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Summer Running in Missoula: Why Earlier Might be Better

Photo courtesy of lululemon athletica/Flickr

Now that the sun is rising earlier and morning temperatures usually are well above the freezing mark, more and more people are choosing to exercise before work.

Of course, I am not one of them — this is secondhand information that I have gathered from eavesdropping on other people’s conversations.

Luckily, my schedule allows me to run later in the day. But as the days grow hotter, I might just have to rise a little earlier so I can take advantage of the cool Montana mornings.

In the past, I’ve set my alarm for 5 a.m. — and sometimes even earlier — in order to fit a workout into my busy schedule. One summer when I was in college, I had an internship that required me to be at work by about 7:30 a.m. By the time I got off for the day, I was usually too tired to even think about heading out for a run in the hot evening sun.

Most days that summer, I was out the door by 5:30 a.m., weaving my way through neighborhoods where most of the residents were still in bed. The first few minutes were always tough, as I was still pretty drowsy and stiff. But by the time I returned home each morning, I felt a great sense of accomplishment. That positive energy carried me through the rest of my day, and I was usually more productive on the days that started with an early morning run.

Plus, exercising in the morning leaves more time for you to enjoy Missoula’s beautiful summer evenings.

If you’re thinking about giving morning workouts a shot, remember: leave yourself enough time to eat a small breakfast before you take off — even if it’s only a few sips of coffee and half of a piece of toast. In my experience, I have found that even a small amount of fuel helps boost my energy level so I can finish my run without feeling too fatigued. (This is especially important if you’re used to running in the evening, after you have been eating and hydrating throughout the day.)

Happy running!

Brooke is a 2010 graduate of The University of Montana, where she ran track and cross country for the Grizzlies. She is currently working as a writer and editor in Missoula.

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