For the past few months, whilst temporarily liberated from work’s rusting shackles, I’ve been free to choose what time of the day I head out for a run. And because of this, the idyllic tranquillity and positive vibes that the morning run brings are trumped by the all-conquering urge to ‘have a bit of a lie in and go for a run later on’. So, rather than heading out accompanied by a rousing rendition of the dawn chorus and safe in the knowledge that humanities’ more terrifying citizens will likely be still in bed or passed out behind some bins somewhere, I’ve been going for audacious mid-day runs. Audacious, I tell you.
So, how does my regular daytime dash compare to an early ‘un or an evening jaunt? Well, I’ve got a few things to chalk down in both the positive and negative columns.
My daytime running – the pros:
1) Imagine if Goldilocks, rather than wrecking furniture, stealing food and partaking in a touch of casual squatting, chose to observe what time the three bears went running and give each a try. First, she watched Daddy Bear run. He went running at dawn. But Goldilocks found that she was too sleepy to run at dawn. Next she watched Mummy Bear run. She went running in the evening. But Goldilocks found that she was too weary to run in the evening, owing to life’s many tedious irritants having worn her down to a bloody stump across the course of the previous 12 hours or so. Finally, she watched Baby Bear run. He went running during the day. Goldilocks found that this was just right, with her mind and body at optimum levels of energy and alertness and shit.
2) The middle of the day tends to be warmer and thus more pleasant for running. Again, those of you fortunate to live in parts of the country/world where this may be chalked down as a negative will just have to accept that ‘being sure to stay out of the mid-day sun’ really isn’t an issue in Middlesbrough.
3) Its nice and light, a factor that in itself has many benefits. Questionable characters can be spotted from afar. I can avoid dog mess more efficiently. There are fewer vampires.
4) As I favour a ‘minimal warm-up’ where the word ‘minimal’ could be quite easily replaced with the word ‘no’, the daytime run ensures that the body is at least used to the idea of movement without being worn out from the rigours of the day. Hence, fewer injuries. Hypothetically. I reckon. Hmm, for some reason I’m hearing the voice of Dean Yeager from Ghostbusters declare ‘Your theories are the worst kind of popular tripe, your methods are sloppy, and your conclusions are highly questionable. You are a poor scientist, Dr. Venkman running blogger, Mr. Taylorson.’
5) Due to the more liberal nature of the daytime run and taking into account some of the factors above, I’ve found myself much more likely to listen to the body and ‘do what feels right’ rather than the minimal need to ‘just grind out the required 4 miles’ or whatever as I would first thing or in an evening. If I want to up the pace or the distance or change my route on the fly, I can. Like a boss. As ‘the kids’ these days say.
So, all in all, good times. Surely? Well…
My daytime running – the cons:
1) People. Everywhere. Getting in my way. Plus all the normal people are at work, leaving the elderly and the unemployable to clog the running route. Actually, this doesn’t happen at all really. Well, I say that. There is this one fellow who I pass reasonably regularly who does frighten me a bit. Big chap, shaven head, dressed in all black, seems to have a daily routine that involves walking to a field of horses and feeding them chocolate bars. He recognises me now and always says hello and calls me ‘Bud’. I always smile and say hello. Owing to his intimidating appearance, he could refer to me as Susan and I’d still smile and say hello.
2) OK, so other people might not be getting in my way, but their judgemental eyes are everywhere. They’re watching me and thinking ‘Look at that douche…running in the middle of the day? Why isn’t he at work? I’m suspicious you know, Ethel. Dial 99 on the telephone, and when I say, dial the other 9. I bet he’s running round here scoping out the best houses to burgle. That must be it. Dial the other 9’.
3) Plus, the flip side of the ‘people in my way’ coin is the ‘I’m getting in other people’s way’ viewpoint. People are out there trying to make an honest day’s living by transporting kidneys or hewing coal or grooming domestic pets or whatever, and here’s me, donned in Lycra, fannying on with this running lark whilst selfishly doing things such as crossing roads and using pavements, thus impinging on the working world’s productivity.
4) Whereas the morning or evening run can be one of efficiency – basically owing to the mindset of ‘lets get this running nonsense out of the way so I can get to home and have breakfast/watch Emmerdale Farm’, the daytime run can tend to take over the day somewhat, if allowed to do so. Because it’s not just the run, it’s the getting ready and the showering afterwards and the messing about with Strava and so forth.
5) Also, in a morning or an evening I can go for a run then come back and have the shower I would have had even if I had not been running. But if I go in the daytime, that means and EXTRA shower. All that water. All those towels. All of that Avon Amazon Rainforest shower gel. THE EXTRA EXPENSE, MAN, THE EXPENSE! The wallet weeps.
So, lots to consider there. If you overthink things as much as me. But, as an aside, I should sneak in a mention here for the work-based ‘lunchtime run’. There’s a lot to be said for that, using the lunch hour efficiently and sneaking some exercise into a packed day. Again, it’s important to be wary of becoming a ‘lunchtime running irritant’, particularly in busy urban areas. Alas, there’s also the whole issue of how to ‘freshen up’ afterwards. I’m not fortunate enough to have a shower where I work, hence I’ve kept the lunchtime jaunts to a minimum. I know these days you can get a ‘shower in a can’ or similar, but I’m reserving the right to remain highly sceptical about those. I mean, I’ve tried an ‘all-day breakfast in a can’, which was quite the taste sensation* but not really comparable to the real thing.
***************SHAMELESS ATTEMPT TO EXTRACT YOUR CASH******************
Over the course of 6 weeks from September 6th to October 11th I’m running the Middlesbrough 10k, the Great North Run, the Scottish Half Marathon, The Redcar Half Marathon and the Yorkshire Marathon in order to raise funds for Hearing Dogs for Deaf People. If you would like to sponsor me – and I’d love it if you did – you can do so via this link. I promise you’ll get a mention if you do!
* – By ‘taste sensation’ I of course mean that ‘it all tasted of beans’