I am a well documented “night owl”, but for nearly 6 months of the year, I force myself to rise before sunrise on the weekends to get my training walks started. When you live in Texas and have to walk many, many miles to prepare for 60 miles in September, you get up very early to start walking! Sometimes there are more benefits to getting the miles started before sunrise… the sunrise on a beautiful Saturday morning! It’s not very often that the skyline is open enough in the suburbs to actually get to see it, but the other morning was perfection!
Another nice benefit of getting up and out for a walk/run/exercise session before sunrise is that you can get done with your session before most people are even out of bed! I walked 10.5 miles before most people even thought about being out of the house on a Saturday morning! If you are are early morning exerciser, you are likely to be alone with your thoughts and routines.
If you are up for your workout early, that means it’s done early and you will have plenty of time for other things during the day! Last weekend I was back home in time to take my son to a karate class, go to a pool party, and still had time in the evening to spend with the family! These are just some of the benefits of rising early and getting that workout done.
BUT… (you knew there was going to be a but, right?) getting up before the sunrise is TOUGH for people like me. Forcing myself to go to bed early enough to get even a decent amount of sleep is a huge challenge for me on the weekends. My natural tendency is to go to bed about midnight and get up about 8:00 a.m. Fortunately I have a flexible schedule so usually this isn’t a huge problem. When I must get up early (like 3:45 a.m!) to go walk before the sun rises, I have to force myself to go to bed early. And by early, I mean 10 p.m. My son doesn’t go to bed until after 9:00 p.m. so that makes it a bit harder. It’s tough because it takes me a while to wind down in the evening after a busy day. You moms will understand –the only time I have to myself all day long is after everyone goes to bed and it’s hard to give that up sometimes!
I am learning that it is more important to have the right amount of sleep than to have down time on the weekends. I’m trying to force myself into this line of thinking during the week as well! I must also train during the week, which forces me to get up early during the week, but definitely not as early as during the weekends! I really need to do better with going to bed on a consistent schedule so that I can get enough sleep.
I am finding that I am far more productive during the day when I get up and exercise early. I don’t sit around on the computer as much because I have more energy and adrenaline to help me keep focused and moving during all day. According to this article in Women’s Health Magazine, early risers are less likely to “blow off a workout” because they do it first thing in the morning. They are more cheerful, more proactive in accomplishing goals, they eat healthier, and they suffer from less depression.
Early risers also enjoy their quiet time before everyone else gets up and starts making demands on them.
I’m determined to make 2015 the best year of my life and I am going to continue working to make myself consistently awaken earlier. The key is to continue going to bed earlier!
Are you an early riser? Or a night owl that sleeps late? I’m open to any and all tips!