Not-So-Early Bird

Waking up at the crack of dawn to work out sucks, but it's good for me—and my son.

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Even though I've been getting up before work to exercise since April, I still struggle to actually get out of bed when the alarm goes off. Struggle doesn't quite cover it: I dread getting out of bed when the alarm goes off. The house is so dark, cozy and quiet, I'm so tired, and I just want to sleep in.

Instead, I try to think about how accomplished I'll feel when I finish my run. I try to picture the sun coming up over the trees at the park, which always makes me happy—mostly because being awake to see the sunrise is still a bit of a novelty to me. I also keep in mind that my son is only 2 and I want to be around and be healthy for as long as I can. (Luckily, research shows that as a full-time working mom, I have health on my side. Whew.) Plus, it seems my fitness habit has started to rub off on him: The other day while standing on the step stool in our kitchen, my son dropped one foot off the bottom step and started to do what looked like mini one-legged squats. I asked him what he was doing and he turned to me and said, "I exercise, mama."

So, when the alarm goes off, I get up. I throw on my sports bra, grab a handful of grapes and get in the car to drive to the park. By the time I walk onto the dirt track, I'm glad I got out of bed so early. And when I finish my two-mile run, I know I did the right thing—for me and my son. Now I just have to get up and do it again tomorrow.

How do you motivate yourself to work out as a working mom?

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