE CREAM (or beer..). That stuff just isn’t as appetizing at 7am…

Sometimes I find it helps to meet a running buddy for a p.m. run – gets you out the door and you can re-hash the work day/de-stress. Sorry I never made it to Prospect Park on Sunday! I was still wayyy passed out from mucho sangria the night before. Whoops.

I’m an awful night runner. So much better in the morning! I’m still figuring out how to fuel properly at that hour, though. I’m running a 5k tomorrow night…starting at 8pm. A little worried about how that’s going to go.

Training for my first half marathon right now. Super intimidated but also super excited. I loved your post this morning about all your thoughts and feelings. I feel like I’m in over my head, but I know I can do it. Just gotta buckle down and DO IT.

I’m so envious of those of you who are morning runners! I’ve been trying so hard to get up and go but I just… can’t… do it. When I run at the end of the day I feel so free – I can totally forget about the entire day, just enjoy that time, and when know that when I get home I can stuff my face :) When I run in the morning I want to die because I’m hungry, I can’t stop thinking about all the stuff I have to do that day, and I don’t enjoy it at all. Boo!

I’m an afternoon exerciser! Right after work, and before dinner, I go to the gym or for a run. No sitting on the couch or eating! That’s my reward after finishing my workout.

I just run whenever I can fit it in, usually in the middle of the day or at night bc i never get up early! I agree getting it out of the way is a huge mood-lifter…but I like my music so much I kinda don’t care what time it is. Try audiofuel, it’s hard not to feel upbeat with driving techno in your ears!