Monitor and Adjust

When is the best time to workout?  I have read more blogs and articles on this subject than anything else. Everyone has their own opinion, and so do I! Experts seem to be split. If you run in the mornings, you can get your run out of the way and go on with your day. Your workout increases your metabolism and you burn more calories. If you run in the evenings, your body temperature is higher and that is supposed to increase your ability to workout and is easier on your muscles.  You burn the same amount of calories, but if you have had a difficult day, you are more tempted to skip your workout.  And, and, and…..

My job is IT Director for Cave City School District. I have to be at work by 7:30 a.m. I work year around and during the summer I start at 8. If I run before work, that puts me getting up no later than 5 AM.  I am NOT a morning person. Phil learned a long time ago not to even bother trying to have a conversation with me until I have had coffee and dried my hair. (There is something about the hair dryer that makes me less mean in the morning.) Plus, it’s kinda dark that early. I live and run in the sticks. Creatures live in the trees and brush and are just waiting for a slow moving victim to attack. One close encounter with a opossum at 5 in the morning can take at least 5 years off your life expectancy.

I do run sometimes in the morning, but only as a last resort. I will run any morning before I run on a treadmill, but that’s another story… I prefer to run in the evenings. Like everyone else, my job can be stressful at times. Running helps me sort out the day and leave behind the things that have no place in my head. I often run after dark and in cold weather it’s not a problem. Grab the head lamp and away I go.

Summer is a little harder. It is so hot and humid here, I typically don’t start my run until about 30 minutes before sundown. I try to time it where I run most of the miles on the road before it’s completely dark and then finish up in our quarter mile circle driveway. Sometimes it works out that way sometimes not.  If it’s a crazy busy week, I run some mornings just to make things easier.

One very important thing I have learned to do is plan ahead. I try to run 4 days a week. Sunday is a must run day. It’s kind of like church, if I miss either one my entire week is off. The other 3 runs are planned around things I have going on. I look at my schedule and the weather forecast and figure out which days will be the best days for a run.  Typically, I like to run Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I schedule my appointments on Tuesday and Thursday. If something unexpected comes up, I tend to get a little testy. Occasionally, like last week, I only run 3 days and that stresses me out.

I have found that to make any program work for you, schedule your workout time and stick to it.  Workout when you can. There is no right or wrong time. Figure out what is best for you and do it. When I was studying to be a teacher, we were taught the monitor and adjust principle. If what you are doing isn’t working, adjust it until it does.

Run happy.

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