The Fitbloggin 5K will be kicking off off bright and early at 7 a.m. Sunday, September 23! Are you a morning exerciser? Or does the thought of pre-breakfast exertion make you want to throw your alarm clock at the wall? Former night-owl Julia from Up & Running shares how and why she learned to get up with the birds.
This summer I made the slow but purposeful switch from being an afternoon exerciser to a morning one. I did this for three reasons: to avoid the scorching Italian heat, to free up more family time, and to get exercise out of the way first thing. I was tired of canceling a run or bike ride due to work or simply from not executing my own training plans.
Becoming a morning exerciser was (and sometimes still is) one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. My internal clock was registered for late-night movies and midnight reading and that had to change if I wanted to get out of bed at daybreak. It took about 10 days to turn things around, the point when I started to actually get sleepy in the early evening.
The most difficult few seconds of my day is the moment between the alarm clock ringing and my feet hitting the floor. The quicker I do that (10 seconds max), the easier it is to wake up. If I hit the snooze button even once it’s all over. I just doze back into sweet sleep.
Those first few weeks were hard because it took so long for it to start feeling good. Yes, I was out running at dawn but my head was so foggy that I started to doubt that I could pull of the whole operation. But within a few weeks I was getting up for my morning coffee (a huge incentive in getting my butt out of bed) with a slight smirk on my face.
The definitive switch to becoming a morning runner came from something I never expected. By moving myself in the morning hours I was able to set my mood for the day. With a little practice I was able to make that mood happy, relaxed, awesome. My previous afternoon runs had been about letting off steam and meditating over problems or finding solutions. My head was already so full of thoughts from the day’s action that running was stress management.
Running at 6 a.m. instead means I start the day with a clean mental slate. Nothing’s happened yet so I can decide where to put my attention for those running moments. It usually goes to the beautiful rays of morning light and how I want my day to play out. Happy, relaxed and awesome.
Julia Jones lives in Italy and alongside Shauna “Dietgirl” Reid created Up & Running online running courses (@runningonline). They offer e-courses for super-new and seasoned runners tackling 5K, 10K and half-marathon runs with expert coaching, awesome training plans and vibrant community support. Visit them at www.upandrunningonline.org.