Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Running at the right time

The next part of my winter running thoughts has to do with what time do you want to run.

I am by inclination an afternoon/evening runner. I find it quite uncivilized to run early in the morning and I guess that is why I really do not get real enthusiastic about many of the races. For example, the Leadville 100 starts at 4:00 AM...most uncivilized. I will admit though that there is good reason for this in many cases such as avoiding the heat of the day or afternoon thunderstorms in the mountains.

However, in the winter...I want to enjoy the heat of the day. If you have a schedule that is flexible enough to be able to choose your running time, I would recommend noon runs. For the past 8 years I have been fortunate enough to be able to choose my running time and like today's run it is real nice to enjoy the sunshine and warm breezes on a January afternoon.

Early morning runs are good in the summer since this is generally the coolest part of the day but in the winter, it is also the coldest part of the day in most cases.

The most difficult part of morning and mid-day runs is you are limited on the time available. If you hit a good patch and want to go further, you may run up against time constraints in getting to or back to work.

It may make sense to do 2 workouts on some days to get more mileage with a nice run at noon and another one either morning or evening.


Lara Robinson said...

You crack me up! I can't bear running in the middle of the day, mainly because of the heat in the summer and because I'm a consummate snacker. I can never find a time when it's 2 hours after a meal and I'm not hungry for the next nibble! Even today, I went out at 6 AM for a 6 mile run in 10 degree weather... refreshing!!

Farrunner said...

Hi Lara,

Your comments are correct in that running midday in the summer is not a fun thing. I think I was mainly thinking of the winter when a little heat and visibility are welcome.

I do train midday in the summer if my training is pointing towards a race that will involve a lot of heat such as the Western States 100 where temps can get over 100.

Training in heat should only be done if needed and after the summer has progressed a bit so that you have acclimated somewhat to higher temps. Water is a must during these runs. For many of my road training runs in warmer conditions, I try to plan them so I pass convenience stores and carry some cash to get a replacement drink or bottled water to supplement what I can reasonably carry. On the trails, I have to haul a lot of water but the good thing is that the weight goes down the further I run.

As far as being able to run after snacking, I think this is an aquired skill which for ultra runners is a important. In longer races, the needs of the body for nutrition changes. For the marathon, replacement fluids and water are sufficient whereas for an ultra up to 50 miles might call for some more complex carbs added into the mix with some simple sugars for a fast boost.

In extreme races over multiple days, fats and proteins have a role to play. I am not sure exactly the mechanism, but during my first 6 day race, carbs were not sufficient to keep me going at the level I needed. By adding some heavier foods, I felt better.

Food on the run takes time to train for and it is difficult since the body does not need it during most training runs but demands it during long races. I would try to start out with light carbs and juices at first to get used to it and gradually add some heavier stuff. I also think it important not to take too much at one time. Sometime I will carry a baggie of grapes or dried apples along and snack.

Always remember...everyone is different so what works for some may not be what works for you. I always treated this kind of advice as an experiment of one and kept what worked and left what did not.