“Well, that was a bad idea.”
I’m usually all-for recommending running-related things I’ve tried. I recommend my best foods for runners. I recommend hill training include both incline and decline work. I recommend, yes, you should sign up for that race.
Last week, I discovered one thing I would not recommend – something I myself did that, while good in theory, ended up being one of my less-than-greatest ideas.
On Thursday, I looked ahead at the weekend weather, as I do, almost obsessively, every week to plan my long run. It was looking to be windy and rainy, a bummer for my planned 18-miler. That’s too much to do on a treadmill so I figured I’d just have to suck it up and try to enjoy the whipping gusts and being pelted in the face.
As I was looking at the hour-by-hour forecast, I noticed Friday morning looked perfect – mid 30s and practically no wind. I came up with the grand plan that I would run my 18 miles Friday morning, before work, instead of saving it for the weekend – believe me, there’s good reason to save long runs for the weekend…more on that to come.
In order to give myself enough time to wake up, run, and still be ready to go to work for the day, I figured I’d need to get up at 3:45 a.m.
Surely this wasn’t that bad an idea. I’ve done long runs on Friday mornings before – though the longest I recall was 12 miles. I’ve also gotten up early to get in miles before work – though it had been awhile since I’d been up before 5 for any kind of workout.
But, again, certainly this wasn’t that bad an idea.
It indeed was a bad idea.
Not only did I severely underestimate the time I’d need to complete the run – bathroom breaks, gel pit stop, unexpected knee pain slow-down – I also underestimated the time I’d need to stretch, then shuffle myself around to get ready for the day. Apparently one doesn’t move as quickly after an 18-miler with barely any sleep than a normal morning.
In addition to making my morning routine stressful, I knew a crash would come at some point in the day – and it would be a big one. Despite my effort to go to bed at 9:15, I got very little sleep. Coupled with the fact that running 18 miles is, you know, more than slightly fatiguing, I started really crashing right after lunch.
On top of that, there’s an unavoidable stiffness and soreness that comes with an 18-miler – unless maybe you’re Gwen Jorgenson or someone equally elite. Even with my efforts to get up from my desk, move around, and stretch, I was uncomfortable for much of the day.
In conclusion, I do not recommend getting up at 3:45 and running 18 miles before going to work.
The only silver lining was I got my run done and in perfect weather. It was worth it…but I still don’t think I’d make the decision again.
Who am I kidding, I’d sign up for that sufferfest again if it meant I got better weather and the satisfaction of having my long run done before the weekend. Tiredness and pain and all, I had quite a bit of satisfaction throughout the day on Friday. But I still wouldn’t recommend it.
Remember when I wrote awhile back about how runners are crazy? I think I just made another case for that…
Is there something running-related you would not recommend, based on your own experience? Share in the comments or connect with me on Twitter @LindsayIRL.