What is your morning routine?
My routine varies depending on the season because we have such extreme temperature differences in Moab, and it also varies depending on the weather. In summer, I get up before sunrise and go out immediately for a short trail run with my dog before it gets too hot. In spring and fall, I get up at first light, get some office work done, and then go for a longer run. In winter, I get a lot more inside work done because it’s really only warm enough to do things outside between about 11:00am and 3:00pm if the sun is out.
Depending on the day, I’ll follow the run with a weights or hangboard workout before coming home and answering emails or working on writing projects. On alternating days I go climbing or BASE jumping instead of working out in the gym. My life has a pretty seasonal flow: in summer, spring, and fall I’m playing catch up all the time, but during the shorter days in winter I catch up on business and home projects and sleep.
If I’m on a trip for business, climbing, or BASE jumping, I really don’t have a routine, so it’s nice when I’m home in Moab.
How long have you stuck with this routine so far?
I’ve been climbing full time for twenty years, and this has always been my baseline routine.
How has your morning routine changed over recent years?
There are some years where running is a bigger priority and other years where yoga is a bigger priority. I used to dive into emails and office work as soon as I woke up, but I’ve learned that it’s better to exercise first and then come back to that.
What time do you go to sleep?
Usually not too long after dark or sometimes even before dark in summer when the days are so long.
Do you do anything before going to bed to make your morning easier?
I love mornings, but I always make sure the house is clean and my electric tea kettle is filled before bed.
Do you use an alarm to wake you up in the morning, and if so do you ever hit the snooze button?
I only use an alarm if I have something scheduled that I need to do: catch a plane or get a very early start for a climb or a BASE jump. If I set an alarm, I seem to wake up five minutes before it actually goes off, but I always set it anyway.
How soon after waking up do you have breakfast, and what do you typically have?
Normally I have “first breakfast,” which is muesli, soy or coconut yogurt, and a banana or a peach, as well as ginger tea.
Later in the morning, after I get back from running and working out, I’ll eat a toasted bagel with almond butter, kale salad, or some leftover rice and vegetables from dinner and have that with Earl Grey tea.
Do you have a morning workout routine?
I trail run every morning (unless I’m traveling or have an event or some other climbing/BASE jumping plan that starts early). I lift weights at my neighborhood gym (two blocks from my house) and also do climbing-specific finger strength exercises with the training setup I have in my backyard.
Do you have a morning meditation routine, and if so what kind of meditation do you practice?
I have had years where I prioritized seated meditation, but I find that running gives me the best headspace. I usually come up with ideas for stories or work projects in the middle or near the end of my run, and my mood and energy levels are at their highest after running.
Do you answer email first thing in the morning or leave it until later in the day?
I usually sit down to answer emails around midday or in the afternoon, but I also do it sporadically throughout the day from my phone if I’m in cell range. I have a lot of freedom with what I do, but I’m also pretty connected almost all the time.
Do you use any apps or products to enhance your sleep or morning routine?
How soon do you check your phone in the morning?
I check my phone all the time because social media is a big part of what I do. I look at it before I go out to exercise in the morning because it gives me a heads up on what I’ll need to prioritize when I get back and sit down at my desk.
What are your most important tasks in the morning?
Breakfast for my dog, Cajun, always happens first thing!
What and when is your first drink in the morning?
I’ve been drinking a cup of Traditional Medicinals Ginger Aid tea first thing in the morning for about ten years now, and I always run with one and a half liters of water in my hydration pack so that I can drink water during the run and get very hydrated first thing.
While hiking for a BASE jump, I carry a two-liter hydration bladder in my bag. I’m very serious about hydration since I’m active and live in the desert; I usually try to drink over a gallon a day, ideally about a gallon and a half.
Do you also follow this routine on weekends, or do you change some steps?
My daily schedule is dictated more by the weather than by the days of the week. I generally have a loose plan for the week based on the wind, rain, and temperature forecast. My plan changes on any given day if the weather changes. It’s hard to have a routine because my sports are so dependent on the conditions and weather, so I’ve adapted to become extremely flexible.
On days you’re not settled in your home, are you able to adapt your routine to fit in with a different environment?
When I’m traveling, it’s either for work or for a specific climbing or jumping trip, so I don’t have this routine at all. One reason I love being at home is that I really like having some routine in my life.
What do you do if you fail to follow your morning routine, and how does this influence the rest of your day?
My life is dictated primarily by the weather, for better or for worse! I have a hard time working with schedules based on calendars, which is how most of the world works, because calendars rarely align with weather schedules, and the weather is so unpredictable from day to day and even hour to hour in the desert and the mountains.
Photo of Steph by Krystle Wright.
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