T.S. Eliot might have called April the cruelest month, but Dimity told me recently she thinks March is the hardest month to run in. The weather can shift in a heartbeat--snow showers one minute, gusts of rain the next--and then there's the whole "spring ahead, fall back" time shift thing. As a parent (and a human being), I love when daylight lingers well past dinnertime. But as a devoted morning runner, I loathe being plunged back into darkness after being treated to a few weeks of weak dawning light.
We shift clocks ahead an hour this Saturday night. (Right!? Hard to believe, but true.) Since being prepared is half the battle, here's how to keep right on running next week and beyond.
Schedule a rest day for Monday. If you're on a training plan (say, for instance, our half-marathon or 5K Finish It ones), juggle your workouts now so at least the first day of the work/school week a bit less rough.
Go to sleep earlier. Easier typed than done, we know, but be pro-active about protecting your sleep: Skip book group next week; don't offer to bake 30 cupcakes for your kid's class; read a book in bed instead of sitting in front of a glowing computer screen; take Hyland's Calms Forte or drink herbal tea to slow your racing brain to a jog.
Set your gear out the night before (heck, sleep in it!). Somehow deciding on which pair of capris to wear and digging out a clean sports bra always seems less daunting pre-bed than at 0' dark-thirty. Dimity goes as far as setting out a banana or graham crackers the night before her workout.
Don't dither. (Or, as Dimity puts it: Don't think; just go.) I'm not a snooze-button kinda gal so no matter how groggy I am when the alarm goes off, my feet hit the floor. I wipe sleep away by turning on the bathroom light full blast (only hurts for a few seconds, I swear), brushing my teeth, then rubbing my eyes with cold water. Give those tricks a try.
Make plans to run with a friend. Not new advice we know, but worth repeating: You're far less likely to bail on a run when you know Sheila, Jessica, or Meredith are waiting on the corner for you. (Or maybe all three of them are--the more the merrier.)
Light the dark. Don't pack away your reflective vest and Knuckle Lights quite yet. You'll be less likely to curse the darkness if you can see your way--and drivers can spot you. Remind yourself it's getting lighter a little earlier every day.
Line up some entertainment. Cue up some new songs or download some podcasts to lighten your mood, if not your morning. On easy run days, sometimes the only thing that gets me out the door is the excitement of listening to Peter Sagal and Carl Kasell on NPR's "Wait, Wait....Don't Tell Me." If you're tethered to a treadmill, this is the week to catch up on "The Mindy Project" or season 2 of "Homeland." (No way to stay groggy during that show!)
Suck it up, buttercup. While these tricks and tips will help, we're not going to sugarcoat it for you: The first few days after we spring back are going to be rough. But as tired as you may feel when your alarm sings out or when you tie your kicks, just remember how much peppier you'll feel the rest of the day because you started your day with a run.
How 'bout you: Tell us how you make springing forward less daunting.