Friday, December 11, 2009

The hardest thing about running can be getting out of bed to do it

Every time I race I post my race number on a wall in my office. I like the way they look and it's a constant reminder of the need and benefit of balancing work and non-work activities. People often ask me about my running when they see this display. Recently, when I told a person that I run at 4:00 in the morning they said I'm fortunate that I find that an easy thing to do. I didn't correct them (how can you explain voluntary suffering to a non-runner?) but it made me think about what I do to maintain a consistent schedule of running and fitness.

Every morning, when I wake up, I know I'll need to talk myself into my daily activity. It starts with guilt. I know that if I give into the desire to rest I'll regret that decision for the rest of the day. My wife said a similar thing to me about it in terms of her motivation. It's a slippery slope and inconsistency only makes it harder. When I went out this morning for my run I knew that I'd be facing more than sleepiness once the first slap of chilly air hit my face. The starting point was 23 degrees and the wind probably pushed it down to the low teens. I knew I had a couple of miles ahead of me so I started thinking about things that would help me finish so I could return to my warm house and watch the news at 4:30 AM with a hot cup of coffee in hand. I was once told by a trainer that my walking stride is very efficient, it's almost as if I'm walking downhill when I'm not. As I ran this morning I imagined that I was running downhill the entire time. This worked for me and I felt as though I could push harder and that helped generate some heat which made me more comfortable.

By the time I finished I'd covered about 2.25 miles and while I'd warmed up some over that 20 minutes I was still very cold when I reached my house. I don't spring out of bed every day in anticipation of my running experience. There's a figurative wall to climb to get out the door. Sometimes that wall is so high it seems impossible to breach. Most of the time I figure it out even if I have to trick myself into doing it. But I know that the only way my collection of race numbers will grow is to do what I do every morning.


  1. Well said.

    I'm a late night workout person but do mornings only when I know I can't do the night time (or have 2 a days schedule for tri training). I keep my numbers but maybe I should post the latest too.

  2. You should post them! I love looking at all my race numbers. They are a constant reminder of great experiences.

  3. Great Article! I don't have any race numbers to post......yet. But, I too, know that if I miss a run that I was very well capable of doing, I feel like poop all day. Regrets. What motivates me, then, is fast forwarding how I would feel later that day. Then, no prob. Keep up the postings. Have a good one.

  4. Thanks for your comment. In many ways running is the easy part. As long as we can look past the work and see the later benefit we're on the right track. Have a good weekend.


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