To ease my transition into marathon training, I’ve been trying to keep a more consistent schedule the past few days so that my body remembers what it is like to be in training mode. This has actually been surprisingly demanding (and draining) because I have slowly, and therefore unnoticeably, slipped into some habits over the past two months that are less than ideal for marathon training. The most difficult habits to correct at this point are my sleeping patterns.
I’m a morning runner. In fact, I am a morning person. I have so much morning-ness that I can cause other morning people to grumble with annoyance and crawl back into bed. My mornings are incredibly productive because this is the only uninterrupted span of time I have to myself in the day. It is not unusual for me to get in a run, work on a paper (back when I was in school), and maybe even make a batch of cookies by the time other people are just waking up to their alarms. It IS unusual in the extreme for me to sleep past 6:30. If I am still in bed at 7am, I’m probably deathly ill. However, the combination of vacation (including heinous travel schedules and an unexpectedly long recovery from the delirium of jet lag), irregular shift work, and more than a few late social nights have contributed to a wildly inconsistent schedule over the past few weeks, which has entirely thrown off my internal alarm clock. Recently, waking up before 7am has not been a natural occurrence and instead almost feels like a chore.
I figured this would be a good (and important) place to start getting back into my regular running routine. Regardless of my plans (or lack thereof) for the day, I decided I would wake up at the time I typically would for a mid-week run. Mid-week runs usually start by 6, sometimes earlier depending on the mileage and what else I need to accomplish in the morning. That meant my alarm went off around 5:30 every day. The morning person in me would like to say that this was easy and effortless, but it wasn’t. (The morning person in me is still too confused as to why I am not operating on a regular schedule to make much effort at being part of my life). It involved a lot of trying not to let my eyelids close while I thought to myself “gotta run, gotta run, gotta run.” One day I let my eyelids close a bit too long and when they opened again it was almost 6. Oops.
On the flip side, early mornings also mean early evenings. I have no problem with early evenings. Actually, I quite enjoy them. One thing that is a bit tricky about early evenings during the summer is that sometimes I go to bed before the sky is fully dark. Some people might insinuate that such a schedule puts me on par with people of elderly stature, but again, I have no problem with that. Sleep is sleep, and all sleep is glorious.
Exhaustion and yawning aside, I have managed to consistently get out of bed when my alarm goes off. Except for that one day. As a result of this effort, I woke up naturally at 5:30 this morning (I had my alarm set for 5:45 because Sundays operate on a slightly later schedule). My morning persona is returning, and just in time. Training officially starts next week!