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Back to Basics (or “I Still Hate Mornings”)

November 19, 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments


It’s the off season.  Right in the thick of it.  Which means there isn’t much story telling to do (which means there isn’t much blogging to do).  There’s no races to recap.  There’s no new gear to report on.  There’s nothing really exciting to share.

And right now I kinda like it.

I’m focusing on going back to basics, and probably will until the end of 2013.  And for me, basics start at 5:15am…

(Before anything else, let me state here my complete respect and admiration for everyone out there who has children and manages to juggle their routines as well as their own.  At this point in my life, I simply couldn’t do it.  My hat is off to you!!)

ride alarm

5:15am.  That’s when my alarm goes off.  Every morning.  It’s terrible.  TERRIBLE!!!  It’s still dark, and very cold (and is only going to get colder).  And my bed is warm and soft and I would love to roll over for another 2 hours.  But a wise friend of mine once expressed to me [paraphrased] that “the choices you make reflect the priorities you hold” (I think he actually phrased it as “the places you spend your money reflect the priorities you hold”, which is even more true, but spending is a subset of choice and I think this equally applies).  It took me a few years, but I’m finally starting to understand it (thanks Jeremy, if you’re reading this).  I hate waking up in the morning.  But I’m really eager to see just how good I can be as a triathlete (and how healthy I can be as a person) if I commit to a routine and stick with it.  And being a better triathlete – and a healthier person long term – is worth so much more to me than lazing in bed an extra few hours.  So 5:15 it is.

The first bus comes by my house at 5:56am.  The gym doesn’t open until 6:00am anyway, so there’s no point getting up any earlier than 5:15.  That gives me enough time to throw some clothes on, shovel in some food, and be at the bus stop on time.  (PS – standing outside for the bus before 6:00, in Ontario, in the winter, is miserable.  Seriously why can’t the first bus of the day be on time?!?)

Being at the gym gives me enough time for roughly a 45-60 minute training session before cleaning up and taking the 75 minute bus ride up to work.  Really – I wake up at 5:15 to be at work at 9:00… yuck.  Seriously – how do people do this when they have to manage someone else’s schedule as well?!?

I’m trying to do this every day.  Every.  Day.  This is my routine.  Even the rare day when I get to take the car, I still get up at 5:15 because goal #1 right now is to stick to my routine.

Every.  Day.

Am I successful?  I’m working on it.  Last week I made it 3 out of 5 mornings.  This week so far I’m 2 for 2.  It’s a goal – something to work towards.  It’s actually a big lifestyle switch for me.  The more I look back on this past race season – and the more I’m honest with myself – I realize that while I put a lot of good hard training work in, I didn’t put nearly as much in (or as consistently) as I like to think I did.  I had a lot of great sessions – a lot of strong bricks, a number of great two-a-days.  But I also had a LOT of missed days, and mornings where I rolled over when I was supposed to train.  A lot of evenings where I chose to skip a session for whatever social opportunity came my way.  Granted, it was a lot more training than I’d done the summer before (which was nothing, really), but just think where I could be next season if I actually stuck to a routine?!?  If I actually trained as often as my training plan said I should?

This winter is about putting into it what I want to get out of it.  It starts with basics.  Sure, I have training plans for when I get to the gym (mostly focused on running and strength at this time of year), but really I’m focusing now all the way back to the basics: Getting up with that alarm every morning and putting in the work.

I will never learn to like 5:15am, but it’s worth it!


  1. November 19, 2013 at 9:31 am

    I feel you. Every morning I get up at 5 to get to the gym that is 5 minutes away from my work by 6:30. I usually do not make it into work until 9-9:45. Trying to do less is killing me!!! Stay strong and struggle on!

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