If you instruct early classes as I have for several years, you frequently hear from well-intentioned attendees, “I just couldn’t get up this morning.” Certainly, rising early takes some getting used to whether you are teaching or attending! In my case, my reply was always an empathetic “It happens!” However, in my head I would confidently think “…but not to me!” In almost 10 years of coaching classes that start from 5:15 to 5:45 a.m., I had (incredibly) never overslept and never been late.
There’s a first time for everything, right?
On days I teach, my (first) alarm goes off at 3:30 a.m. Yes, you read that correctly. But on September 27, 2017, it didn’t. Or maybe it did?
I overslept. For the first time. To this day I don’t know how it happened. I’m not a “snoozer” but somehow managed to sleep through/ignore/shut off all three of my phone alarms. My (fourth) backup Sony nightstand alarm clock hummed with calming sounds of oceanic waves when I groggily opened one eye and noticed the time. But I was not calm.
What time is it?!
What day is it?!
Woke up my husband to confirm. “What day is it?”
Understandably he didn’t immediately know either.
How did this happen?
What do I do first?
[Anxiety level increasing]
How will I make it on time? (My class starts at 5:30, I need to be there around 5:15 to prepare, and it takes me 15 minutes to get to the club.)
What if I don’t make it on time?
WHAT WILL I DO WITHOUT COFFEE?!
This is the exact moment at which you will appreciate advance preparation: laying out all articles of clothing (socks too) the night before—especially if your bedroom is dark and others are still sleeping. You won’t want to waste precious seconds trying to determine if something matches or you have the same socks for both feet. Once you’ve handled the clothing hurdle, if your bag is already packed, pick it up and go. Your music source (CD? iPad? Computer?) should already be packed and ready to go—unless you use your phone and your phone was also your alarm clock! Make sure you grab it!
Here’s my basic checklist of items I prepare around my house the night before I teach early-morning classes:
NEXT TO THE BED OR IN THE BATHROOM
- Bike shorts or leggings, top, socks, heart rate monitor.
- Vitamins, juice cup, coffee cup, and K-cup out on the counter (coffeemaker turns on automatically, just have to press “brew”). Pre-fill the water the night before.
- Small granola bar (some people prefer to instruct early classes on an empty stomach; I’m not one of them).
IN GYM BAG/BY THE DOOR
- Cycling shoes
- iPad (or other music source)
- Profile notes
- Headphones (for after class while cleaning up studio)
- Water bottle (pre-prepped with ice) in fridge (adding ice from our automatic ice maker at 4:45 a.m. will wake up sleeping family members—yes, these little things count).
- Car key
Sure, some of these items only take microseconds. But when you’re running late, every moment counts. When you rush, you can easily forget something because all of your focus is on getting out that door as quickly as possible.
Luckily I live very close to the gym where I teach. On that morning, my heart rate began dropping as I realized I would be there before class started. Despite having all my stuff prepped, I felt unprepared and off my game. Usually while drinking my coffee at that quiet hour, I review my profile notes and music. I hadn’t done that this morning. As a result, when I got on the bike and took the mic, my cues were shorter. I know I was a little less energetic than usual. But, I had made it on time.
After class one of my regulars said he enjoyed my minimalist instructions and quieter coaching style!
If you teach early classes, how do you prepare? Has this situation happened to you? What tips can you share to avoid stressing in the moment?