Embrace Outside with Molly Hurford

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Daily Routines: Add a Run, Change the Day

October 30, 2014

Daily Routines: Add a Run, Change the Day

Sunrise. via Ryan McGuire of Bells Design
Sunrise. via Ryan McGuire of Bells Design

When you work at home, sticking to a productive routine can be incredibly hard. Of course, I realize how whiny that sounds. Poor me. (The flip side of the not really needing to be working 9 to 5 is that working at 5AM or 11PM is also on the table most of the time as well, and if a day isn’t productive enough, that makes for a long night.)

But I do love a good routine—or at least, some semblance of a routine. Since we travel a ton for racing, clinics and in search of great stories, morning routine doesn’t always mean waking up in the same spot, having the same cooking supplies on hand, or having coffee within easy reach. And more often than not, the rest of the day isn’t exactly a set routine either.

So we decided to try an experiment: waking up at a reasonable hour (between 6:30 and 7) and before doing anything else, heading out on a run. It’s easier than suiting up for a quick ride, and whether a run is 10 minutes or 30 minutes, it still gets you sweating and perks you up. It’s exhausting, and some days, it hurts.

That said, while I groan almost every time I wake up and contemplate staying under the warm comforter, every time I get out of bed, I know it’s good for me. (This morning, three weeks into creating the routine, I finally was up and getting dress without any prompting!)

It really has been. That 10-30 minutes has completely changed my mornings. For one thing, it’s a much better start than scrolling through emails and Twitter. I wake up a lot faster with cold air in my face and my heart rate up. Physically, while the cold air is occasionally a bit hard to handle, it does make me feel significantly perkier a lot faster than my roll-out-of-bed-and-grumble routine.

Because Peter is running with me, that makes me accountable not just to myself, but because if he can do it, I damn well can as well. And competitive streak aside, it’s nice to start the morning running together and chatting about plans for the day and weird dreams.

Above and beyond all of that: there’s something amazing about being the only people on the trails when it’s still dark, when just small shimmers of light are hitting the trail. We’ve seen gorgeous sunrises over the Georgian Bay, right by the house, and run under a clear sky still filled with stars. It’s quite, it’s serene, and it feels infinitely more badass than a short afternoon run.

Bonus: it also makes eating breakfast an even more fun activity, since you finish the run hungry. And because it’s fairly cool out, it’s not like we’re dripping with sweat and in need of an immediate shower, so it’s not that hard to get on with the day quickly. It’s only about 20 minutes out of the day, but it’s completely changed the way that I approach the rest of it, which is pretty darn cool.

Plus, with our whacky schedules and travel, there are some days when planned afternoon workouts will get cut. So having that short run in the morning ensures that, if nothing else, at least we snuck in some kind of training.

To sum up, adding in a 10-30 minute run first thing in the morning has:

  • Made me actually get out of bed
  • Made me feel awake much faster (cold air will do that to you!)
  • Gotten my heart rate and metabolism up
  • Made my morning work sessions more productive
  • Given Peter and I a chance to chat in the morning and a workout that we can actually do together
  • Gotten one workout checked off before the sun is even up
  • Given me the chance to watch the sun rise and appreciate the gorgeous view over the Georgian Bay

Do you guys have any morning routines that make the day start smoother?


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