Your Rowing Practice is…WHEN?? Part II—Making Early AM Work for You

While morning rows are blissful on the water, they require a little thought beforehand. This ensures you'll make practice, maximize the zzzs you do get, and not drive your roommates, significant others, children, and neighbors up the wall.

Here are eight ways to make sure your morning rowing time is smooth as glass.

Lay it out the night before. This tactic isn’t just for elementary school kids anymore. Check the weather, have all of your clothes laid out, pack up any gear you need, fill a water bottle, find your morning snack—and put it all by the door. With a little practice, this tactic allows you to get at least 5-10 minutes more sleep. (And make sure your car has gas if you are driving to practice.)

Go to bed early. For me, this is the hardest part of morning rowing. I am tired at 8pm, but then I chat with my husband (a horrible influence who seems to need 50% less sleep than I do), start binge-watching some Netflix show, or I find some other inane thing to do that keeps me from settling into bed. (Suddenly, it's 11pm. Gah!) Self-discipline is key here, and I always feel virtuous when I get in bed early and wake up feeling half-way decent.

Don’t wake up the house. If you share a room, share a house, share a bed…your roommates and significant others will not take kindly to having the same wake-up time you do.  Silent alarms are key here. Anything that attaches to your wrist or your mattress and shakes you gently awake will do the trick, while keeping your rowing fans happy. Think ahead on this, and impress everyone with your compassion. (And if you are messy? Clear a path so you don't trip and make a racket.)

DO NOT SNOOZE! That evil button is the morning rower’s worst enemy. Snooze turns into five more minutes…then five minutes more…and when you realize what you’ve done, you are late. Best idea: don’t use it…ever. When the alarm goes off, get up. End of story.

Boots on the ground.  After you refuse to snooze, get your feet out of bed and on the floor as quickly as possible. This dispels those second thoughts that crop up after you’ve stayed up far too late and now you’d rather sleep than do anything else in the world. If I can get my feet on the floor and out of my warm, comfortable bed, I am certain to get to practice. If I lollygag in the covers, the odds of me missing practice increase exponentially. (See DO NOT SNOOZE! above.)

Drive lawfully. At the hour you’ll be hitting the streets, there will be very few folks around. If you have the need for speed like I do, it’s super tempting to imagine you are Danica Patrick or Tony Stewart and drive accordingly. Refrain. Because being stopped by Johnny Law on the way to an early practice is no fun (so I’ve been told…).

Travel mindfully. At this time of the morning, the only folks I see (other than law enforcement) are shift workers and folks who have been up all night doing who-knows-what. Be aware and be mindful of your surroundings.

Mid-day zzzzs. Some days after practice I can be yawning by 10am, and in a complete stupor by 2. Solution? Become a cat napper. Your car, your sofa, your backyard, your favorite tree on campus—find them mid-day, set your smartphone alarm, and take 20 minutes with your feet up and eyes closed. Ahhhhh. You’ll find the gas you need to finish your day with flair…ready to do it all over again tomorrow morning.


Image by eflon under Creative Commons license