Alarm Call Grit

9 Nov

Q: I am training for a 10k and can get myself out of the door no problem on the weekends, but during the week the only time I have to run is before work. I have been setting my alarm for 5.30am each day only to turn it off and go back to sleep. Any tips on how to summon up the extra grit to get myself out of bed? It is dark and raining most days now and it all feels too much like hard work.
A: Keeping fit and healthy through a committed exercise routine is always hard work. It is hard in the Summer when we would rather be doing anything else – like drinking rose in the sun – and hard in the Winter when the hours of daylight fade away and all we want to do is curl up on the sofa or under our duvets and hibernate until Spring. Accepting that it is hard is the first obstacle to get over. How? By simply sucking it up. Life is hard. Hard is the new black remember? You have made a commitment to entering this 10k race and you need to train yourself up to be race-ready. Thank your lucky stars that your job doesn’t require you to set your alarm for 4am. Others have to to squeeze in their runs – think Michelle Obama – and start channelling some of her inner grit.
I do have some sympathy, as I remember having to wake at 5.30am during the Winter months when training for a marathon many years ago and it is tough. But once I got into the habit of it, using the duvet decoys listed below, it just became part of my routine. I started to get so much out of running before work, that the benefits far outweighed the grit required to haul myself out of bed at such an ungodly hour. So the first thing to do is to accept that you are never going to hear your alarm and “feel” like jumping out of bed and going for a run! But run you must so try implementing these:

GD duvet decoys:

1. Set your mobile phone alarm ring tone to the most gritty in-your-face sort of wake up call rather than a gentle progressive one. SHOCK YOURSELF INTO ACTION.
2. Leave said alarm out of reach of the bed so you have to get out of bed to turn it off quickly or risk waking everybody else in your street. Getting out of your bed is nine-tenths of the battle.
3. Have your running kit, bra, knickers, socks – the whole shebang – laid out ready the night before so you can slip into all your clothes without so much as a seconds’ thought.
4. Head straight out of the door via the sink for a glass or two of water.

I found that I was still half asleep during this process which worked well for me as before I could question the insanity of getting up so early, the run had begun. Nothing compares to running through the break of dawn, you will feel so proud of yourself all day and you will feel unbelievably good when you arrive at work. Running during these colder months will also help to keep colds flu and general winter malaise at bay, and those endorphins will help cheer you up when you are most in need of a laugh. Plus, regular Winter running will have you looking incredible for your Christmas office party in your LBD. Think of all those Christmas treats: the mince pies and mulled wine that you can enjoy without fear of the damage they can do to your waistline! And, you will start 2016 incredibly focussed and in great shape. This is why people do it. Not for the love of the sport. And certainly not for the love of waking up at the crack of dawn. We do it for everything else it buys for our lives.
The Grit Doctor says:
Breakfast has never tasted so good.

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6 Responses to “Alarm Call Grit”

  1. Rachel Allen November 9, 2015 at 2:33 pm #

    Another tip from a friend of mine is to sleep in your gym kit, you don’t even have to get drssed, you just have to put your shoes and coat on!
    Another tip from me is get to bed on time. This is so important as fdragging yourslef out of bed when you’ve only had 6 hours is agony, after 8 it is much easier. And grit is easier to dredge up in the evening (well it is for me!)

    • gritdoctor November 17, 2015 at 9:40 pm #

      love the idea of sleeping in your gym kit! that is commitment. and you are absolutely right about going to bed early too…Ruth

  2. Trish Rees-Boughton November 9, 2015 at 7:57 pm #

    Please go for that early morning run…….please please please. This time last year I was not a runner. Not even a mile was in me without hyperventilating. Then my sister in law gave me Run fat bitch Run……. And two weeks ago I completed the Dublin marathon and the sense of achievement is huge!! Do get up on those early mornings…. It will be so worth it. It sets you up for the day……. It gives you that glowing feeling from the moment you finish the run, it gives you the ability to drop into conversation how much running you’ve done before the day has properly started…..and yes to looking good for all the Christmas festivities. Go girl…….RUN!!

  3. Mai January 13, 2016 at 11:12 am #

    Sleeping in your gym stuff is the best running hack Ive ever heard!!! Brilliant!!!

  4. camille woolcock February 26, 2016 at 9:34 pm #

    Ruth, I live in Brisbane, Australia and have only a short time available to run when I can access respite care (three kids, one highly disabled). I enjoy and NEED the mood enhancing benefits of running but cannot get in enough kms to improve my endurance due to having such short opportunities twice weekly to run. I am doing a teenage sport run on those days too so the time is cut in half. Also, I am currently suffering from hip bursitis which has stopped me running altogether. Do you have any tips on both issues?

    • gritdoctor March 30, 2016 at 9:42 am #

      Im sure I did a blog post on exactly this issue. will dig it out and repost here

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