4:10 AM – the alarm on my phone goes off – a mix of a loud snoring sound and the phone vibrating on my nightstand.
Am I really gonna do this? Do I really WANT to do this?
10 miles? Really? It’s 30° outside.
I could just hit the snooze…or better yet, just go back to sleep until 6:45.
Sleep is good right? We all need sleep, don’t we? Maybe I’ll just close my eyes…
I’d rather be sleeping….but then who’s gonna run these miles?
– My post on Facebook at 4:12AM
As I covered my 10 miles during the predawn hours this morning, I realized just how good I felt being out there on the road.
Yes, it was early.
Yes, it was dark.
Yes, it was cold.
But I felt great. Despite my apathy at 4:10AM when the alarm went off, throughout my run I. Felt. Great!
I talk a lot on this blog about inertia. It is one of the strongest fundamental principles of physics – a body in motion tends to stay in motion, a body at rest tends to stay at rest. I believe it also is a fundamental principle of the human condition. One of the most difficult things for us as humans to do is to change our inertia – couch potatoes rarely get off of the couch. Compulsive exercisers rarely stop – for fear that they might not get going again.
The key, for those of us in the middle, is to understand that inertia is real and that to go from rest to motion, we must go through what I like to call the “Toughest Ten Minutes of the Day”. It’s those ten minutes of putting on the shorts and shoes, walking out the door and moving that in all likelihood is the hardest part of your workout…unless maybe you’re doing hill sprints, but that’s a different kind of tough. No matter what your workout is going to be, no matter how physically demanding, the key is overcoming the mental hurdle – the anticipation of the pain or burn, the expectation of the cold air, the knowledge that this could take a couple of hours, the call of your pillow, comforter or couch.
That ten minutes before your run can be the most difficult part of your workout. Unlike a job you may not like, you are not getting paid to run. Unlike a class you are dreading, you are not paying to attend. In both cases you have the extra motivation of dollars to show up. Unless you are Ryan Hall, Kara Goucher or the like, you are not getting paid to run. The motivation has to come from within. You have to fight that feeling that maybe I’ll just sit here instead for this workout.
I promise you, if you can overcome those toughest ten minutes of the day, whether in the predawn hours, midday or late at night, the payoff is well worth it.