An evening run: is there really any better way to simultaneously unwind and sweat at the end of a busy day? Whether you work outside the home or stay home with kids, burning off energy feels oh so invigorating. But how can something that feels so good be so tough to actually do? Well, for reasons like exhaustion, tired kids, messy house, sink full of dishes (ok, ok, so I know the reasons… 😉 )
Lately I have been on a little kick of getting out the door for an evening run and it breaks up the end of the day so perfectly. It’s not easy to leave chores unfinished; however, over the past week I’ve come up with the following points that have made the evening run a little more likely to happen. If you enjoy sweating at the end of the day, I hope these points are helpful!
- Tell anyone and everyone who will listen about your run…
…starting with your kids. Around noon, I’ve been telling my toddler, “Mama’s going to go for a run tonight after dinner! You’re going to have so much fun during bath time with Dad!” This declaration of my running plan is initially met with resistance: “But I want Mama to give me my bath!” To which I continue to pump up the fun he’s going to have with Dad! I’ll remind him of this throughout the afternoon and evening, and pretty soon he’s saying to me, “Mama’s going to go for her run!” Tough to back out after hearing that. Saying the plan out loud holds me accountable and makes it a reality. It also helps get others on board. Partners can be awesome at helping you stick to your plan. If your partner knows you want to go for an evening run, it becomes part of his or her plan too.
- Map it out ahead of time
I use Map My Run and anyone can sign up for a free account. I love this tool because it’s fun to come up with different routes around town. It keeps running fresh; nothing worse than feeling discouraged by the same old boring routes. You can also check out the incline to see if you’ve mapped a particularly hilly run for yourself. Seeing exactly how far and specifically where I am going to run makes it all the more real. Even if your run is a mile long, it doesn’t matter. Mapping the run helps you to visualize it.
- Lay your clothes out…
… or better yet, just get dressed in them in the first place! This might not be an option if you work outside the home, in which case laying out your running clothes before you leave for work in the morning will make jumping into them that much easier when you get home. If you can eliminate steps, you’ll be all the more likely to accomplish the run. If you do stay/work at home and can get away with wearing workout clothes all day, then go for it! Changing clothes might not seem like something to overcome, but every tiny little step that brings you closer to getting out the door adds up to be difference between running or not.
- Leave the watch at home
I’m a big fan of physical activity that gives more than just physical results (just see #4 in this post). An evening run has the potential to fuel your mind and soul as much, if not more than your body. Running gives you exercise, no doubt about it, so you can rest assured that with this evening run you’re getting the cardiovascular workout and calorie burn. But a run without being attached to a certain time will let your mind relax. You’ve already mapped your route ahead of time (just see #2) so you know how far you’re running. Not focusing on speed or mile splits will help your mind and body connect. You can focus on how you feel and run accordingly. If you’re sluggish and need to run slowly, that’s fine. You’re taking care of yourself. If instead, you are convinced that you have Usain Bolt’s legs for miles upon miles, hey, enjoy it! A run without a watch becomes more than a run: it’s a chance to unwind and mentally let go which is necessary at the end of a long day.
- And while you’re at it, leave the phone too
I know, I know, music is on the phone and sometimes it’s awesome to run to a beat. I’d suggest though, that once in a while you run music-less. See point #4 about connecting your mind and body which actually happens even without the tunes. Leaving the phone at home will also eliminate any temptation to respond to a text or check email or snap a picture of that beautiful sunset. Sometimes, absorbing an experience without the pressure to “capture it” ends up leading to more relaxation and appreciation. If you want a little more inspiration for having some phone-free fun, check this out.
Remember that an evening run doesn’t have to be perfect. It doesn’t have to be fast or long or record-breaking in any way. The point of an evening run is to give you the time and the opportunity to recharge and take care of yourself. The dishes, the chores, the kids, the bedtime routines will all be there when you get back, so run and recharge so you can take it all on.
How do you sweat that the end of the day?
Happy Monday, happy running, and happy sweating!