I got up at seven o'clock this morning, and I'm running an hour late. Not to work, however, but for my morning ride. It's officially winter, and has been for some time, but it's been unusually warm the past month in New York, until recently. Traveling a lot for work and the time difference doesn't help either, not to mention that it gets dark so early. I'm fighting the constant urge to hibernate.
I enjoy riding in the morning because it's such a great way to start the day. I feel energized. I recently read this New York Times article about how exercise increases brain activity. I believe it. But the road to getting up early has been long and slow.
Just a couple of years ago I'd usually get up around 10am. I'd usually stay up till 2am either working or not really doing anything important. I was a night owl, and my internal clock was set. My wife is a morning person, and I always admired that. It's incredible how much she does and gets done before she heads out for work. Inspired by her routine I decided to do the same. It's nothing like this dumb 5-hour ENERGY commercial. Who drinks that stuff, anyways?
Getting up at a reasonable hour wasn't easy for me. I read somewhere that it takes 90 days or so of consistency for anything to solidify as a routine. I started getting up early five or so months ago, usually around 7am, but sometimes even earlier. That golden hour in the morning is especially great when you're on a bike with no one around, the distant hum of the city starting it's day, just before everyone starts honking their morning rush hour horns. Maybe I need one of these.
Training is just as much about proper rest as it is a good workout. I used to think good riders and pros just rode a bazillion miles as hard as they could all year-long. Well, that's definitely not entirely true. My trainer puts a heavy emphasis on getting enough rest between each workout. Work hard, rest hard. The more I ride the more sleep I need. I even started taking naps in the afternoon, but maybe it's because I'm always jet lagged from all the traveling I've been doing for work. It took me at least four days to recover. Despite that, my bedtime has slowly crept closer and closer to 11pm.
Introducing cycling back into my life has really changed it for the better. Having to get up early to make time for something I really enjoy benefits the rest of my day. I'm more aware of my time working as well as the time needed to disconnect from it.