I am often asked how I can get up before dawn to run, and I generally reply that the numbers on the clock in the early morning are just numbers … they only mean something if you’re not getting enough sleep. Yes, I go to bed early. And yes, and I am definitely a morning person. But that doesn’t really explain how I’m able to exercise before dawn. I could just as easily be awake at that hour doing a number of other things.
The more I’ve thought about it over the years, the more I’ve realized that it is about so much more than just getting enough sleep or being a morning person. My decision to run before dawn is not about how I am able to do it, but rather about why I choose to do it.
I run at dawn because I’ve found it is my best time to get in a workout. As my day progresses, making the time to exercise becomes more and more challenging. Getting out of the house first thing in the morning means that nothing else can get in the way. And it means that when I return to whatever is waiting for me that day, I do so filled with energy and a fresh perspective.
But that is just the practical side of it. And let’s be honest, that is not always enough to motivate me to get out of bed in the dark.
Instead, I choose to run before dawn because I love being the first one up in the morning.
I love how quiet the house is.
I love easing into the morning without a word to anyone.
I love sneaking out the door in the dark of night, when not a soul is awake.
I love hearing the sound of my footsteps on the pavement. The sound of my breathing in the quiet night.
I love witnessing the sun rise. That first burst of color. The warmth of the sun on my face.
I love the views that await me when the darkness fades. The glow of the sun on the side of the mountain. The light filtering through the trees. The sudden realization that I’ve unknowingly climbed up through the fog.
I love knowing that I have been running for hours – heart racing, feet pounding, legs and lungs burning – before most have even started their day.
I run before dawn because chasing the sunrise makes me feel alive.
It makes me feel like I can conquer whatever the day may bring.
And I do it because when I return home and walk through the door, I am ready for anything.
Are there are mornings when I don’t run before dawn? Yes. But do you know what? I drag the entire day. I’m tired. I have less energy. I don’t think clearly. It’s a completely different day. Just the opposite of what you might expect.
I’ve realized that I chase the sunrise because I thrive on it. And because the rewards are great.
It’s not a matter of how I’m able to rise before dawn, it’s a matter of why.
And I believe that once you know the why, making what you want becomes easy.
So I ask you … what is your why?
Dawn is calling. Will you rise and chase it?