Do you struggle to get up for training when it’s dark and freezing outside?
The other morning I was lying in my bed awake at 4:30. For a winter morning in the Karoo it is pretty much still the middle of the night. On this particular morning, it was the coldest morning of the winter so far. It was literally freezing outside, with the coldest part of the day being just before sunrise, and temperatures dropping to below minus 10 degrees Celsius not being uncommon in winter.
In that moment I decided to rely on social media for motivation, and sure enough, within a few minutes, I had enough motivation to force me out of bed!
So here are the top tips I received:
Lorraine Boshoff from Gauteng, emphasized how important it is to have all your gear laid out and ready so that you can go from opening your eyes, to getting out of bed to getting on your gear. Another great tip she had, which is something I used to do (and will be doing from now on) is to place your alarm on the oooother side of the room, to make sure you have to get up to switch it off.
Paola Vignani from Montague reiterated the "early morning gear set up" and reminded me that our winters are relatively short compared to Italy, where she is from. However, I am sure they have central heating in Italy. My room is often pretty much as cold as it is outside, due to the construction of old Karoo houses, and the complete lack of insulation. Another great point Paola made was the fact that getting used to the morning cold is in fact great for preparation when one needs to start a race early.
Paul Murphy from Cape Town & Colin van den Bergh from Durban reminded me of the old classic, sleeping in your running clothes. Back in the day when I was at hostel, we used to grab an extra few minutes of sleep in the morning by risking the wrath of our "koshuis vader" by sleeping in our school uniforms and then getting up only to go straight to breakfast.
Cherona Vlok from Wellington, advised me to get a running buddy, and I have to confess, the best training I have ever done, was with a running buddy. I could not lie in bed knowing that someone else is waiting for me in the cold, thus, we both were always up and ready to run by 5am, come rain or shine. In the absence of a running buddy, Cherona also mentioned that you can get your partner to kick you out of bed (literally, if need be) as long as they promise to prepare breakfast for you!
Justin de Klerk made me realise that we have to be mindful of where we are, often times, just where you are could be enough reason/motivation to get you up and on the trail, knowing that you are fortunate to be in that specific situation.
There were also loads of people focusing on the mental aspect of just having the mental power/strength to "just do it", "why we run", "you are the only one that can stop you", etc…, and I took it all to heart. The best one was from Marc Meadon from Pretoria with an old saying "Beautiful bodies are made in winter."
But the one thing that was suggested most, was COFFEE, by a mile. One thing I have learned is that trail runners are coffee drinkers, big time, luckily so am I!
With this repertoire of tips and tricks, there is no excuse for not being able to get up and go for an early morning run! Thanks everybody for all the great advice.