I’m in a rotational program at a telecom company, which means that every 3 to 6 months I get a new job and a new boss within the company. Two weeks ago, I was rotated into a supporting role on a large project with many moving parts that all happen during a small window of time. In order to meet deadlines, I’ve been working at night and on the weekends more than I’m used to. This means that I’ve been blowing off hikes, missing runs, and heading home about 8pm to make myself a quick dinner and open a bottle of wine before getting right back to work.
This makes me unhappy – not necessarily the hours – but missing hikes and runs. When I miss runs, I don’t have as much energy, I don’t sleep as well, I have trouble focusing, and Jason would probably tell you I get pretty grouchy. So, I think it’s time for me to become a Morning Runner.
I flirted with running in the morning a couple of years ago while training for my first marathon but I can’t admit that I was a Morning Runner because since I was freelancing I would usually get up early and work for a little while before running about 9am and getting back to work. I would also wake up early to do my long runs while it was cool because I hate running in the heat.
This time it’s different. Becoming a Morning Runner means getting up early enough to put in some miles (let’s start with 3) before getting to my desk by 8am. So, I’m either going to have to get a lot faster soon, or I’m going to have to start getting up much earlier than I have been. Let’s explore this idea.
Why run in the morning?
- Better chance of sticking to your schedule since work deadlines, unplanned happy hours and other obligations are less likely to come up
- The weather is much cooler in the summer
- You start the day with a little metabolism boost that may even encourage me to eat better throughout the day
- You get to start the day doing something for you – not for work, significant others, friends, you get some you time
- If you like to participate in races, those wake up calls might not be as painful
- Did your dad ever tell you that nothing good ever happens after midnight? Well mine did, and even though I disagree, it might help me get into bed a little earlier and avoid some of that trouble
How to start:
- Prepare. Lay out your running clothes the night before. Everything, iPod, headphones, shoes socks, something warm just in case so you have no excuse to just go back to bed because you can’t find that other sock.
- Get your zz’s. Go to bed a little earlier than usual at least the first few nights to make sure you get enough rest. It may feel early. You may feel lame. Just go to bed.
- Plan your route. You are going to be half awake when you start out and will only be thinking about the distance back to your bed. Do yourself a favor and figure out where you are going the night before.
- Start slow. Go easy on yourself. Don’t start by getting up at 4am for a 10 miler. Pick out what is intimidating to you and give yourself a break. The run? Aim to get up and walk (I bet it will turn into a run). The time? Try going for just a mile or two. You probably only need 30 minutes from front door to shower.
- Enlist a buddy. My fiance Jason has perfected the art of pushing me out of bed as soon as he hears my alarm without even waking up. He even mutters things like, “you are so awesome, go get ’em! You are amazing.” Hearing that stuff from my sleeping dude makes it really difficult for me to tell him to shut up before hitting the snooze. You could also find someone who is already a Morning Runner to join you.
- Don’t think. Just go. I’m the queen of rationalization. Seriously. I’m amazing. The only way to beat rationalizing is to not let yourself think at all. Don’t give yourself the opportunity to decide that you need another few minutes of sleep or that you will go later. This is an important skill to learn and applicable in other parts of your life too.
- Be proud! When you see your sleepy coworker head back to Starbucks for a coffee refill congratulate yourself. You already ran/walked/survived some amount of miles today and can work late / go to happy hour / sit on the couch guilt free later!