I have a confession. I am not a morning runner.
Every productivity and success article I’ve ever read says that to be successful you have to get your exercise done in the morning…to which I say, “Pshaw! Whatever.”
I’ve tried, trust me.
I am a morning person, most days I’m up by 5:30 and in a relatively good mood by 5:45 but for some reason that doesn’t translate to running. I would much rather have my quiet time in the morning on the couch with a cup of coffee than spend it sweating, panting and questioning why I choose to participate in this particular variety of torture.
I spend the hour leading up to most morning runs reminding myself that to be a runner I actually have to go running.
To which I respond, “Ugh. Really? Right now? Can’t it wait ’til later?”
Anytime I’m forced to run in the morning, the workouts are always hard. Just going for an “easy” run is a chore. Forget doing speedwork. Notgonnahappen.
In the evenings, however, it’s a different story. In the evenings my running clothes practically jump onto my body. I leave the house with a level of exuberance that can only be rivaled by a dog who finally escaped the confinement of her backyard – tail wagging, ears flopping, bounding down the street with her mouth open and tongue flapping in the breeze.
Yes, I just likened myself to a dog.
That’s how I feel during my evening runs. I’M FREE! Free from the stress of the day, free from the dirty dishes, free from the washed but not folded laundry, free from the never ending cries for Mom.
My evening runs are so ingrained in my body’s rhythm that on rest days or the days when I’m forced to exercise early due to scheduling conflicts I find myself unsettled, pacing and fidgeting almost uncontrollably from 4-6 PM. I can’t help myself.
I’ve tried to love the morning run but I can’t. I want to love it; it would be so convenient, so easy. I don’t love it, it doesn’t love me. At least we’re both in agreement.
For me, I get my best work done in the morning. If I need to concentrate on something like writing training plans, answering emails, blogging, or doing my volunteer job it needs to be done before lunch.
After lunch I have a hard time sitting still and focusing, so instead I do things like pick up the house, do schoolwork with my daughter, fold laundry, and prep dinner. By 4:00, I’m tired of being at home, and my the kids are tired of me so a trip to the gym is exactly what the doctor ordered. That’s my ideal workout time. My golden two hours of time to myself.
It wasn’t until I figured this out that I began exercising consistently.
Like anything else there are exceptions. I have no problem getting up early on Saturday mornings for a 5 AM trail date with my friends…mainly because they always end like this:
I mean, who doesn’t want an excuse to eat donuts and drink beer before 8 AM?
You too have your own body clock – your own perfect timing and unique schedule.
Maybe a 5 AM run wakes you up and energizes you, or you may be like me and find yourself getting fidgety around 4 PM. Maybe you need a mid-day break and your prime exercise time is lunch.
Once you find that golden hour (or two), don’t schedule anything else! Protect it. Reserve it especially as your exercise time. That is YOUR TIME to take care of YOU.
You’ll find that the more consistent you are with your timing, the easier exercising consistently will become. Your body will get used to the activity and crave it. Not only will your body adjust to the pattern, your family will as well and if you’re like me with little kids in tow getting everyone out of the house will be easier.
Everyone in my house knows what happens at 4 PM.
The kids don’t fight it, my husband doesn’t ask what time I’ll be home. It’s amazing. It’s freeing. It’s something I look forward to all day.
It is finally my time to be me. So I run, tongue flapping in the breeze…