Night Moves a.k.a. sometimes I run at 10pm

Today’s post title is brought to you by Bob Seger and his classic 70’s hit…

Thanks to some awesome lady runner buddies, I’ve been getting better at this whole morning run thing. I know that if I don’t drag myself out of bed, they’re going to be waiting for me…and pissed worried if I don’t show up. However, work has been kind of crazy lately. Dinner most nights is at 9 or 10pm, bedtime around midnight, and that isn’t always conducive to a run the next morning. On Thursday, I planned on heading to a CPTC tempo workout or the gym whenever I left the office, but by the time I busted loose, practice was half way over and the thought of enclosing myself inside a gym, on a treadmill made me feel violent (lolz work frustration!). I re-read Meggie’s guest post about getting out the door even when you’re busy and tired, but my body and brain were shouting a resounding NO to running.

So, instead, I headed to the nearest pinkberry (the salted caramel froyo is SO good) and ate it while I walked home. After a few hours of decompressing, I finally felt ready to go for a run. The only problem? It was 9:30pm – not exactly a normal time to hit the roads. I know many people run in the morning and I agree – it feels AWESOME to get it done and have your evenings free. BUT if you ever sleep-in and want to fit in some evening miles, I promise it’s not as hard as you might think.

I definitely know what it’s like to finish a long day at work and feel hungry, tired, and not at ALL like running in the evening. That’s okay, normal actually. Below are some things that have helped me get myself out the door.

You don’t have to run the minute you leave work. I realize this might not work for everyone, but my 9 or 10pm runs are usually much better than my 6 or 7pm runs. Last night, I took some time to chill-out and a few hours later, my motivation had returned. Obviously, if you eat a huge dinner or drink a few glasses of wine…running late isn’t going to work. Make good choices if you want to do a night run.

Try some reverse psychology. Last night, I said to myself  “Okay, you’re cranky. You put in some good miles this week. It’s fine to take a rest day.” Just removing the pressure, the notion that I had to run made it all the more appealing. I told myself I could take a rest day, but in the end, I didn’t want to.

For God sake, eat something (even a dessert-y thing if you want!). If you eat lunch between noon and two, you’re going to be hungry by 6 or 7pm. Now’s the perfect time for a snack! Last night, I treated myself to some froyo with raspberries and chocolate and it made me happy. It also prevented me from becoming a murderous bitch – that occasionally happens when the blood sugar dips. Fun times.

If you go for a run at night, don’t be an idiot. Don’t carry your $500 Ipad with you. Don’t wear headphones (you need to be aware of what’s going on). Stick to well-lit paths. Tell someone where you’re going and what time you expect to be back. Stick your cell phone in your sports bra or pocket (for emergency calls). But most of all, don’t let night time running scare you. Central Park is actually pretty safe these days – they have a good police presence and people are out there biking and running at all hours of the day and night. Central Park circa 2011 is much different from the Central Park of the 80’s! I’ve done quite a few night time runs by myself and have never had an issue.

But, if you do get mugged, you can’t sue me, capiche?

Think about what a bad-ass you are. Yo, you just worked a full day. Most people are probably half-way through a pint of Ben & Jerry’s, watching bad reality TV on the couch. But you? You’re pounding out some sweaty miles on the road. Keep it up, hot stuff. (Yes, these are really things that I think about when I’m running in the evening).

Remember why you do this sport. Is it to stay healthy? Run a PR in your next race? Because it makes you feel strong and less stressed? If you’re reading this blog, running probably makes you a happier person. And hey, it’s cheaper than therapy. Keep that in mind when you’re struggling to get out the door.

After you finish up running, have a real dinner. And beer! Drinking beer after an evening run is more acceptable than after a morning run. Although, I won’t judge you if you like to knock back IPAs at 8am.

One day this week, I cooked some whole wheat cous-cous and mixed it with a bunch of chopped veggies (Hakurei turnips, cucumber, summer squash, wilted spinach), feta cheese, chickpeas, leftover rotisserie chicken, olive oil, and salt & pepper. It took less than 30 minutes to make a huge bowl (enough for about 3-4 meals) and it’s packed with carbs, protein, healthy fats, and fiber. I like to add a big dollop of hummus and some hot sauce before I dig in!

Ta-da! Easy week night dinner.

  • “If you run at night, don’t be an idiot.” lolz, lolz, lolz, true story. I’m too low-maintenance to even run with my phone, which is why 99% of my runs take place in the morning broad daylight hours.

    MUST get my hands on some salted caramel Pinkberry when I’m in NYC in November!!!

  • Hahaha this post actually cracked me up with all your violent references. I, too, become a pit cranky and miserable when I am tired or hungry…even worse when it’s both. I’ve gone on a few runs that late and agree they aren’t that bad, and Central Park is super safe. I just don’t tell my grandma or mom about it, and we’re all good. Sometimes I struggle to fall asleep after a late-night run (yay endorphins!) but squeezing it in is usually better than skipping it in.

    See ya tomorrow morning… I definitely need the awesome lady runner buddies to get out the door that early on a weekend, but am looking forward to it!

  • After all, you ain’t no Central Park jogger, you’re a runner! #rapehumor #oops

  • Ali

    Haha love this. I would honestly love to run in Central Park at night sometime because I’m sure it’s amazing, but I’m terrified. I won’t do it alone (you’re welcome, Mom) and even fear it a bit with others.

    But if you’re going out late one night, I’ll come with you. You just have to hold my hand…the entire time.

  • omg omg. “for gods sake, eat something,” “keep it up, hot stuff,” “have a real dinner and beer.” you are my hero hahaha.

    i actually think night runs this time of year are awesome – it’s lighter later, the heat has usually cooled down, and everyone is still out anyway because it’s summer.  hopefully my dumb knees will heal up so i can take advantage soon!

    ps thumbs down to work stress. you need a raise, stat!

  • i like your tips! especially the no headphones (smart) and eat something (yummy). i don’t understand those people who don’t eat after a long run late at night, either. isn’t that bad for your muscles and stuff? like rebuilding and whatnot? hmmm.

  • AR

    10PM runs beat 5am runs any day of the week.

    And sometimes, you can eat fried cake from the the farmers market and manage to do them without puking. Ask me how I know.

  • Anonymous

    re-fueling after late night runs is so necessary! if you don’t take in carbs
    and protein after a workout, your body will break down muscle for fuel. and
    since beer = carbs, all you gotta worry about is the protein! lol. just
    kidding about the beer. sort of.

  • Anonymous

    hahaha, was it funnel cake? or the coffee cake with the really thick crumb
    topping? both of those seem like stellar pre-run fuel to me.

  • beer is acceptable just like wine is less carby but more sugary. it’s
    dessert, duh.

  • Anonymous

    haha, i was in such a bizarre mood when i wrote this post. i just wanted to use swear words in every sentence! let me know how the visit to hospital for special surgery goes (my knee has been givin’ me some trouble lately as well).

  • AR

    I <3 you

  • Anonymous

    i will hold your hand. promise! and bonus – we can end the run at a bar!!

  • Anonymous

    hehe, last night i had quite the internal debate about bringing along my iphone…

    on one hand, it could make me a target for mugging. on the other hand, it would be good to have in case of emergency…

  • I *LOVE* night running. For as fantastic as it is to run early in the morning and have it out of the way, my most stellar miles always happen post-sunset. If it weren’t for the high likelihood of day-drinking tomorrow, I’d probably save my long run for nighttime. Le sigh.

  • I love that you saved that Pumpkin Ale! Definitely a good reward for running late at night.

  • Celia Kujala

    I love running at night! I wish I were more of a morning runner…it is SO hard for me to get up in the morning. I am so not a morning person.

    It is great that you have people to hold you accountable for showing up! I don’t live that far (midtown east) but i am not sure I would make it all the way up to engineers gate on a weekday morning…though would be great to join you guys sometime. looks like fun!

  • Celia Kujala

    I love running at night! I wish I were more of a morning runner…it is SO hard for me to get up in the morning. I am so not a morning person.

    It is great that you have people to hold you accountable for showing up! I don’t live that far (midtown east) but i am not sure I would make it all the way up to engineers gate on a weekday morning…though would be great to join you guys sometime. looks like fun!

  • Celia Kujala

    I love running at night! I wish I were more of a morning runner…it is SO hard for me to get up in the morning. I am so not a morning person.

    It is great that you have people to hold you accountable for showing up! I don’t live that far (midtown east) but i am not sure I would make it all the way up to engineers gate on a weekday morning…though would be great to join you guys sometime. looks like fun!

  • Celia Kujala

    I love running at night! I wish I were more of a morning runner…it is SO hard for me to get up in the morning. I am so not a morning person.

    It is great that you have people to hold you accountable for showing up! I don’t live that far (midtown east) but i am not sure I would make it all the way up to engineers gate on a weekday morning…though would be great to join you guys sometime. looks like fun!

  • I should really go on a night run soon – I used to go all the time in college because my schedule was so insane. Thanks for the inspiration! 
    Beer post evening run is a must!! Have a fun weekend…

  • I loved this post. I’m a big chicken when it comes to running in the park at night.These pointers are great. Affirmations like ‘keep it up, hot stuff’ are especially priceless! 

  • Corey @ runner’s cookie

    I am totally a morning runner (just the thought of running in the afternoon/early evening is nauseating…whenever I do, it’s disastrous), but I haven’t given 9 or 10 pm running a shot yet. Good to know that that might work better, if my schedule ever gets crazy…which is very well might soon 🙂

  • Anonymous

    yes! running late can be fun sometimes, i promise. oddly more appealing than
    immediately post-work 🙂 but if you can wake up in time for an a.m. run –
    that’s even better!

  • You are badass for running at night, my friend. I just couldn’t do it. But these are good tips if I’m ever inspired to do so! Also, I’m dying to try the salted caramel, but 16 Handles usually trumps Pinkberry. #whitegirlproblems.

    See you bright and early tomorrow!

  • Pingback: Tomorrow I run with fresh legs. | fitness class fanatic()

  • AR

    A donut.Made with unpasteurized apple cider and topped with cinnamon. mmmm

  • Anonymous
  • I am NOT a morning runner at all.  I once ran at 11:30pm in the park (with a guy, not by myself!) and it was quite fun…..not too many people are out, and the city is so quiet!  Running through the streets at that hour isn’t too bad….enough people are out that I feel safe, but traffic is minimal so the stoplights aren’t all that annoying.

    When I used to be on day shift (during the winter) and it was dark after I got out of work (8pm…), I would run the lower loop of the park if I needed a workout.  Since it was winter, not too many people were out, but I usually saw enough people that I felt safe.  (Don’t tell my mother.)  Plus, on the lower loop you can usually see the street so I always had the plan to make a sprint if something were to go awry.

  • Anonymous

    good advice about the lower loop – it’s generally much more populated than
    the area around 110th st. coach tony has us run 3 x lower loop for a tempo
    workout sometimes. it’s almost exactly 5 miles 🙂

  • I’m actually more worried about tripping on things when running at night than anything else! I’m definitely more of a morning girl though. 

  • Shayne

    Another benefit of night running (at least for me) is that it gives you a little burst of energy. I’m usually a morning runner, but if I have to be up past my bedtime for a party or going out, I like to run first to get my second wind. Endorphins + shower = practically a whole new day.
    And the nighttime air in the park during the summer is so refreshing. Nothing like it.

  • Healthyeverythingtarian

    the fact you referenced a great bob seger song, night running and that bowl of foodie deliciousness all in one post makes me really happy.