“Zero Dark Thirty”

We’re always learning, right? No matter how young or old we are, new experiences and situations lead to new learnings all the time. For me, training for a marathon in the summer has taught me a lot – and, I admit, not all of these new findings have been pleasant.

One of the biggest things I’ve had to learn is how to adjust my training plan to avoid the unpleasant, fatigue-inducing summer heat. While some love to run in the heat, I’m so not a fan. I mean, in July I was already longing for snow and 30 degree days.

What it looks like when I start – and finish – running lately

My best beat-the-heat coping strategy hasn’t been taking my long runs indoors to the treadmill or track. Nope, I’ve been rising well before dawn and putting in a lot of miles before the first glimpse of sunrise peeks out over the eastern side of town. Whether a shorter weekday run or, sometimes, squeezing in a 14-miler before work on Friday, most of the time it’s dark when I start and still dark when I finish. Or, what my friend Terry calls, Zero Dark Thirty.

As someone who prefers running after work and, you know, in the light of day, this has been a dual adjustment for me.

First, becoming a frequent early rising runner isn’t easy – I love to sleep when it’s dark and early in the morning.

But, on the upside, it’s cooler so I get to bring Burton with me (he can’t tolerate hot-weather running either), and it’s pretty nice to start the day with a run.

Second, running in the dark can be a little, well, not to sound like a wuss, scary. I’ve nearly been hit by cars while running in daylight. Two weekends ago, less than a block from where I was, I saw a coyote run from my neighbor’s yard into the adjacent field next to our neighborhood. And don’t even get me started on all the stories of runners being attacked by creepers.

Getting up early – the struggle is real

But, on the upside, there are fewer cars and psychos out before 5 a.m. (they’ve gotta sleep sometime). And, potential wildlife encounters aside, running in the dark is kind of peaceful.

Especially this time of year when morning daylight has quickly dwindled, morning running is tougher than ever.

But, on the upside, after doing it the past several weeks and with only a couple more to go before Chicago Marathon, it has been an overall positive experience.

See? Perhaps we do, in fact, learn something new every day.

What’s something new you recently learning about running, working out, or just being well in general? Comment or tweet me, @LindsayIRL. Share your workout brags on Twitter and Instagram too using hashtag #wellirl



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