In this article I’ll look at:
1: Before or after work. Morning vs Evening
2: Keeping safe in the dark
3: How to fit a run into your lunch hour
4: Plan, Plan, Plan
1) Before or after work? Morning vs Evening
I'm a great believer that when it comes to running, people are either morning runners or evening runners. However, in the winter you may need to be more flexible so you get your run. If you've never run in the morning and you're struggling to fit a run into your day then why not try something new?
I'm definitely a morning runner. Any time after 4pm and I could give you a whole raft of excuses as to why I shouldn't run that evening, most quite convincing as I've had all day to think them up.
The way I see it is, if its dark in the morning and dark in the evening, then why not get it over and done with? That way you can wear your smug pants all day at work whilst you listen to everyone else concoct reasons why they really shouldn't exercise that night.
I also find that if you plan to run early in the morning, then unless you forget to set your alarm, very little can get in your way. Fast forward through to the evening and we risk forgotten appointments, last minute shopping trips, last minute homework requests from children (Mum I need to build a life size Gruffalo before tomorrow) and those oh so tempting invitations out for tea.
It usually takes my brain a while to catch on to what I'm doing if I run first thing in the morning. My pants may be inside out and I may not be able to string a sentence together but for me there's something very peaceful about early morning running. When the air is crisp and fresh and there's not a soul around its a perfect time to reflect and mentally prepare for the day ahead. You will be amazed at how energised you will feel for the rest of the day.
If you really feel like you can't face that early morning run then how about running straight after work? That way you won't have time to get home, sit down and sample home comforts whilst convincing yourself not to run. Be organised, have your running gear ready and put it on straight away when that 5pm bell goes. Lots of workplaces now have organised running groups but if not persuade a colleague to join you. Its much harder to let someone else down.
2) Keeping safe in the dark
Whether you run in the dark in the morning or in the evening it is so important to keep safe. The obvious advice is to stick to well lit, clear roads in populated areas if possible. Don't use headphones and make sure you're visible. Head torches, reflective clothing, flashy lights anything at all. If you're lit up like a Christmas tree then you're getting it right.
I would always recommend running with a friend or a group if possible but if you can't then at least make sure someone knows your route and roughly how long you intend to be out. I know it's so tempting (especially at 5am when you're feeling oh so virtuous) to stick a post on Facebook to announce to the world and her brother that you're out for a run but please don't do it. Save your post until you're home safely and then you can tell everyone how wonderful you are.
Vary your routes and trust your gut instinct. If something doesn't feel right then chances are it's not. It's better to upset a potentially innocent member of the public by turning around rather than run head on into a potentially dangerous situation.
3) How to fit a run into your lunch hour
This is a tough one. I know many of you aren't lucky enough to get an hour for your lunch and even if you do, if you're anything like me, the thought of the work which would need to be done post run to get me to semi decent appearance is quite off putting. Having said that, with some corner cutting and preparation it is possible.
Make your lunch at home and take it with you for after your run. Make sure you have all of your running gear together and well organised so it's quick to put on. Wear loose fitting clothes on the day you run and wear your sports bra/running vest under your work gear if possible. Use the time en route to the toilets to get changed to start your warm up. Surprise your colleagues with some random windmill arms, marching or side steps. If there's toilet/changing facilities either downstairs or upstairs, then even better you can incorporate the stairs into your warm up on your way out.
If you don't have showers or don't have time to shower then dry shampoo, baby wipes and deodorant will do the trick. If you can just tie and clip your hair up. You may be slightly red faced in the afternoon but imagine the energy you will have to tackle the afternoon ahead and I promise you with a little bit of freshening up you won't smell nearly as bad as you think you do!
4: Plan, Plan, Plan
Quite simply make time in your diary for a run in the same way as if you were meeting a friend. Sit down on a Sunday night and plan when you're going to run. Write the time and place in your diary and commit to it as you would any other appointment. Better still pop a reminder into your phone so those annoying notifications drive you to it!
If you're a busy Mum then write it on the kitchen calendar. Make sure everyone can see it and respects that that's your time. My family have learned that to ensure the smooth running of the family home, Mum MUST have her run.
So what are you waiting for? Make the time to run and I promise you won't regret it!