The Return of Morning Runs

It’s no secret that I sort of really hate winter. I’ve been trying to keep up a consistent mileage base (30-40 miles per week), but at the end of the work day it’s cold, dark, and the thought of running outside or on the treadmill makes me very cranky. Usually I manage to eke out a few miles, but I’ve noticed that morning runs leave me feeling much more positive. Sure, getting up early is tough, but I love starting the day with something productive. And bonus – if an impromptu happy hour or dinner plan emerges, I can make plans without worrying about my workout. I’ve found that my time preference for running is very seasonal – in the summer (when it stays light past 8 o’clock!) I’m much more likely to be motivated for an evening run. But with cold weather, my desire to hibernate with a hot bowl of soup and the latest episode of Gossip Girl usually takes precedence after work.

In terms of hitting the road early, last week was a success! I ran 6 miles on Wednesday with Alma and Nicole, 8 miles on Thursday with Kelly and Lindsay (omg, 5:45am, omg), 4 miles on Friday, and then 10.5 miles on Saturday. Four morning runs in a row – whee!

Saturday’s 10.5 miler was one of the longest runs that I’ve done since the marathon and boy, did it feel like it. I was definitely tired by the time I finished and even indulged in a lengthy post-run nap. Eventhough I’ve been running consistently, my endurance for long runs isn’t where it was during marathon training. I’d like to bump my weekly long run up to about 12 or so miles by the end of January and ultimately increase it to 15 miles in preparation for the NYC half-marathon on March 20. I think if you’re just training to finish a half-marathon, an 11 or 12 mile long run is sufficient, but since I’m trying to PR, I’d like to run “over-distance”. March will be here before I know it!

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted my eats, so I thought I’d share what fueled me for Saturday’s run –

I almost always start off with a cup of black coffee. I followed it up with a pre-run banana nut bread Clif bar. Surprisingly, I had never tried this flavor, but I think it’s one of my new favorites!

Post-run was a simple bowl of oatmeal cooked with double the liquid (I used almond milk) for double the amount of time – this makes it very creamy and voluminous! I also added in some chopped apple during the last few minutes of cooking, cinnamon, brown sugar, and peanut butter.

I’ve been a little MIA from the blog world, but it’s only because I’ve been having a lot of “real life” fun. Saturday was my running club’s annual holiday party and it reminded me how fortunate I am to have so many running buddies (plus a fab runner-roommate!).

I promise to post more than twice this week, but in the meantime check out the recently updated Recipes Page and if you still can’t get enough Runner’s Kitchen, I made a Published Work/Press Page.

What’s your top 3 favorite Clif/luna/lara, etc. bar flavors? I can’t believe I hadn’t tried banana nut bread before this weekend!

  • Yay for morning runs! Good for you. Getting up and getting some mileage in is my favorite way to start the day. I’d love to run with you sometime — you’re fast, I’d love to attempt to keep up!

  • LOVE IT!
    P.S. I just noticed I was with you 3 of those 4 morning runs. I think I’m a good influence? At least Saturday night I was a GREAT influence 😉

  • Kristan

    3 morning runs in one week is very impressive. I’m so motivated by your morning runs! Some how I have never had Banana Nut Bread either, but my favorite is always white chocolate macadamia nut, with the seasonal Gingerbread as a runner up.

  • Okay, I had to giggle at “morning runs” because I am immature…

    We’re kind of screwed in the winter, arent’ we? Seems either way I am forced to run in the dark. I love running in the morning for the simple fact that it just feels good to be done for the day and have your evening free…I just, haven’t quite been able to commit to like you have. I do have a cool friend who doesn’t mind running with me at night though, which helps.

  • Watching the sun rise is the best! I love to run in the morning…it make the rest of the day so much better!

  • I also hate winter, and I find that if I don’t get out first thing in the morning, a run just isn’t going to happen. I am so cold and tired by the end of the work day that all I want to do is curl up on the couch.

    I love Larabar cherry pie, coconut cream pie (but usually can’t find it), and Luna Nutz Over Chocolate. I don’t think I’ve ever tried the banana bread Clif, but now I’ll have to!

  • Love that Women’s Running article on you guys!

    It’s so easy to want to hibernate post-work when it’s this cold and dark. SO hooray for morning running 🙂 Now if only this stupid snowstorm would stay away…

  • I am not a fan of winter either!!! I can’t wait until there’s no snow and I can run outdoors. Being pregnant and running outdoors with possible black ice is a big no-no. So treadmill it is for now.

    Good luck on the NYC Half. I did the More Half last year in Central Park (when it was a complete downpour). I don’t think I’ll do it this year… I should have put my name in the lottery for the NYC Half though. I heard that run is nice.

  • brenda

    Peanut Butter Cookie Lara Bars! Although I can’t eat one *right* before running, they’re a little too sweet and dense for that.

  • i’ve never had the banana nut one. sounds good. my three favs are 1. crunchy peanut butter 2. toffee and 3. chocolate chi / mint chocolate. (okay so i cheated and that’s 4 hah!) yum!

    ew to winter running. and winter in general. but there is definitely a smug part of me when i’m running in winter. oops.

  • Morning running is my favorite — because if nothing else, I can be all spontaneous with my free afternoons. Crunchy PB is my favorite clif bar! I am digging the published works page, very cool.

  • I agree, running in the morning is ALWAYS better. Especially in the winter. Sometimes it’s hard enough getting to happy hour when it’s cold out, let alone exercise!

    Question…do you drink chocolate milk only after long runs? I ran a 5-mile race this weekend, and I was debating getting a chocolate milk (because I believe I remember you saying it helps repair muscles??) after, but decided against it and got a skim latte instead 🙂

  • @Ellen – I think a latte is very similar nutritionally to chocolate milk in terms of re-fueling post run. You want to get in some carbs, protein, and sugar and both the latte and the chocolate milk fit the bill 🙂 And I’ve read studies that show post-run caffeine can aid recovery: http://www.runnersworld.com/article/0,7120,s6-242-301–13105-0,00.html

  • This is kind of funny, because just as you’re transitioning to the morning, I’m going to have to switch to the evenings. NOT happy about this, but that’s the price you pay for getting out of work at 2 p.m…yay? Love your non-running social life. Coconut Lara Bars are pretty tasty.

  • I can only run in the mornings – it’s by far the best time for my body, and like you said it feels amazing to start the day that well!
    Mmm can’t go wrong with Clif Bars – I love Blueberry Crisp, crunchy PB, and Oatmeal Raisin Walnut the best.

  • Thanks for a great very early morning run last week. I am the same way – I need to get into the habit of morning runs during the winter because after work can get pretty tough. I am trying to remember how I did this last winter! If only the snow could stop for good! Can you believe that was the very first time we’ve actually run together?! Finally. 🙂

  • Pooja

    I love running in the morning too but do you ever feel unsafe when you do? I (think?) you run in CP but I live in the east village and run on FDR or sometimes the west side highway and I always feel a little scared when I go out at 6am. Thoughts?

  • Megan

    Go Girl! Do what makes you happy! I am loving my morning runs too, although i have switched over to the dreadmill for before work early am runs. Hate that damn thing. You have such pretty eyes! Keep up the good work and great positivity and it will all fall into place.

  • Great work on the early morning runs…geting up in the cold/dark mornings is SO hard. I guess it helps to have running friends to meet up with! How did you find a running group?

    As for my favorite Luna (that is my favorite kind out of the three) is vanilla almond. Yum! Oh and I just bought a chocolate coconut to try, hope it is good!

  • Pingback: Pretty little fried things | eat, drink, run()

  • Great job on those runs, girl!
    And I bet you had an amazing time partying 😀
    Way to go, Megan!
    xoxo

  • Courtney

    I agree, time of day for running is so seasonal!! Running in the am’s helps a lot in the winter! and it really is true that after work in the winter, nothing sounds better than soup and being cozy at home