Trriiiingg…! I am coming up through layer upon layer of unconsciousness. What is that noise? Last night I worked too late, then couldn’t switch off and when I finally did sink down it afforded me less than 5 hours of sleep. Finally I am awake enough to know that the irritating sound is the alarm in my Garmin forerunner 10 mercilessly demanding action. I reach over, press the button, turn on my other side and then instantly, effortlessly sink down all those layers with only a slight twinge of guilt.

Over the years I have had a love-hate relationship with my various alarm clocks. I remember in 2006, while getting ready for the Comrades marathon, I set my alarm clock outside my room in the passage. I put my running shoes right next to it. The reasoning was sound, but the presence of a snooze button still had me do that frantic routine oh sometimes five, sometimes seven times.

I once snoozed my alarm clock every 5 minutes for an hour and a half.

My daughter recently confessed that she sometimes does the same thing. So I got her a clock that starts running away after the first snooze. It has big wheels and jumps off your bedside table and starts running around in any direction. Good reasoning, novel idea… The batteries run out very quickly.

Our best intentions the evening before crumbles at 5 in the morning. I read an article some years ago where someone gave a detailed procedure that you could use to train yourself to get up when the alarm clock rings. You lie down in daytime, set the alarm and then over and over go through the motions of sitting up and then getting up immediately. I thought of trying it sometime… 🙂

Motivation is what we need for anything that is important. Running is not just important to me, it is also pleasant. It gives me a sense of freedom. It helps me gain perspective. It gives me energy. But then the alarm goes off and I snooze or (worse) just switch it off and keep my eyes closed just for one more minute.

I found that it helps to prepare some kind of a plan for the intended run the evening before. “So, 10k, around the rice lands at a 5:30 minute per k.” Then visualize it. See the scenery in your mind. See how it fits in with your overall running goals. “I need this 10 to be able to complete 50k this week so that I can be ready for the half marathon in 2 weeks’ time.” I often build in a destination. “I will run to the lake, watch the sun rise over it and then take a cab back”. But the best is still to plan with a partner. I love running with my daughter. (Picture taken about 13 years ago)

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For some reason it is much easier to get out of bed if you know that someone is going to wait for you if you do not.  For me a higher priority than running is to spend some time with my Friend by reading the Bible and prayer. And I know that He is also waiting for me. Experiencing His presence gives me such peace and joy that it has a strong motivational pull.

So to summarize: Get a strategy,  a flying alarm clock, a friend/Friend or…

just run in the evening.

Keep running