|Zero dark thirty.|
I now start my work day as early as I ever have in my professional career and I like doing at least some of my training before I head to the office. Plus, other people annoy me more than getting up early does. In order to placate my introverted tendencies, I like to hit the pool at a time when fewer people are likely to be there.
Since swimming smack-dab in the middle of the day isn’t really an option my boss would appreciate, I try to be at the pool right as the lifeguard is opening the doors shortly after 5:30 a.m. Throw in a quick morning routine and my daily commute and bam, we’re at a 4:40 a.m. wake-up time.
No, it’s not fun. No, I don’t really enjoy it. Yes, my bed is disproportionately warm and comfortable at that hour. But you do what you gotta do. I want to improve in the water and the only way to do that is to spend more time in the water training.
Sadly, I don’t have any “secret” get-up-early tricks to share. I’ve always been something of an early riser and have used the snooze button maybe three times in my life. In fact, I usually wake up a few minutes before my alarm goes off, no matter when it’s set – these last few mornings I was awake at about 4:35 a.m.
What does help is getting everything ready the night before. The other night, for example, I cooked that day's dinner and the next day's breakfast and lunch all at the same time. I was an egg-frying, chicken-grilling, veggie-chopping maniac.
I get my food bag, my work bag, and my swimming bag (and my running bag, if I’m hitting the running path after work) ready to go and in a pile in the living room. After you do it a few times, it becomes habit -- I have learned the hard way to double-check I have MATCHING work shoes -- and you’re less likely to forget something important. Plus, I’m pretty sure waking up your spouse because you are frantically searching for clean socks at that hour is grounds for divorce.
I should clarify one thing: For the next eight weeks, I won't be getting up at 4:40 a.m. on Mondays. I'm a Game of Thrones fan and recently a Silicon Valley fan, too. I'm not willing to function on 6 hours of sleep if I can help it, and those shows are just too good. Four days a week after an early bedtime is enough of a challenge for me.