My Favorite Day of the Week for Running
Article by: Michael SelmanReproduced with permission of the author
Ah, Monday morning. While most of the world has strong desires of pulling the bedcovers back over its collective head until the day goes away, I eagerly pop out of bed and embrace the day. Monday, you see, is my favorite day of the week to run. All the hard efforts of the weekend are behind me, and Monday is the day I bask in the weekend's accomplishments, and reward myself with a run just for me. I leave my watch at home, and with it, the concerns of anything but the pure joy of running. Monday is the day to smell the roses, count the stars, hear the birds, and run simply because I can.
But then, there's Tuesday. And Tuesday is possibly my favorite day of the week to run. My legs are fresh from the easy run the day before, and I look forward to running a little bit faster, and capturing each split on my watch. It's too dark to see my times as I pass each landmark, but I try to gauge my pace by how I feel, and play a little game to see how close I can actually come to the actual time once I'm back inside. Some days, I know myself really well, and other days, I'm way off the mark. Tuesday is a day to see how well I know myself, and to learn how well I am doing at that task.
Then, there is Wednesday. This is undoubtedly my favorite day of the week to run. For starters, I sleep about an hour and a half later, because Wednesday is my track workout, and it's the one day a week I run after work. The warm fuzzies of the day actually start the night before, when I adjust my alarm accordingly. The whole day has a different feel to it. It's the only day that the run is ahead of me rather than behind me as I go through my work day, and the anticipation of the run somewhat distracts me.
On Wednesday, I pack a bag so I can change right after work, and bring an insulated jug that I fill with ice and water just before heading to the track. Wednesday, I have a very specific task to do, right down to the second, and the meter. I am acutely aware of my progress every minute of the workout, and adjust accordingly if a little tweaking is needed. Wednesday is a day to be an athlete, and to hopefully see gradual improvement from one week to the next.
But Thursday is, in a funny kind of way, possibly my favorite day of the week for running. The irony is that on Thursdays, I don't run at all. That's the day I give myself the gift of recovery and the hope of longevity. It's a second consecutive day that I sleep later, knowing that I am rewarding my body for pulling me through the accomplishments of the past three days, and giving it a break in preparation for the next three days. It's not that the temptation isn't there to run. It is, but common sense says to rest. Thursday is a day to be smart and logical. Even a runner can do that once a week.
On Friday, I wake up early, and hungry for running again. After starving myself the day before, I am ready to feast. I think that this may very well make Friday my favorite day of the week for running. But Friday is a day of control, and I have to temper the hunger. I know that I have a tough weekend ahead of me, and I need to be sure I go into it well rested and well prepared. Friday is much like Monday in the nature of the run, but very different in its purpose. Thursday runs, in similar fashion to Monday runs, are mindful, watchless runs, but my mind wanders in a different kind of way. It looks to the immediate future, rather than the past. Friday runs wonder what the next Monday retrospections are going to look like. Friday is a day of hope and dreams of future accomplishments.
Saturdays don't require an alarm to get me moving. I am so eager for Saturday to come that I sometimes hardly sleep the night before. Saturday must be my favorite day of the week for running. As George Sheehan expressed it best, Saturday is the lovemaking of running itself. Saturday, I race, and thus give a deeper purpose for all the other days of the running week. Saturday is, at the same time, the most serious work, and the most lighthearted play of the week. Saturday is competition and communion; a day of trying to distance myself from my best friends, in the most literal of ways, hoping to leave them behind me only until the handshake once the race is over. Saturday is a day of challenge and camaraderie. It is a day for being the fastest I can be, and being the best I can be.
Sundays incorporate a change of venue, a change of scenery, and a change of purpose. I love the modifications. They make Sunday my favorite day of the week for running. I usually drive down to the dirt path by the river. Sometimes, my wife comes with me and we run together. Other times, I meet friends there. On Sundays, I almost never run alone. Sunday is not just about running, but it's about visiting in a way that can only be done on a longer slower run. Eight, or ten, or 12 miles go by in a flash, and when it's over, whomever I'm running with always shares my amazement about what we've just accomplished and how easily done it was. That goes for the conversation as well as the run.
So there you have it. The cycle is completed, and then starts anew. Monday rolls around again, and I'm ready for another loop of the course. Just like most every run I do, each week brings me back to where I started, only a bit better off for having done it. And it brings me to a better understanding of the fact that, in actuality, I don't have a favorite day for running. That's because they all are.
Michael Selman Roads Scholar Atlanta Georgia USAMichael Selman is a freelance writer who has appeared in publications and web sites throughout the world, including Runner's World, Footnotes, and CoolRunning.