If you work out in the morning, then you understand how important routine is to, simply put, getting it done. I mean, let’s be honest. An alarm clock blaring from across the room doesn’t exactly entice us to get out of bed at the crack of dawn, nor does a pitch black room or the warm blankets we know we’re bound to leave behind.
What does inspire us to open our eyes, ignore the “snooze” button and saunter into the bathroom? It’s the feeling we get from breaking a sweat before the sun has said hello. It’s our ability to start each new day with a bang. It’s the chance to greet the day with energy and positivity.
Few things can replace this sensation, and missing out on that irreplaceable sense of ahh (also known as sweet, sweet endorphins) can be as disastrous as forgetting to brush our teeth or put on pants. If given the choice, I might actually bid adieu to the latter before giving up my precious morning run.
But what happens when it’s not the run, but the routine that changes? How does that affect our morning workout — and the rest of the day at that?
(Back-up Toms. If you’re getting married, put these on your must-have list.)
Then, my now-husband and I searched for an apartment in Philadelphia and signed some lease papers with lots of legal talk on them. Now, I’m about six weeks out from the big NYC to Philly move, working from home, and by no means setting my alarm for the ripe hour of 6:30 AM — a time I’d truly come to love.
Take away my run, and my day will unquestionably be all out of wack. But take away my day, and heck, now my run is all screwy.
For the last week, the first thing I’ve wanted to do upon opening my eyes in the morning is run. Like a Pavlovian dog, it’s what I’ve trained myself to desire. Eyes open. Shorts on. Central Park bound. In a lot of ways, this routine is part of who I am.
For the last week though, I’ve been on no real schedule — at least, not one that requires an early alarm. Not only have I been waking up a full hour or two later, but by the time I get up and recognize that same craving for pavement, I’ve already convinced myself that hey, there’s no rush. Like any weekend morning, I can sit, have my Raisin Bran in peace, drink my coffee, watch the Today Show and shoot off some emails. Eventually, I can lace up and head out. Eventually.
On Wednesday, by the time I actually put on my Reeboks, it was 3:30 in the afternoon — an entire day had gone by before I was able to convince myself to run. Then, by the time I found myself on the East River path, I also found myself with a massive stomachache. Apparently, my body isn’t used to running midday. I was in pain the entire time.
(Why so quiet? What, do people work or something?)
Today was slightly more productive. Today, I told myself it was time to get off the couch and out of pajamas by 11. Today was the day I wouldn’t sit with my feet up on the coffee table until 3 in the afternoon. I succeeded too, exploring Central Park around noon. All of the faces I saw were unfamiliar, and the traffic patterns I’d grown so accustomed to were totally different too. It was strange, and it still felt somehow off.
But it’s progress.
I suppose that, as with running before work, midday runs take some getting used to as well. Knowing me though, just as I’m getting used to this laid back routine, I’ll be thrust into a new life with a new job that requires a new alarm to be set. And when that happens, I’ll have to re-train myself to love the early run once again.
So, tell me. Are you loyal to your fitness routine, or do you change up the times at which you exercise during the day?