This week, I learned yet another valuable lesson along my fitness journey. I’d like to share with you all.

I live in Ohio & we had unseasonably perfect weather this week. There were some stretches this summer where it was in the 90s with a lot of humidity. Those days usually came with air quality alerts that kept me from my running all together.

But this week was different and I wanted to take advantage of the weather while I could! I’ve condensed my workouts down to just one session taking place sometime in the 2-5 PM window. On Wednesday, I decided I’d run. I was encouraged since I had just shared with you all how much improved my running was thanks to a few short weeks of TurboFire.

Well, that optimism didn’t last long! After the usual 6-8 minute adjustment period — when I usually settle into a nice pace — I wasn’t feeling it, like I usually do. But I kept going. After a total of 15 minutes, I felt terrible. It was like my balance was off & I was almost dizzy. I knew it wasn’t the weather, so it had to be something else, right?

I took a look at what I did differently for this run. For starters, I don’t usually run in the daytime. So that was 1 big difference. Second, I didn’t eat before I ran. In past years, when I was in the early weeks of c25k, I would hit the road without eating anything at it would be fine. I guess that’s not the case when I’ve completed the Couch to 5k running plan and am consistently running for 30+ minutes each session. I bowed out of my run around the 19-20 minute mark and felt like utter crap. To make up for the apparent lack of a workout, I did some TurboFire, Fire 30. But I kept thinking about my failure of a run.

Then, yesterday, I ran again; but this time I did my usual routine of running about 2 hours after dinner. What was the result? The 30 minute run went very smoothly. I got into my usual groove & felt great the entire time.

What was the moral of this story? Find what works for you, when it comes to your running sessions. If you like running at the crack of dawn (more power to you!), then try to keep to that time if at all possible. If you don’t like to eat before you run, then stick with that as well!

When I ran my first 5k, 2 years ago, it was at 8AM. I had completed my c35k training and was running regular 35-40 minute sessions with ease. However, I struggled through the 5k; especially the last mile or so. The shock of running at such a different time, coupled with only having eaten a bowl of oatmeal prior, just didn’t work for me. That’s why I keep looking for evening 5k races to run. There aren’t that many offered, but there’s always the Fight Nite 5k

I know what works for my body now. I’ve found that my body responds very well to nighttime running about 2 hours after a full meal. That’s why I won’t be straying much from my routine. So, if you find yourself struggling a little with your training, take a look at routine. Isolate certain factors such as time of day, pre-workout fuel, and weather. You’ll soon figure out what works for you and your running will improve!