Wait 10 Minutes before Deciding

May 4, 2017

In the wee hours of the morning, I quietly tip-toe down the stairs. The flashlight on my phone ensures I don’t tumble down the staircase before I make it out the door. I complete my warm-up exercises on the stretch of hardwood between my front door and back porch. It would be a comical sight for my neighbors if they were awake to see it. I wait for the headlights of the familiar black SUV to shine through my front windows, signaling my running partner is here. It’s time to run.

I rarely see the sunrise on my morning runs these days. It’s too early for that. I slog through the three to five short miles, pretending it’s easier for me to carry on a conversation with my running partner than it really is. I silently ignore the fact that my skin is still creeping over my waistband and bulging out of my sports bra in ways it never did before. Thank you spandex and pregnancy. I wonder in my head if I’ll ever be in tip-top shape to run a marathon again. Or even a half marathon. I bribe myself with a one-minute walk break if I can make it to the next mile.

When I finally find myself back at my driveway, sweat dripping from head to toe, I feel powerful. Perhaps a little defeated because what should feel easy actually feels so hard, but proud for choosing to get up and do it. To push through the adversity that comes from starting over.

But I don’t always choose this small, yet significant victory. Most of the time, I try to talk myself out of it somewhere between 5 and 5:30 a.m. That persuasive little voice is so intoxicating … Let’s just sleep for another hour. You can do it later. And sometimes I listen to her. But more often than not, I make running commitments with friends and schedule classes that can’t be cancelled without a fee to ensure I don’t back out.

I’ve never been a morning person, and I promise you this isn’t another article about how to become one. But, as a new mom, I’ve found that the small window of time between 5:15 and 7:15 a.m. is the only opportunity I have to exercise. These are the only hours in the day that are truly mine. Like everyone else who would prefer to sleep through them, I’ve found it takes just 10 minutes to change your mind. If I can begrudgingly hoist myself out of bed and get on my feet for 10 minutes (bathroom, toothbrush, running clothes), my eyelids stop trying to droop.

Just 10 minutes. That’s all it takes. Ten minutes can mean the difference between giving in or giving it your all. Feeling weak or feeling strong. Letting the day control you or conquering the day.

Before you decide to ditch your early morning run (that you’re planning because you have a much larger goal somewhere down the road), give yourself 10 minutes out of bed in your house. Then decide. If you want to go back to bed, fine. Try again tomorrow. But nine times out of 10, you’ll realize it’s not so bad. It’s easy to say “I’m not a morning person.” Instead, I like to ask myself this question: How important is running, achieving personal goals and being my best self? The answer I keep coming back to is that I can be a morning person when that’s on the line. It matters to me, so just give me 10 minutes please. Because 10 minutes after my workout is done, I feel on top of the world.

Do you do most of your workouts in the morning, afternoon or evening? Do you struggle with being an early riser? What makes waking up before the sun comes up easier for you?

Comments

Kristina Murphy
Reply

Love this. And yes, you will run stronger than ever before.

Amanda n
Reply

Love this! (Especially as I have been feeling unmotivated to workout in the AM solo) I often set two alarms 10 mins apart, but I can hit snooze or turn it off and go back to bed too easily. But I do find the days I sit there awake thinking about it and why I am doing it, I get out of bed. I have also become a morning workout mom, it’s much easier than after work or a kid filled day, and my husband runs too so someone has to take the AM 😉

Keep plugging away, all the fitness will come back and you’ll run a marathon again someday! It’s not easy to start again, but I feel like it makes you appreciate it so much more.

Allie
Reply

I love this so much and love your always honest posts. It’s HARD to get back to running after a pregnancy, never mind in the wee hours of the morning. I AM a morning person but it’s one thing to get up and have coffee and read some online news and blogs and quite another to wake up and run 5 miles. Congratulations on getting it done and showing us how. xoxo

rUnladylike
Reply

Thank you my friend. You are one inspiring mama and a great role model for me and other moms. xo

CK @ Cooking Up Kefi
Reply

I am also a huge fan of the 7.5 min rule– when I’m not feeling a workout, I give myself 7.5 minutes of it and then reassess. I read somewhere that it takes your body about that much time to warm up and tell you how it’s really feeling– so if after that time I’m still feeling run down, injured, irritated, whatever, I stop. In almost 10 years of doing this, I think I have only not felt better after those 7.5 minutes two or three times!

rUnladylike
Reply

I love this rule! So true! The first part of a workout is always the toughest until we’re warmed up, especially in the wee hours of the morning. Happy running! xo

Jess at Jess Runs ATL
Reply

I have a similar rule with myself of “just get up and got the bathroom”. I usually have to go pretty bad lol. Like you, I find that once I’m up and moving I’m fine. Proud of you for becoming an early morning runner 🙂

Mark
Reply

You are so right with the 10 minute rule. I am not really a morning person but when I started running it was the middle of summer & the only time I could run without feeling like I wouldn’t die from the 90-100 degree heat & humidity was early in the morning. It’s easier to layer than run in the heat for me. As long as I make an attempt to actually get out of bed I usually can get out the door (except maybe during the COLD sub zero winter mornings in which I give in if it is really windy). I always am glad after the run that I went out. Getting out & actually seeing the sun rise is so welcome after a LONG winter of running in the dark!!

It hasn’t gotten any easier over the years getting up early but I would rather run in the AM than wait to after work when I am a lot tireder

Sandra Laflamme
Reply

I used to be all about the early morning workouts when I was a rower. Now however I easily talk myself out of it. My body clock is set to have me as a night owl.

Tim
Reply

This is a great post! I have learned to become a morning person if I want to be a runner. By the time I get home from work, I have usually have ZERO desire to go out the door. Instead, I find solace in the morning hours. The chirp of the birds, the lack of cars on the road, the smell of the various grasses and flowers, it truly is the most peaceful time of the day to run in my opinion.

Kristen
Reply

I am far out of the newborn days — my twin boys are now 12. The one message I would give to you is to give yourself some grace early on. I ran quite a bit before I got too pregnant, did a little bit of running after I was cleared to exercise and going back to work at 12 weeks, then did very little running until the boys were about 1.5-2 years old. Between working full time, not getting much sleep, having so much extra work to do with baby chores, it was too much. More than anything, I wanted to spend the time the boys were awake with them. I don’t regret that time off at all BTW — I was still quite active during this time, taking the boys for tons of walks and going to parks etc, just no formal exercise. Once they were a bit older, I went back to my fitness routine, running PRs in the half marathon etc, and now 12 years out I am in great shape (though I am still at the gym every weekday in time for my 5:15 clas). Babies change so quickly in the early days, and it is such an amazing but tough time. Don’t miss more than you really have to.

rUnladylike
Reply

Hi Kristen! Thanks so much for sharing your experience! It is always great to hear from strong, amazing working mamas. I agree with you that it is so important to try not to miss a minute and soak it all in. My baby turned four months today and the time is going too fast!!! That’s one of the reasons I will only workout before my baby wakes up (or during a naptime on weekends) because I’m not willing to take time away when we’re together for my own running or exercise. So far, that seems to be working. Some days, I make it happen, and other days I don’t. I try to just do what I can, when I can and that is good enough 🙂 I’m also really fortunate that my baby has slept through the night since she was 8 weeks old (8 p.m. to 7:30 a.m.), so I know there are a lot of moms out there who have to get up a lot for a variety of different reasons. I wouldn’t be able to wake up so early if she was waking up a lot at night. Fingers crossed it will continue for a long time. LOL! I love hearing how strong you are at this stage as a mom. I’m sure your boys feel so lucky to have you as a role model. Thanks again for your advice and perspective. xo

christy
Reply

I was definitely wondering how many times your baby wakes up at night so so thanks for answering! You are SOOOOOO LUCKY so make sure you realize that and count your lucky stars. I haven’t slept from bedtime until morning since 2014. Crazy babies. I do afternoon stroller run / naps or after dark runs in the summer when it is super hot. I love running at 10 pm in the summer in the dark.

Leave a comment

name*

email* (not published)

website