It winter in Minnesota at 5:00AM. The bad news is, is that the temp is somewhere between zero and negative fifty. The good news is, you’re going swimming. As of last September, I’ve been swimming more yards than previously thought possible with the Orca’s Masters Swim Club. Coach Tom Walsh has taken me from being passed like I was a cone on the highway, to my current status of being passed as a Smart Car. The thorny part of this fish club is the start time. We enter the water at a bright and early 5:30AM start time, which means getting up before 5, which means 10PM is a mythical time on the clock in which no human probably ever sees. Below are my top hacks for making that 5:30 swim time a less zombie like experience.
- Setting the Alarm: When setting the early alarm, it’s important to go sometime before 5, even if your mobile training van is HQ’ed in the pools parking lot. This is a critical step when it comes to swapping notes around the water cooler when friends and co-workers slaving to get to the office by 8:30. Be sure to drop the “..If I’m not up sometime before 5, the day is pretty much shot.”
- Getting up: Nothing quite streamlines the morning process like having to be somewhere at 5:30. This eliminates snooze alarms and sitting on the edge of the bed while watching friend’s unfiltered snap stories from their late night adventures. When that alarm sings, its go time. Hit that alarm like Miyagi Sensei snatching the fly and go for it.
- Coffee: For me, I am a post swim coffee drinker. It’s more like a participant award after the big effort. Thus, 1 minute after my alarm goes off, I am prepping my coffee like a watch maker fixing a Patek Philipe. That way, the moment I stumble through the door post swim, I’ll be hitting Mr. Coffee’s ON button and my happy oasis waits.
- Snack: My morning is all about rewards, so much like the coffee, knowing a quick snack awaits after getting out of bed makes it 10% less worst. Marginal gains here. I like to keep it simple and eat a half tortilla with PB and, if it’s a distance day, whatever Gel’s I can find with the most caffeine.
- Packing: Packing clothes the night before is for rookies. Having nothing packed brings excitement to the morning fire drill of getting to the pool on time. After prepping your coffee and eating some go-fuel, rush to your closet and pack the essentials along with chinos that fit and a decent shirt. Be the Hansel.
- The Drive: No one won anything by listening to Enya. Music is essential. My favorite pump up is anything G-Eazy or Kanye. Maybe you’re a Montel Jordan or Survivor kind of fish. Either way, full commit and start your warm up on the drive to the pool beginning at the vocal cords and those 1:30 splits are yours.