I am not what you would call a “morning person”. I never have been. I hate the incessant howling of the alarm clock and that first cold blast when you pull the covers back. I think I may have personally set the record for most snooze alarms in a single morning. To which, my husband will grumpily attest.
So the very idea that in order to squeeze a workout into my schedule I would have to get up and do it in the morning before work was appalling. I always thought those people were crazy. Who wants to be healthy so badly that they would give up precious pillow time? Turns out, I do.
When I made the decision to give the morning workout thing a try I figured it would be simple. Just get up earlier, right? But is it really that easy? I would have to plan ahead, pack a bag to shower and dress at the Y, pick out my clothes the night before and adjust my morning routine. Does the coffee maker even work at 5:00am? I wasn’t sure. I had never tested it!
There were a lot of false starts along the way. So many times I would lay in the dark under my cozy covers thinking of reasons to stay right where I was. It was too cold or too rainy or I would just do it later in the day. What is that…a sore throat? Better not risk it. Slowly, though, I started to make it out of bed for a workout. Not everyday, but one or two. Certainly wasn’t what I planned, but it was a start. Each time I did it, it got a little easier.
The key for me turned out to be accountability. I found a great running partner who is willing to drag herself out of bed early too. I won’t lie, in the beginning I would lay in bed praying my phone would alert me to a text message saying she had to cancel and I could go back to sleep. But the text (almost) never came and so off I went. Having someone expecting me, counting on me, to show up motivated me to do what I needed to be doing anyway.
So what should you do if you want to join the morning crew at the Y?
• If you like to have a cup of coffee in the morning or need a small breakfast before you workout, don’t cheat yourself. Set the alarm 10 minutes earlier to give yourself the time you need. Really, is there any difference between 5 am and 4:50 am?
• Put all your workout stuff out the night before. You don’t want to be digging around in the dark for your favorite shorts. The frustration will likely send you diving back under the covers.
• Pack everything you need for the day, the night before. This includes clothes, lunch, computer bag, etc. I can almost guarantee at some point you will forget something and packing it the night before reduces the risk of accidentally forgetting your pants. (Sadly, I have done this.)
• Find a workout partner as crazy as you! It really is easier with a friend.
Ultimately, it isn’t about making time to workout, it is about prioritizing yourself and your overall well-being. It is important to carve out a little bit of time for you. It may mean changing your routine or asking your significant other to pick up the slack a few mornings a week. But it will be worth it!
Morning workouts have actually become a part of the day I love the most. I really look forward to watching the sun rise while I am out running. It is time just for me. Before the phone calls and the emails and the “where’s that thing I need” start. Make no mistake, there are still days when I “oversleep”. But most of the time I get up, quietly so as not to disturb my slumbering husband and make my way out the door, travel mug of coffee in hand. Turns out, the coffee maker works even at 5am.