Tuesday, April 3, 2012

April Resolutions

Up until about two years ago, I taught high school math full time. Because of the nature of the school, it was not unusual for me to work upwards of sixty hours a week. In addition to a ten-hour day on campus, I usually took another hour or two of work home with me and averaged another two to four hours on the weekends as well. Add to all of this a sixty-mile round trip commute every day, and you can see how getting any running done at all could be a real challenge. Even if I did technically have the time on a given day, I usually didn't have many options, and if my precious hour or two of free time arrived and I felt exhausted or cross or lazy or whatever, tough titty. It was go then or not at all.

Since leaving that job two years ago, I've stuck with public education stuff, but mostly do part-time contract work for local school districts and teacher training programs. I usually have a few scheduled meetings or observations each week where I have to be somewhere at a specific time, but a lot of my work is flexible stuff that I can do at home on my own schedule.

Obviously, there are lots of advantages to this. Instead of getting up at six a.m. every morning and stumbling around in the dark like a zombie, I can get up whenever Don gets up for work (usually a MUCH more reasonable hour) and have breakfast with him. I can have lunch whenever I want, and if I'm feeling like something specific, I can go get it. I can have two smaller lunches instead of one big one if I feel like it. I can run errands during the day when places are less busy and traffic is not so bad. And most importantly, I can run whenever it suits me.

It's unlikely that I'll be in this position indefinitely, so I really do try to appreciate all of these things and remind myself often to be grateful for them. (Usually it's pretty easy -- all I have to do is think back to my previous job.) But, if I can be very honest with you for a moment, this can sometimes be one of those too-much-of-a-good-thing situations when it comes to running.

Most of the time if I don't have anywhere to be, I'll spend the morning sipping tea & working in the kitchen or living room at my laptop, have some lunch at some point, do a little more work or run some errands, then get my run in sometime in the afternoon. But sometimes I get lazy and procrastinate -- "I'll go run just as soon as I finish this thing." "I really should go do this errand before I get all sweaty. THEN I'll go running." Or whatever. But some days, what ends up happening is that I procrastinate, and then I get slammed by a bunch of work, or I'll remember something I really needed to get done before dinner or karate time. And then suddenly my running / strength training time is gone. This is probably the most common explanation for my skipped runs.

I really don't want to do this anymore. Yes, those tranquil morning sipping tea and leisurely working away at my laptop are nice, but I HATE running out of time for a run in the afternoon and knowing I could've gotten it done earlier. I also hate having it hanging over my head. On the rare occasions when I do go in the mornings for whatever reason, I feel so much better.

So, for April, my resolution is to run first thing in the morning every week day. Well, actually not FIRST thing in the morning, but within an hour of breakfast. So like second or third thing I guess. To be honest I am not excited about this, but I really do think it will help me do a better job of getting all the miles in and thusly make me happier in the long term. I also want to go back to doing my ab exercises every day. (On this front, I've just gotten lazy.) I think the hip/glute/hamstring stuff is fine 2-3 days a week, but the ab stuff is so quick and easy (maybe 10 minutes total) that there's really no excuse not to just do it.

So....I'm going to try. Part of the reason I even have a blog is to hold myself accountable for things I've committed to (making a commitment in my head = basically not committing to anything), so hopefully including this stuff on my training journal will do some good. And if you have any tips for making yourself run in the morning and just get it done, I'd love to hear them!

Alright -- it's been about 40 minutes since I finished breakfast, so if you'll excuse me....


  1. I am in between office gigs right now and doing freelance stuff from home. I'm also appreciating the freedom to go running whenever I please, but you are right, it still takes dedication to not procrastinate and get it done!

  2. When I was toward the tail end of grad school and doing most of my work from home, and later when I was unemployed/looking for work, I was in the same position you're in now — I had all day to space my work and errands and exercise out, and yet somehow the evening would roll around and I still wouldn't have run! By the time I started my job, I was practically back on a 9-5 schedule already because I found that was the only way I could guarantee I'd do things. (It also helped that my pool was less busy at 7:30 a.m. than it was at 10 a.m., so I was already exercising early on my swim days. Yeah, I know, whose gym is busier at 10 a.m. than 7:30? Ugh.)

    I don't have much in the way of tips other than just getting used to the schedule over time. I have found that it helps to have my clothes picked/laid out in advance; even though sometimes I end up changing my mind because of weather, I'll carry whatever I set out the night before into the bathroom with me right after I get out of bed and then BOOM! the next thing you know I'm wearing running shorts and I guess I might as well go running. I don't know if you drink coffee, but (back when my coffee maker could reliably make coffee...but I digress) I like to set the timer on the coffee maker so I know there will be coffee brewing when I get home and done by the time I'm out of the shower.

    1. Yes! My strategy so far has been to put my running clothes on first thing when I get up, even before breakfast, so that I'm one step closer to being able to get right up and go.

  3. I like running first thing in the morning and wished that I could more often. It gets my day off to a good start. :-)