5:00 AM: The alarm rings, I spring out of bed to silence the mechanical chirp and dash off to the other quadrant of the house, draped in darkness. In that room, my supplies are ready to go. With a quick fuel stop, satellite acquisition and deep breath, it’s go time.
What mission is this, you may ask? A top-secret military mobilization process? A complex battle plan enacted by highly trained soldiers? No, it is something much more coordinated: the allusive implementation of the solitary pre-dawn ritual of only truly dedicated individuals…
…or for those of us that speak regular English: the early morning run.
I, like many 9 to 5’ers (or more accurately, 8 to 5’ers) with crowded work schedules, find the time before heading into the office as ‘best’ time for getting in a training run. While it might be dark, cold and kind of lonely, there are definite advantages to running before the dawn breaks – including less traffic, cooler temperatures (in the summer) and that feeling of a runner’s high throughout the day.
That said there are also some negatives: the most obvious being the fact that it is DARK. So, this is my battle manifesto for conquering that o’dark hundred run:
· Crave your run – make it the reason you go to bed at a reasonable time.
· Eliminate the need to think – for the first 10 minutes that you’re awake – set out your clothes, shoes and gear so there’s no need to shuffle around in the dark (or better yet, sleep in your running clothes – I even pull on my compression socks the evening before if I want to wear them on my run).
· Light your path – literally and figuratively, with a headlamp or flashlight to see, and a mapped out plan (even if it is just in your head) of your running route.
· Do what you need – to make it a habit. Use this solitary time to think about decisions you need to make, or go the opposite way and run out your worries! I use my morning runs as a time to catch up on Podcasts, which I [safely] listen to through the speakers in my running vest! I know that missing a run will mean missing an episode, so it’s another way to keep myself accountable.
Once you’ve got your rhythm figured out, hitting the pavement before the world wakes up can (and will) become a part of your life, too! Really, it does get easier…but you’ll still impress your friends and coworkers with your early morning motivation J
QOTD: When do you run? How do you stay motivated?