Find what works for you

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I’ve never been one to sleep in. I was (still am, I guess) a huge mama’s boy growing up and seeing as my mom has always been an early riser, I was right up with her. I didn’t need an alarm or someone telling me to wake up. My alarm? The moment my body heard the first dishes clank-clank‘ing in the kitchen–she always had to clean the dishes and put pots and pans away while everyone else was sleeping—I was stirring and waking up. But I never minded and those times will always remain fond memories of mine.

So waking up early is now ingrained in me. I do set an alarm nowadays although I certainly don’t need to with our cat always ready to get that job done.

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It’s not that I don’t know how good it feels to sleep in, and once in a blue moon I will opt to do it. I just feel that I miss so much of the day when I miss the morning hours. The morning is when I feel the most awake and ready to tackle everything that needs to get done…especially running. In fact, during college, at Rutgers, I ran for a club track team for a little over a year and I received an end of season award for “Most Likely to Have Run Before Everyone Else is Awake.”And this was probably true. Even when I ran for the team, I would get some kind of morning run in and then run again when the team met around dinner time. I just couldn’t give up the morning run.

To me, there is nothing like running in the morning. The following pictures are from my quick session this morning.


Even if I only have 20 minutes to do something, I lace up and go out to the parking lot where we have a perfect short hill for some good workouts. And the car trunk stash makes a quick workout in the parking lot much less monotonous.


And a morning run just makes whatever you have for breakfast taste 10x better. Just as much deserved as if you were just waking up and eating…but it amplifies the taste in my opinion.

During the summer of 2012, I was training for my first triathlon (July) and then my first marathon (November) immediately after, and I was often waking up at 4 or 4:30 to get a morning training session in before I had to be at work at 7am. I would then do another training session after camp (this worked wonders when I was training for the 3 sports of a triathlon). A year later when I was training for my first ultramarathon, I was again occasionally waking up at 4am to get my 4-5 hour weekend runs completed so that I still had the whole day ahead of me. So by comparison, waking up at 5:15 or so isn’t difficult at all; plus, I feel so much better at work if I’ve gotten in some kind of run.

Sometimes there’s just no choice in the matter either and there are so many circumstances that impact when or if a person can do any kind of exercise: children; early jobs; not a morning person; etc. Val’s uncle doesn’t get home from work until 7pm at the earliest, and he has a family at home that he doesn’t want to leave to go exercise for a couple of hours. His solution: wake up by 4am to exercise. It works for him, so why alter the system?

That’s the key here. You need to find what works for you. Waking up early and going for a run works very well for me. I probably couldn’t sleep in anyway, even if I wasn’t running. A neighbor of mine started to get back into running and that involves him waking up during the weekday around 4:30am to get in a few miles before he has to get ready for work. I’m sure it’s not fun waking up while the sun is still down, but he feels great having exercised and can spend the evening home, playing with his two year old.

There’s rarely no time to work out. In the June 2015 issue of Vegan Health & Fitness, Robert Cheeke echoes this sentiment: “…The good news is that it lies in your hands. At the end of the day, you live with the consequences of the decisions you make and actions you do or do not take.”

So what works for you? Is it avoiding the snooze button at 6am so that you can get in your workout the only time that is actually possible? Is it using your lunch break to go for a quick run or jog or maybe you have most of your availability in the evenings and don’t mind exercising at those times. Trial and error may help you if you are going to begin finding the answer to that question, but you should be able to eventually find a plan that works. If you already have a plan or some advice for others, I’d love it if you shared your experience(s) and suggestions in the comments!




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