Welcome to the summer, officially! Even if the weather-gurus get it wrong by a couple of degrees, the winter clothing is gone and forgotten! I am going to be completely sincere when I say that I simply LOVE this time of the year, everything just feels fresh, promising and exciting. And that includes running, believe it or not; no longer do I have to wrap myself in heavy sweatshirts and hats and gloves and all that other North Pole equipment, I just get up, grab the iPod and go! Actually, I wish I were living in an area where I would not even need shoes to go out, such as a beach or boardwalk -that has to be a definition of a paradise, again officially! Miles and miles of even, flat, pleasant surface, coupled of course with an amazing air and a breath-taking view!
This newly-rediscovered hot weather also reminded me of yet another fringe benefit of 5 AM Running. In fact, in addition to our well-known 5 AM Rules, we should also probably make a brand new section titled '5 AM Benefits', outlining the advantages of our early-morning lifestyle. Anyway, back to the summer heat. As I was returning from my outing this morning, soaked more so than usual, I already felt the heat and the humidity quickly filling up the air all around me, despite the early hour. I don't have to tell you - moving, breathing and even sweating becomes incredibly more difficult. And that's at 5 AM!
Just a couple of days ago, I was truly touched by this incomparable view: as I was driving, I saw a man running up the road, going slowly enough to be walking. He was surrounded by a cloud of sweat and his face reflected thepure agony of the moment, his mouth open and his eyes clearly looking for a way out.... The time was high noon, or so, it was hot and humid, and I thought to myself: "This is insanity, at its finest!!" It was tough to watch, the guy was really suffering, and yet, in his mind, he probably felt he was accomplishing some sort of a fitness / cardio routine. Perhaps he read somewhere -someplace other than 5 AM Runner.com - that any form of running is a good thing and was attempting to act on it.
Unfortunately, he was clearly causing himself more harm than benefit, by any estimation. His body must have been so over-heated, he probably felt himself as if lowered into the Dante's Inferno. And why? What for? Wouldn't it make more sense to get your cardio done EARLIER, BEFORE it gets hot and humid and dangerous out there? In retrospect, I feel terrible for two reasons: 1. Not offering this poor soul a ride in my air-conditioned car, and, more importantly, 2. Not opening my window and yelling: "Please read 5AMRunner.com if you ever get home!"
All jokes aside, I wish more people would get to know the benefits of the early-morning run, just how good it feels and just how powerful it is in your overall quest for health and fitness. Running in a cooler weather is yet another, mostly undiscovered benefit of such early running. I recall that a couple of times in my life, when I was still learning to do this properly, I tried to get out there for a second run of the day, believe it or not; having ran earlier in the morning, I would come out before lunch and attempt to get another mile or two under my belt. Back then, I still thought it was a zero-sum game, the more miles I run - the more weight I lose! How naive!
I will never forget that feeling, unable to breathe, legs weighing a ton each, sweat rolling down my face after just the first 100 feet! Obviously, such torture will never become a routine, I mean come on, who besides Jason Bourne, Jack Bauer and Pee Wee Herman could endure such punishment to their bodies on a continuous basis, day after day?! Likely, you will try it a time or two, and switch to something more humane. And as we have discussed over and over again, unless you are able to make your cardio workout A ROUTINE, something you do a few days a week, nothing will ever change.
And if you are looking for a routine, why not make it cool, comfortable and interesting?