Live your life like a clock

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, I struggled mightily with my health. I was “trying” – whatever that meant – but it wasn’t getting me far. A wise friend named Martin Duffy (someone about whom I’ll write much more here during 2014) told me something that has stayed with me ever since. It’s one of those pithy, easily-remembered little phrases that stick in your craw forever, because it just makes so darned much sense. Here it is:

“Live your life like a clock.”

This is the kind of clock I used to live by when it came to having regular, healthy habits. Yup. I confess.
This is the kind of clock I used to live by when it came to having regular, healthy habits. Yup. I confess.

That’s all. Have regular routines. Do them. Make sure they’re healthy routines – there’s no sense living your life like a clock if you smoke a pack of cigarettes every day at 10 a.m., you know? But if you live your life like a clock, healthfully, life starts to look a little more like this: wake up, stretch, exercise (using the workout clothes you laid out last night), prepare lunch (if you need to carry it for the day), dress up (in the dress-up clothes you laid out last night), go to work or wherever you go during the day, take time for a rest (a nap, a short meditation or reflection time, whatever works for you) when you have the midday energy lull, eat healthy snacks if needed, eat a healthy dinner at around the same hour every day, read a real book before bed, sleep soundly. Wake up. Repeat.

I’m writing this today because I just got in an early-morning workout – a big ‘un, as we say. My weekly speed training session. It’s 25 degrees here in Seattle this morning (frozen Seahawks coming our way for the Super Bowl victory parade later this morning) so I opted for the gym treadmill and hit all my goal paces. It’s eleven weeks until the Boston Marathon and all is well.

How's this for a cute "healthy clock" image? Best I could find this morning...
How’s this for a cute “healthy clock” image? Best I could find this morning…

Even better – my energy level and outlook are off the charts right now, just because I’ve learned that my personal body clock works at its best when I exercise in the morning. Second-best time: a midday spinning class after working for a solid four to five hours (I write my best stuff early in the morning too – ah, the choices we must make…).  Worst time for me to exercise: mid-afternoon. Too much of an energy slump, and by that point in the day I’ve usually convinced myself that I really need to take a corporate desk job for the safety and security I think it’s going to give me…before I realize that we’re long past the time in our history when that particular scenario actually rang true. Then I go back to promising myself to work on only the projects I love. Then there’s a jousting session between the devil and the angel on my shoulders: “You’re never going to sell another bit of writing again!” “You’re going to be awesome – just keep going!” And by then I’m seriously exhausted.

So, the late afternoon workout does not work for my particular body clock. Just sayin’.

What works for you? We’re all wired a little differently. This week I’m going to pay very close attention to the fact that my clock says “Exercise in the early morning” and see how that works for me.

Recent #every48 workouts: Yesterday, a rest day. Today, 2 x 1200 meters at tempo pace and 4 x 800 at a faster tempo pace, with warmup, cooldown, and 2 minutes walking between repeats. Total distance 7.0 miles.

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