"Your Rowing Practice is…WHEN?!" or, Why Early AM Practice Rocks (Part I)

Shortly after I learned to row, I moved to another city and joined their rowing club. They had only “after work” rowing practice (5:30pm). This usually meant leaving work a tad early to get to the boathouse on time, and frankly, this didn’t do much for my corporate ladder-climbing ambitions. It also meant skipping meals with my family, taking a long time to settle down before bed, bad weather, bumpy water…gah.

But about a year after my arrival, they added a 5:30am practice.

<Insert choir of angels sound effects here.> 

It was love at first early wake-up call, and I’ve never looked back.

Even if you have never been an early riser, I exhort you to consider an early morning routine (if you aren’t already forced into it by your team). Here’s why:

·      The best water happens at sunrise.  I’m no meteorologist, but it doesn’t take The Weather Channel to tell me that in the late afternoon thunderstorms are more prevalent, the winds pick up, and temperatures rise. Mornings usually mean calm winds, cooler temps (a blessing in the summertime), and still, glass-like water…ahhhh.

·      You are more likely to get to practice. The boss asks an AM Rower to stay late at work? No problem-o! Have a lot of homework that the AM Rower didn’t plan on? All’s well! Terrible traffic on the AM Rower's evening commute? No worries! Life happens, and it can make you late to practice or cause you to miss it altogether. But less life happens in the early morning. For the AM rower, you get your row on first thing—rather than making it one of your last feats of the day. The commute to the boathouse is a breeze. And those individuals that ask you to stay late, or join them for supper, or ask you to do this or that? They are all still asleep when you row in the morning! Your time is your own.

·    Four words: Early Morning Adrenaline High. You are up! You are ready! They say that the most successful people are early risers, and you can be one of them! It’s really amazing and dare I say, life affirming. (The 1980s U.S. Army slogan had the right idea, "We do more before 9am than most people do all day.")

·      You are a hit at parties. Rowing is very hip and cool—it’s weird and quirky enough that once you are “outed” as a rower, everyone asks you about it. But when they hear how early you get up? They look at you with slack-jawed awe. That could mean they admire your diligence and discipline. But it likely means they question your sanity. Either way, you are a novelty. Work it, baby.

·      You can get out of unpleasant evening situations with ease. If you are asked out by someone you find boorish, if there’s an event in the evening you’d rather not attend, or if someone asks you to do something you don't wanna do and it's after 9pm, you have the best excuse going:

“I can’t. I have to row early tomorrow morning.”

Coming next post: Now that you’ve learned the inherent coolness and numerous benefits of getting up before the birds, we’ll discuss how to become an AM rower as painlessly as possible (while still holding onto your friends, roommates, significant others and the ends of your life).


Photo Credit: Dori Johnson