New Year, New Routine

I didn’t make any New Year’s Resolutions this year. I made eight last year, which ended up being a bit of a mixed bag. (You can read my ambitious resolution list for 2014 HERE.) I did nail the reading one, reading a total of 31 books last year, but most of the others ended up being things I tried at some point but didn’t stick. I also suspect my habit of list making, while useful, can increase my anxiety about living up to some “perfect” ideal. So this year, no list, just a general intent to improve myself where possible.

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Last Sunday night the thought popped into my head that it would be nice to workout in the morning before work so I could be home right after work. (Working out in the morning was one of my 2014 resolutions but we won’t call it that here.) Doing this requires some prep work; I packed my lunch, set out my workout clothes, and packed my work clothes Sunday night. I set my alarm for 6am and went to bed early.

Monday
Getting up at 6am only allowed enough time to get dressed, grab my stuff, and go. When I got to the gym around 6:15am I was pleased/shocked to discover it was not crowded. I was expecting a ton of New Year’s Resolution people as I’d seen in years past. But apparently they stick to evening workouts. I went directly to the weight machines to work on my strength (hey, another resolution from 2014!). I did a random assortment of machines but made sure to do the ones that target glutes, as I’ve read weak glutes can lead to knee problems in runners. I don’t have pain in my left knee now but it does pop occasionally so I think getting stronger is a wise move.

After weights I hit the treadmill and started running slowly. Almost immediately my body said “oh hell no” and I decided to walk instead. I wasn’t having pain in any spots; my body was just rejecting running because it seemed too hard. This happens sometimes. I’m chalking it up to terrible/wonderful eating over the holidays (chocolate, I love you) and my body being in shock over being asked to run before 7am.

Tuesday
I didn’t let Monday’s poor attempt at running deter me! Instead, I got up even earlier on Tuesday and used 5:30am-6am to eat some oatmeal and drink a cup of coffee and wake my body up before I asked it to do hard things. I call this time of the day Quiet Morning Time and I love it. It’s so calming to be up before the rest of the world is and I realized I can’t cut this part of the day out even if I workout early. So a 5:30am wake up it is.

At 6am I went to the gym and briefly used the weight machines then hit the treadmill. I felt much more awake and prepared to run. I think eating well on Monday and being back in my normal routine of hydrating throughout the day at my desk really helped. I kept my pace slow to ensure I could run the whole time, and did.

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I went upstairs, thoroughly stretched myself out, then planked for about a minute and a half. I used to shy away from planks, thinking if I only did them for a short period of time why even bother? But short is effective. Planks hurt.

Wednesday
Since I ran Tuesday, Wednesday had to be some other type of cardio. In my last half marathon training cycle I was awesome at resting between runs but instead of cross training I just rested. I suspect this led to muscle imbalances which led to me having random knee problems when I never have before. So I’m recommitting to cross training this time around. I did some weights, but only the leg machines. (It occurred to me I should target different muscle groups on different days to allow for rest.) Then I went upstairs and hit the stationary bike for half an hour while watching Weeds, a wonderful show I just discovered on Netflix and have been watching daily. Sorry books, I’ll get back to you later. (Good thing you’re not a 2015 resolution!)

Biking doesn’t get me out of breath but I was super sweaty which was satisfying. I planked for two minutes then hit the showers. The hair dryer at the gym is broken so I did the best I could with my towel then headed outside to single digit weather where my hair promptly froze.

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I know my family will take issue with me going outside with wet hair (hi Mom, Aline, and Tracy!) but I love how it freezes. Science!

Thursday
Back to running. I propped my iPad up so I could read my book, but I soon noticed there were more interesting things to look at.

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What’s happening here? Hard to say. You go, old man randomly waving his arms in the air while walking. Sorry for the picture quality–I’m running on a treadmill while taking pictures with my giant iPad. Someone is probably behind me taking pictures of how ridiculous I look.

This run was a little more challenging than Tuesday’s run; I ended up walking about .4 miles of it, but miles are miles and I’ll take it.

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No weights or planking Thursday as I was running short on time and didn’t want to risk being late for work.

Friday
I got up at 5:30am on Friday too! I almost talked myself out of it, as working out four times a week is more than I’ve done in a while, but I decided keeping the same daily routine is a better way to stick with it. I want my body to be used to this.

I decided to swim. My form is not great while swimming but I’m working on it. Even without a consistent swim pattern, I stay moving and the gentle motion feels good on my body; it’s exercise that feels like stretching. I figure it’s a good way to reset my body after a week of hard workouts on the ground. I swam for 30 minutes then stretched a little while sitting in the hot tub. It was lovely.

Early review of working out early–I love it. I love having the most important part of my day done early. I love coming to work feeling awake rather than just rolling out of bed. I love being on time to work. Somehow I am getting to work at 8am or earlier; last year I consistently rolled in at 8:15am or 8:30am. But most importantly, I love the boost in my mood. My work is pretty busy and stressful right now but all week I have handled everything with a smile and a positive attitude and was 100% sincere about it. For me exercise is like a drug and taking that drug first thing, every day before work, sets me up for a great rest of the day. Plus, this morning I woke up at 6:30am on my own. Today’s a rest day but the early wake up allows for plenty of Quiet Morning Time. Bring on the coffee!

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4 responses to “New Year, New Routine

  1. Definitely a week to feel good about! I love Quiet Morning Time too. I also love that you chose swimming for relaxation and stretching. All in all, a great blog!

  2. I love having my running done in the morning too. I feel like I’ve accomplished so much!

    • Right! And it’s so early it almost feels like the running happened on another day. I keep thinking I need to go to the gym after work but I’ve already been there. 🙂

  3. I love your approach to your goals this year! I too can overdo the list/perfectionism thing and end up getting paralyzed by it. I’m sure you’ll have plenty of accomplishments this year regardless of resolutions or not!

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