Last year, when I was gearing up for the 2010 Tomato Art Festival 5K, I was pretty disciplined about getting up early to train before going to work. Since I rise at 5 a.m. to be at work at 6, this meant getting up at the ungodly hour of 4:00 in order to drag my slow self 3.1 miles (+ warmup). But I did it, and in about three months went from not being able to run even a quarter of a mile to finishing the 5K in 48:12. Hardly a speed record, but certainly faster than standing still.
I have not been similarly motivated for the super-early mornings this time around. The main difficulty is that I simply love to sleep. And though I know that I'll have more energy and increased productivity during the day if I get up and run first thing, these benefits are not particularly compelling when that alarm goes off at 4.
Also, there is the issue of the summer weather in Nashville, which is not exactly conducive to exercise. And in spite of prevailing folk wisdom, I contend that "it" is both the heat AND the humidity! The coolest time of the day is typically just before sunrise, but this also tends to be the most humid as the sun hasn't yet burned off the dew from the previous night.
Yesterday, however, I had the day off from work and so got to sleep until the positively decadent hour of 5:45 to prepare and head out about an hour later. At that point, the overnight humidity had dropped some, and the temp was still in the 70s (albeit upper).
The result was that in my first "official" training run for this year's Tomato 5K, I completed 3.23 miles in just under 45 minutes. My goal is to finish this year's race under 45, or even (dare I hope?) under 44. The course is much hillier than the part of my neighborhood where I was yesterday, but I also still have a month to prepare and maybe shave off a little more time!