A miracle has happened. For the last 2 months I’ve managed pry myself out of my bed every morning and go for a run. It’s a miracle because my morning brain has finally got in sync with my night time brain.
Let me explain…
In the past I would go to bed with my workout clothes neatly placed on a chair near the bathroom and the alarm set a mere 30-45 minutes earlier than usual in preparation for a morning run before work. I was organized and prepared. My night time brain would say, “Tomorrow is the morning I will get up and workout before work!” My nighttime brain was SO full of hope and enthusiasm for the morning. Optimism oozed from every pore. Then the alarm would go off and morning brain took over.
My morning brain is a powerful machine. Its power is in the word no. In the 30 seconds needed to hit the off button it would start shouting, “No! You will not get out of this cozy cocoon. No! It’s cold outside, stay in the warm bed. No! You are not awake go back to sleep. No! No! No! You will NOT get up!” It often won that argument.
I knew about the power of morning brain when I was told that as part of my new program I would need to do 20 minutes of exercise first thing in the morning, before breakfast. I laughed heartily. Morning brain was highly unlikely to cooperate. Adding to the hilarity of the situation, this conversation was happening in December. I would have to get up before the sun and it was going to be cold, and probably raining. More ammunition for morning brain, things did not look hopeful.
Then the smallest change happened…
My morning ritual required that I take one of my supplements 15-20 minutes before running. Knowing I would want to stay in bed until the last possible second, I figured out that if I put my supplement out beside my bed I could set my alarm 20 minutes before I needed to head out the door. This would mean on the first alarm I could lift my head from the pillow, gulp down the pill and snooze for 9 ½ more minutes before I needed to get up. So instead of getting up 20 minutes before I went running I could get another 10 minutes of sleep. Genius!
The plan was solid. The impact to morning brain however, was miraculous.
The single action of popping a pill in my mouth and gulping some water shut morning brain up. I lay there the first morning of this plan contemplating the 9 ½ minutes as they ticked away. Where were the “no”s? I got out of bed when the second alarm went off and got get ready for my run. Morning brain was silent. I was speechless in every way possible.
I walked downstairs to the front door of our building, wrapped in layers of clothing anticipating the chill outside. I stood at the front door looking out at the cold blackness. Then guess who came back? Yes, morning brain was back, shouting “NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! Don’t open the door! Go back upstairs to bed! Cold! Dark! Cold! Yuck!”
You know how the story ends. I told you at the beginning. I walked out the door and went for my run, ignoring the cries of morning brain.
Morning brain still shouts at me in the morning. As the days are getting lighter, and the weather getting warmer, morning brain is getting quieter. But every morning some other part of me calmly moves my hand towards the doorknob, and I head out to run.