Thursday, July 31, 2014

Tips For Getting Up and Working Out At The Crack Of Dawn

So, I hit a big milestone this morning. For the third time ever (and first time since my injury) I logged 100 miles of running this month. 


It all started with a 5am alarm to make sure I could fit in the 6.22 miles necessary to hit 100!


It felt good to have my workout done before work but I haven't always been a morning exerciser. Before I had my son I would go to the gym after work. I had no evening commitments and my husband didn't mind eating supper a little later. While on a year of maternity leave, I also exercised basically whenever I felt like it. I usually planned my workouts around nap time or we'd go together with the running stroller. Now, that I'm back working full-time, and have to pick up my little guy at daycare, it doesn't work like that anymore. Running after supper isn't usually an option either as I usually have a belly full of food and want to spend time with my family. London goes to bed later than most toddlers (9:30 on a good day) so that doesn't leave much time to workout before I crawl into bed myself.
I started moving my workouts to morning in January of this year when I began training for the NYC Half.. My weekly mileage ranged from 20-40 miles a week and I was determined to stick to a training plan. I began setting my alarm between 5-5:30am to get in the mileage before London woke up. I was running early seven days a week.
It wasn't easy at the start but quickly became my new normal. Your body takes awhile to get used to it but then it just becomes part of your routine.
Early Morning Sunrises Are The Best
These days I workout (most) Tuesday and Thursday mornings before work and around 7:30am on Saturday and Sundays.
TIPS FOR GETTING UP AND WORKING OUT AT THE CRACK OF DAWN:
1. Sleep In Your Workout Clothes. I change into my workout clothes before I crawl into bed. This may sound silly but the house is still sleeping (or trying to go back to sleep) so I don't want to worry about trying to find my shorts, shirt and socks in the dark. If you want to sleep in something else (or lack thereof) you can also lay out you outfit the day before and leave it in the bathroom to get changed in the morning.
2. Prepare Your Fuel And Technology. I don't eat before my early morning runs (except my long runs on Saturdays) but I do like to eat something during my 5+ mile runs and within half an hour of finishing. The night before I fill my water bottle and place my Vega gels or Shot Blocks and a banana on the kitchen counter. If I'm running on the treadmill (I always run inside if it's dark or icy) I also lay out my Ipad and headphones so I have something to keep me entertained. I also make sure to plug in my phone so it's charged for the morning as I track all my runs with Nike+.

3. Make A Plan. Even if I'm not training for a specific race I always plan my runs a week in advance. Sunday night I'll look at our schedule for the week and figure out when I'm going to run and for how long. I keep a copy of my plan in my phone and have a glance at it before bed. This way, I know exactly what I'm doing the next day (the less thinking about 5am the better!) 
4. Get Your Family On Board. I am the deepest sleeper and actually don't hear the alarm when it goes off. Thankfully, my husband hears it and wakes me up. He also takes care of London if he wakes up before I finish. I push my weekend runs back so I can eat something first. He helps by making him breakfast, getting London dressed and entertaining him while I'm gone. 
5. Don't Do It Alone. Sometimes workouts are easier when we have someone pushing us out the door. If you usually run by yourself, try to recruit a friend to meet you in the morning. Or, find a running group that meets early. You'll be less likely to skip your run if you know people are waiting for you.
6. Create A Mantra. Getting up early is tough some days but, most of the time, if I tell my husband to shut off the alarm I regret it later. Having an early morning power phrase that will get your butt out of bed is crucial for those first few transition weeks and those mornings you may want to stay in your comfortable, warm bed. For me, they are:
"If you don't run now, you won't have time to run later and you always feel better after you run."
"If you run now, you can take London to the park tonight."
"Run a mile and see how you feel. If you want to stop, stop."  <I never want to stop once I've started!
Warning, you will be sweaty even after you shower!
What time of day do you usually work out?
Morning exercisers how do you motivate yourself to get out of bed early?
Anything I missed?

13 comments:

  1. I am impressed! I have been trying all summer to get up early for running and have only accomplished it once! Ha ha ha!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks lady!! It definitely isn't easy but, if I want to work out, I have to do it :)

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  2. I've been trying for years to drag myself out of bed to exercise in the morning but I just can't do it. There was a period of time about 5 years ago when a friend would literally ring my apartment buzzer to wake me up and I'd roll out of bed and out the door to run, but without some one forcing me out of bed, I just can't do it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Reason #938450238439 we need to live closer ;)

      Delete
  3. Excellent ideas! I wish I could get in morning workouts but I already get up at 5:30 for work, so getting up earlier than that for a workout just isn't going to happen.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes that's pretty early! I was getting up at 6:15 before. Anything before 5 is just crazy!

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  4. Love these! I am the world's worst at waking up and working out early. Which is funny, because I am a morning person through and through.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. HA HA! It's definitely not easy every day! I'm a morning person as well :)

      Delete
  5. I do love early morning workouts. I just feel so much better and like I have so much more energy. Unfortunately, they aren't practical right now. I already get up at 5:15AM for work so I can't even imagine what time I'd get up for a gym sesh!

    Completely agree with all your tips though!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks!! Yeah, that's early to wake up! When I was run streaking I had to get up and run at 3:30 once because I was flying to New York. I don't even think I was awake haha!! NEVER AGAIN!! Thanks for stopping by :)

      Delete
  6. Excellent tips! I'm a morning runner for sure. I have to get it done or I won't later because like you mentioned above, I like evening time with family. If you're a coffee drinker set your auto maker to the time you wake up :) fresh brew smell helps me!

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