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Tell Me Tuesday: Running through Daylight Savings Time Shift

Forget the Ides of March: It's Daylight Savings Time you've got to beware this month!
Forget the Ides of March: It's Daylight Savings Time you've got to beware this month!

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.

I honestly wouldn't put it past Dimity to pull this move.
I honestly wouldn't put it past Dimity to pull this move.

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.)

No, you're not dreaming: Watching Damian Lewis in "Homeland" makes morning workouts a whole lot sweeter.
No, you're not dreaming: Watching Damian Lewis in "Homeland" makes morning workouts a whole lot sweeter.

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. 


18 responses to “Tell Me Tuesday: Running through Daylight Savings Time Shift

  1. I hate spring forward (I like it dark at night when it’s time to put kids to bed)! But these tips should help with the running end of it at least. :^)

  2. GREAT tips. I think these work well even if its not daylight savings time. I am definitely a snooze buttoner. My boyfriend always says I just need to get up but for some reason I try and I can’t. I’ll have to try turning on the light trick.

  3. Because I have to get it done before getting myself ready for work and the kids ready for school, I’m a 5 a.m. runner out of necessity. Do you mean it’s possible to run on a weekday morning when it’s actually light outside? 😉

    And BTW, I do all the things Melanie recommends. Good advice!

  4. Suck it up Buttercup! I am a pre-dawn runner (out the door at 5). I do pretty much the same as you, don’t dawdled (one hit of the snooze and I’m out for good), turn on the bathroom lights and wash my face. Once I get out in the cold air, I’m WIDE awake. My clothes are always determined the night before (as is if I’ll be on the treadmill or outdoors). Knowing what I need to be dressing in is important for me to not change my mind and crawl back in bed.

    My natural wake up is often before my alarm, so I won’t have to adjust my body clock more than about half the difference. And, I’m a lousy sleeper anyway, so it’ll be a relief to get up “early”.

  5. I’m a night shifter and am on this weekend. Only 11 hours Saturday night. Kind of helps to off set the 13 hour shift I worked last fall! 😉

  6. So happy to live in Arizona, where DST is not an issue! It’s especially nice in the mid-summer when dawn starts breaking at 4:30 am and I need to beat the heat to get my run in.

  7. For those of us who are evening runners and like to run after work this is a blessing. I’ve been stuck in the dark for months. I’m so happy to be able to get out into the light for some miles!

  8. I get a double whammy next week. On top of DST, the U is on spring break. They thought it would be a good idea if we could all come in half an hour earlier and have a half hour lunch break. Good-bye runch. See you next week. Racing a 5K on the 16th so at least they are small workouts to piece in -or miss altogether 🙁

  9. As someone who runs in the late afternoon or evening, I’m looking forward to having more light during my runs!

  10. I’m a pre-dawn runner and used to running in the dark. I do not recommend listening to music or podcasts. It’s just not safe.

  11. My first half marathon was on the Sunday that DST started in 2010. Top that off with my WVU Mountaineers were playing in the Big East tourney that Saturday night and I just made sure all time pieces were right and then ignored any issues with DST. Not so sure about it this year.

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