Confessions Of A Morning Person

A look at why one runner is an early riser.

By on November 4, 2016 | Comments

AJW's TaproomEver since I was a little kid I’ve been a morning person. Even in high school and college when the rest of the world seemed to while away the daylight hours sleeping I didn’t. I think I am just programmed to get up and get going.

Of course, as such, I am decidedly not a night owl. In contrast to just about everyone else in my family, on a typical evening in our house I am ready and willing to head for the pillow and covers by 9 p.m. Again, this just seems to be the way I am made.

Obviously, this lifelong tendency toward mornings has a direct impact on my running as my best and often most enjoyable runs are those that take place when the rest of the world is still in slumber.

On a typical day like today, I wake at 5 a.m., most often without the aid of an alarm. I pad downstairs to the kitchen and fire up the coffee, taking a moment to revel in being the only one moving in the quiet of my still-sleeping house. While sipping, I peruse the internet somewhat mindlessly and get my body ready to head outside. By 5:45 I am off the front stoop and on the run.

In the pre-dawn dark all is quiet. As I chase the beam of my headlamp each footfall seems amplified in the crisp morning air and each breath gets progressively easier. On this particular morning, a couple miles in, I begin to encounter a few other morning warriors, some walking with dogs, others running in small, quiet groups. All, I imagine, savoring the same morning stillness I am.

Sometime around the five-mile mark (this morning’s plan was to run seven), I gradually begin to lose touch with what’s around me and focus in closely on what’s within. In these precious morning runs that are mine and mine alone I find the solace to explore my inner life more wholly and organically than in other places in my life. Sometimes spiritual and other times emotional, these fleeting moments are almost always when my head and heart are most clear.

Returning home an hour or so later I am refreshed and relaxed. During these late-autumn days before the clocks mercifully change, of course, it’s still dark when I finish. But I don’t let that deter me. Over the years I have found that the 10-minute window immediately after a brisk morning run can be pure gold. And that purity is priceless. Eventually, the glow wears off and I burst back into the house where things have begun to stir and the rest of life awaits in a seemingly better place than it was when I left.

Bottoms up!

AJW’s Beer of the Week

The Answer Brewpub logoThis week’s Beer of the Week comes from The Answer Brewpub in Richmond, Virginia. Known for their tremendous variety of creatively conceived beers, one of their finest selections is Larceny, their classic single-hopped American IPA. Balanced and fruity, Larceny is a nice IPA to have on its own or with spicy food. Give this one a try if you are ever in this booming beer town.

Call for Comments (from Meghan)

  • Are you a morning person? If so, is this when you predominantly do your running? Or, do you reserve your morning hours for another aspect of your life? What value do you find in your morning hours?
  • If you are not a morning person, do you get up early anyway? Do you still manage to find meaning in the mornings even if your brain and body aren’t quite ready for the day yet?
Andy Jones-Wilkins

Andy Jones-Wilkins is an educator by day and has been the author of AJW’s Taproom at iRunFar for over 11 years. A veteran of over 190 ultramarathons, including 38 100-mile races, Andy has run some of the most well-known ultras in the United States. Of particular note are his 10 finishes at the Western States 100, which included 7 times finishing in the top 10. Andy lives with his wife, Shelly, and Josey, the dog, and is the proud parent of three sons, Carson, Logan, and Tully.