I have been wanting to wake up and run early in the morning. Running early means I can certainly be free from all distractions like phone calls, messages and free up the rest of my day for other things. After running, it can likewise make me more energized for the day, making the stressful day ahead of me more manageable.
However, the real struggle for me is really to be able to wake up early in the morning. When my alarm started to buzz at 5:30am, my reaction is to snooze and sleep a while longer. Especially on a cold morning, the thought of having to leave the warmth of my bed and getting into a workout is a dread. My mind tells me that perhaps it is perfectly fine for me to run later in the day. Maybe with some extra sleep, I can be well rested and be able to train harder.
I realize to be successful in running early in the morning, it requires the discipline of waking up immediately after the alarm rings. If I allow my mind to have the choice to waking up or not, most probably, I will not be able to wake up. By having the choice of waking up or not may also drain away my day’s precious mental power reserves. (you can read my article on mental energy )
In this situation, I think having no choice is the best choice.
Saying is easy here. In real life, sometimes we do have late nights. Sometimes, I do stay up late to finish a presentation, prepare for next day meetings, having late outings with friends etc. So, it makes waking up early the next day more difficult.
Most of the time, I tend to stay up late because I wanted to complete all the work that I had for the day. I may intend to sleep at 10:30pm. But in order to finish all the work, I unintentionally extend my sleeping time. By the time I finished my work, it could be already 12:30am. Then to wake up at 5:30am the next day could really pose a challenge.
What usually happen the next day is that I will wake up later, start my day later, and end up extending my sleeping time again. This goes into a vicious cycle.
Our body do need enough rest to train well
Our body need enough rest in order to recover, repair and rejuvenate itself. If I do not get enough rest, I may be more prone to sports injury too. A lack of sleep can weaken the immune system, thus making us more likely to fall sick. This will mean missing workouts. Therefore, having enough rest is extremely important to train well.
I believe that getting enough sleep together with regular runs is going to make me a happier and a healthier person. Ultimately, sleep and exercise are equally important. A good night sleep is important for a good workout. Similarly, a good workout can help me get a good night sleep. Therefore, having a balance is the key here.
So, what’s the plan
I believe in order to wake up early, I must sleep early! Therefore, to be successful, I must set a target to sleep by a certain timing. Even if there are things to be completed, I will have to leave it to the next day. By having an end time in mind, subconsciously, I can be more effective in getting the things done by the set sleeping time. So, by the next morning when the alarm clock rings, I can wake up immediately and break the vicious cycle of late nights/ late mornings.
What if I really don’t have time for a workout?
Of course, there are days where I am really “time-starved”. The day could be filled with activities from early morning till late night. I may not be able to find a decent one hour to do my runs. In those days, I can will try to find ways to “sneak” in some exercise. For example, using the stairs instead of the lift, park my car further from my office so I can walk more.
We can break down out the workouts into small chunks of activity, throughout the different time of the day. These little workouts can eventually add up to quite a decent amount of exercise by the end of the day.
It is never easy for me to juggle between work, family and life. Thus, I really must treasure my time and be creative in using it. I am sure all of us can all achieve a good balance if we really put our mind to it.