Iím a morning person by nature. Monday to Friday the alarm clock goes off at 5:30 a.m. and on weekends Iím usually up by 7 a.m.. Yes, having a two-and-a-half-year-old son has something to do with this, but in reality itís how Iíve been living my life for quite a while. For me morning is a time to be savored, not slept through, and what better way to savor it than with a run.
Finding the time to run and train can often be a challenge, but there is just something about getting up and running first thing in the morning that makes it easier and more enjoyable versus running at other points during the day. Now every runner has their own routine and set of rituals, but for me a ďrise and runĒ approach, is a big reason why Iím still running today and why Iíll be lining up at the starting on in Hopkinton on Monday, April 18th.
Morning is ďMy timeĒ
By running first thing in the morning, I am doing so before being hit with all the other facets of my lifeÖwork, kids, etc. When I wake-up to go on my run, in my house everyone else is still asleep. Iím then able go out for my run and by the time I get back, most of my other family members are just starting to wake up. Therefore, Iím not trying to plan my run around the schedules of others; instead Iím just dealing with myself and the challenge of getting out of bed at 5:30 a.m.
Morning is ďObligation freeĒ
What I mean here is that when you rise and run, you unshackle yourself from the obligation of running later in the day. Now, as much as I love running, when I do run later in the day, much of my other daily activities, particularly what I eat and drink, are done with the consideration of my forthcoming run. For example, if my intent is to go for a run around 5 p.m. this obligation will be on my mind much of the day, so Iíll modify certain activities based on this fact. Now this may sound obsessive to some, but simply stated if youíre going for an afternoon run you know it requires and youíll need to modify your behavior and activity accordingly. Now for some this may not be a problem, but for many this means making sacrifices.
However, probably the biggest challenge for me is that when I donít rise and run, running later in the day simply becomes an obligation. Once Iím running Iím thrilled to be out there, but for much of the day Iím thinking about the fact that I still need to get my run in. The challenge here is that you essentially need to organize your day around getting your run in and plan accordingly. This means competing with all of life's other distractions and trying to make sure that they donít cause you to stray from your obligation to run. Now, I know what my life is like and as much as I would like to say each day starts and finishes like I had planned, in reality thatís not always the case. As a result, if I was someone who relegated running to later in the day, such as evenings or after work, I can guarantee you that Iíd be lucky to get a run one or two times a week! However, when I rise and run, it becomes some that is almost automatic and instead of thinking about running as something I have to do, itís just something I do.
My mind is open
What I enjoy most about my morning runs, is that itís a time when my mind is most open. Iím able to mentally prepare for my day and think about whatís to come. Rather than thinking about what Iíve done that day, Iím thinking about what I am going to do. This sense of spiritual freedom is incredibly motivating and at the same time itís very relaxing. I do some of my very best thinking during my morning runs because in the morning, the mind is much more of a blank canvass. I have to say that itís this mental component of running that really keeps me motivated and why I continue to run day-in and day-out.
Carving out time to run and train, with all that life throws at you can be tough. Ultimately, what rising and running really has shown me is that running is much more to me than just physical activity. Itís a part of the day that I truly do cherish and running first thing in the morning, keeps me motivated on a number of different levels. Iím constantly reminded of how important running is to me and how itís a big part of my life. I will also say that after a great morning run, no matter what the day holds in store, not only am I completely relaxed, I know that whatever is thrown at me that Iím ready to take it on.
- Steve Silva, Boston.com senior producer, two-time Boston Marathon sub-four hour runner.
- Ty Velde is a 16-time Boston qualifier who's completed 12 consecutive Boston Marathons and 25 marathons overall. Ty is now training for his 13th Boston run and will provide training tips for those who train solo and outside, no matter what temperature it is.
- Rich 'Shifter' Horgan is a 19-time Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge team member who runs in honor of his father, who died of colon cancer. He will provide updates on local running events with a focus on the charitable organizations that provide Boston Marathon entries for their organization's fund raising purposes