Saturday, September 5, 2015
On becoming a morning person
I'd like to say triathlon changed all that, but it wouldn't be true. Even though most races start in the wee hours of the morning, I didn't really change my habits. I did my workouts after work on the way home and I would just push through that early morning "I don't want to be here" feeling on the days I had to get up early to race or attend a clinic.
This changed when I joined El Camino YMCA Triathlon Club.
All the workouts are in the morning. Not just the morning, but 5:30 am in the morning. Four workouts during the week started at 5:30 am and one started at the leisurely hour of 6:00 am. The Saturday workout seemed like a dream in comparison -- an 8:00 am start.
At first, it was difficult. Very, very difficult.
My first year, I was only doing one, then two, then three workouts during the week as I slowly came back to full-time training. But even with only three mornings a week getting up at 4:30 am and one getting up at 6:30 am, I slowly became a morning person.
I was going to bed by 10:00 pm most nights and having trouble "sleeping in" any time past 7:30 am. There was a one month period where I actually felt like a morning person!
It was a fragile moment though. Just missing one workout during the week or having two days in a row where I got up past 6:30 am and I would fall back into my night owl ways.
Okay, maybe it wasn't a full fall. My natural rhythms had switched enough that I was going to bed earlier and getting up earlier by an hour or two. But that really wasn't enough to make that 4:30 am alarm something that I could respond to without a lot of internal pep talk.
What really pushed me over the edge to being a morning person was when I resolved to swim an extra time a week. Getting up four times a week at 4:30 am was enough to keep me in the early bird category. I now can get up at 4:30 am without cursing and sometimes I even wake up just before the alarm goes off!
I am still not going to be as early as I should so I have to make up some of the sleep on the weekends. But every week, I go to bed earlier and earlier.
I think this is still a fragile state though. Right now I'm not swimming in the AM due to my muscle pull. We will see what that does to my ability to wake up at 4:30 am the other two days of the week.
I also have not been able to sleep through the night as I get older and this means I need to physically be in bed longer to get my necessary amount of sleep. At least I only need 7.5 hours of sleep and not the eight that is average.
But mentally I think of myself as a morning person and I think of sleeping in past 6:30 am as "being lazy." So that's a big change for me. And I think that thinking of myself as a morning person will make it easier to get back to my 4:30 am schedule once I'm cleared to swim again.
Here's to the early bird catching the worm!