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I was in Sydney for a few days last week at a leadership coaching conference. If you think it is hard sticking to a diet or fitness routine at home, wait until you have to travel to a conference.

For some reason, conference organisers seem to think all humans like to consume is bad coffee, very rich cake, cookies, tarts and lamingtons. In addition to that, the events of the conference or thing you are attending will conspire to further erode your usual routine. Such as the people who will want to chat after conference hours and surprise announcements about special early or late sessions, etc.

When you are sitting around all day at a multi-day conference, more than at any other time, you need to get some exercise. I decided that if there was one thing I was going to do it was go for a jog on Friday morning. As events unfolded, there was a conference dinner on the Thursday night with dancing late into the night. And yes, there was a surprise session at 7am on the following Friday morning.

Sydney Harbour Bridge

Sydney Harbour Bridge

To fit my jog in, I had to get up that much earlier, so at 5:15am I was out the door of the hotel. I jogged along the water’s edge of Sydney Harbour, the refreshing sea air in the cool morning was a delight to the senses and the lights of the city shimmering on the water made the experience all the more magical.

This truly is a beautiful city at this time of the day. I jogged around the foreshore and under the famous Sydney Harbour Bridge, the water quietly lapping against the sandstone rocks that line the harbour.

A light misty rain started about 15 minutes after I started out. There were a few other joggers and a couple walking their dog. I noticed that when I said ‘good morning’ to them they seemed surprised. Some responded and others didn’t. I tried a little experiment and decided not to acknowlege the others on the foreshore. It worked… by not saying anything to them, I think they accepted me as a local. I couldn’t help it and resumed my cheerful ‘good morning’ to passers by. I think they must have known I was from out of town.

One of the things that struck me about jogging in Sydney is that there aren’t as many people as I’d expected to be out and about. I saw about as many people at that time of day as I do at home in Canberra, yet Sydney is a far more densely populated area.

Surprisingly, I didn’t bump into any other executive coaches from the conference on my jog. What I can tell you is that I started my day at the conference at 7am, very fresh and ready for the day while many others were looking for their morning coffee.

My tip – make time for yourself, walk, swim or jog, wherever you are, even if it means getting up that little bit earlier. Remember the ‘early bird – worm’ story?