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