Morning Running

For the longest time, I have wanted to be a morning person. More specifically, I have wanted to be a morning runner. I absolutely see the benefits of running in the morning:

1. You get your run done, and so as you fatigue from working all day, the workout isn't hanging over your head, glaring at you from its perch at 5pm.

2. It sets you up for the day. Running in the morning feels good. You accomplish something before 8am and it can put a pep in your step for the rest of the day.

3. Depending on where you run, it is beautiful - particularly if you see the sunrise.

4. It is cooler. This is very relevant right now as we edge into the summer months in Colorado.

And yet, despite these wonderfully compelling benefits, I have yet to maintain any kind of morning rhythm with running. I can get up early to swim and I have managed it with cycling, if I head downstairs to ride on my trainer indoors or if I am cycling to work. In both cases, I feel good, sometimes even great, after achieving an athletic goal that early. I know I will feel the same way with running as on the rare occasions I have run before work, I have felt awesome and accomplished.

I am not a "just get up and run" kind of runner. I need to eat something, and running 8 miles on coffee alone does not cut it. If I need to eat something, then I need to give myself time to digest said food before heading out for my run. That's at least 45 mins that I need before heading out the door, by which time I can usually convince myself to stay in bed. Then there is the stiffness I feel in the morning, and shaking that out into some kind of rhythm takes a fair number of miles. This adds more time to the run, which inevitably I never have because I snoozed too many times. And so I persuade myself that I won't have time anyway, and I might as well just stay in bed. You can see the cycle of excuses and justifications I can give for why morning runs don't work for me (unless it's a race, and then miraculously I can manage it).

In an effort to curb my morning snooze routine and the "I'll just do it later" voice in my head, I have read numerous articles from running gurus to personal blogs about tips to get up and out the door early. I have tried:

- laying my running clothes out at night
- getting my breakfast out and ready to reduce prep time
- determining a route the night before
- setting the alarm 15 minutes earlier so that I have time to snooze
- going to bed earlier
- gradually setting my alarm clock 5 minutes earlier over a period of several days so that I gently and incrementally get to the time I need

Yeah, even with these efforts, I have had minimal success. So what am I missing? I don't agree that some folks just aren't morning people, because I think it is all about shifting your lifestyle and making different choices over time (caveat: sleep disorders and other physical issues will factor in to one's capacity to rise early). I have clearly demonstrated I can get my butt out of bed for other forms of exercise and to race, and when I go to bed early, I am getting a good 7-8 hours of sleep. I am thinking it really is about my attitude and mental fortitude and perhaps, a socially constructed dislike of mornings. What did mornings ever do to me?  

Since tenacity is something I have been told I possess, I am going to try this whole morning running again, this time with feeling. And to reference my previous blog post, I am going to try and act "as if" I am a morning runner. I don't run every day but I do something most days, and I am going to endeavor to get all workouts done before 8am in the next month and report back in July as to how it went and what I learned. I will call it the "5am Project" and David, my partner in running and life is going to do it with me (actually it was his idea). Misery loves company, right? Although, this is going to be great, not miserable. Absolutely great! Positive attitude. Check. Got it. #icandothis...? 

Wish us luck!