I'm linking up with the Weekly Run Down, please head over to Kim and Deborah to check it out.
This Week's Sweats
Monday: 3 easy treadmill miles, weights at lunch
Tuesday: the plan was to make this a speed day, but my body was not on board. 5 treadmill miles easy and I felt great the rest of the day.
Wednesday: no running, weights at lunch.
Thursday: 5 treadmill miles, and my body was down for a bit of speed. 1 mile warmup, then a ladder of 1-2-3-4-5-4-3-2-1 minutes fast/2 minutes recover. If you're looking for a way to make 5 miles go by in a heartbeat, this is the workout for you.
Friday: 4 treadmill miles with hills.
Saturday: 8 treadmill miles, mostly easy with some speed bursts here and there. After two weeks of unseasonably nice weather, we got our comeuppance with an ice storm. Did I want to run 8 miles on the treadmill? No. Did I want to go outside in the ice? No. Did I want to skip my run? No. So I sucked it up and did it. I took breaks at 4.6 miles (one episode of my TV show), 6.1 miles, 7.1 miles, and yes I did take one final break at 7.6 miles and it took every psychological trick in the book to get myself back on the tready for the last 0.4 miles.
Sunday: off and tucked up on the couch.
Why I Started Working Out in the Morning
There's only one why that made me start getting up at dark o'clock to work out: necessity. Many years ago now, I started grad school on top of a full time job and it became obvious very quickly that I was either going to stop working out entirely for two years or I was going to suck it up and start getting up earlier. And so it began.
Here's why I've stuck with it:
- Consistency. In the two years that I've been blogging about my workouts, I think there have been something like three days where I've had a time conflict first thing in the morning and had to skip a workout. Contrast that with all the nights that I work late and every night that my family has something going on, that's weeks or months of missed workouts in two years. I didn't just up and decide to run 25 miles this week, that's the result of years of consistent workouts.
- Quality of Life. Fitness is huge, but it's not more important than time with my family. Back when I was single, it was NBD to go to the gym at night, now it would be taking time away from my family.
- And not to be obnoxious, but there is just nothing quite like that feeling of gettin 'er done first thing. When it's 7AM and you have 10,000 steps under your belt (or are swole from lifting if that's your thing), that's priceless.
How I Started Working Out in the Morning
Ha, ha, once you have your why, the how is a whole other story.
- Know and respect that your body will need time to adjust. Even today, my weekday workouts don't have the same intensity as my weekend workouts. On weekdays I roll out of bed and get on the treadmill, on weekends I have the luxury of time and a solid breakfast in my belly before I work out. All that I ever ask myself to do on weekdays is to show up. It is OK and expected that you may feel like absolute crap when you start working out first thing in the morning, I think the payoff is that you probably get a bit of extra fitness from the stress of making the adjustment.
- Food: I usually don't eat or have coffee before my weekday workouts. It's not because I believe in fasted cardio, it's because I believe in not giving myself a chance to drag my feet before starting workouts. If you are more disciplined than me (which is very likely) I think that food before workouts is probably ideal. And I always listen to my body, if I'm super hungry and planning to bust out a hard run, of course I fuel up with a banana or a glass of UCAN or something like that. Back in the early days, I always had coffee and ate before workouts, then I weaned myself to just having coffee, and then went to my current "roll out of bed and hit it" approach.
- If I feel like I don't have time to eat before I workout, it goes without saying that I don't have time to go searching for workout clothes. Back in my single gym going days, I had everything laid out ready for me to slip into and head out the door. Today in my married home gym days, I go one step further and keep all of my workout clothes in our workout room.
- Weekday rests days FTW. Today I work out 5 days a week, so it's a natural pattern for me to work out Monday and Tuesday, rest on Wednesday, workout out Thursday and Friday, and then the magic of the weekend makes it seem like I had a rest day before I tackle my Saturday workout. Back when I worked out 3 days a week I worked out M,W,F, cleaned my house on Thursdays, and sat on my butt on Tuesdays...man that was a sweet schedule. The point is that just because you work out "in the morning" doesn't meant that you have to work out every morning. I think that expecting yourself to be up and at 'em every single weekday is a recipe for failure.
- If you get up earlier than the rest of your family, the silent alarm clock (on your Fitbit, Garmin, or smart watch) is a godsend. The vibration pattern for the alarm on my old Fitbit flex was the same as the 10,000 steps vibration, so I can't tell you how many mornings I woke up dreaming that I'd just hit 10,000 steps. And you guessed it, I make sure to charge my Garmin either on my weekday rest day or on the weekend.
- I still work out in the morning on weekends, but "morning" has a more fluid definition, as in working out at 11:59 AM is still working out in the morning, and I always have coffee and breakfast first.
- And finally, with the disclaimer I'm not a personal trainer or medical professional, I'm just a stranger on the internet speaking my mind, I believe that the only law of fitness is that you should to do you...just because it works for me to workout in the mornings doesn't mean that you should work out in the mornings. The time of day that you can or will get your workouts in is the right time to work out.
What I LOVE about your how, is that you've worked it out so fitness fits in with your life, your family, work everything. I've had people say to me "Well, it's easy for you to run, you've got time" and I've felt so insulted - I work full time, I have 2 kids, there are so many things I'm juggling that I too could say I don't have time. But it's finding those windows that work for you and everything else around. So I love how you've written your how in such detail - taking into consideration all the factors around you to set you up for a successful fitness routine.ReplyDelete
oh boy I have people like that in my life...yes it's all so easy;-)Delete
I am more of a mid morning workout girl. I need some time for my coffee to sink in. Way to go this week!ReplyDelete
Sometimes I day dream about coffee during my workouts.Delete
Totally relate to this post! I don't have kids, but I very often work late or have commitments, so morning running is the only way most of the time that I KNOW it will happen. It does mean I'm probably often tired (I swear I could nap anytime, anywhere!) but it's worth it. I also don't really buy into fasted cardio, but its just the way it goes during the week for me because I don't have time to eat before a morning run. I met a friend on Friday at 5 am for 14 miles and didn't have anything beforehand. Would I have felt better had I fueld before that long of run? 100% yes, but I didn't have time.ReplyDelete
Anyways, awesome post, really insightful and lots of great tips!
Ha ha Jessie, you left out the part about doing those 14 miles in zero degrees! Now that's legit!Delete
I am team early morning! For the few times lately that I slept in, and worked out later, I felt like I had very little time left in my day! I really want/need to get it done first thing, or I really don't feel like doing it later, despite how much I love running or working out. It's my morning jam ;) I am a firm believer of having clothes ready to go like you... but never thought about putting them in my workout room. Hmmm. I think that might be letting my husband off too easy. He should at least get a little annoyed while he's trying to sleep and the light of the bathroom door sneaks in. haha!! Also, I don't eat before my early morning runs either - other than a fig newton. 1-3 mile runs = 0 newtons, 4-6 miles = 1 newton, 6+ miles = 2 newtons. Fig Newton Power!!ReplyDelete
Lisa, you give the best advice! I love the idea of fueling with Fig Newtons. I'm terrible about procrastinating if I don't start my workout first thing.Delete
Gosh, we should be friends :-) We are totally in sync on the early morning workouts. It took me awhile to get in the groove, but it just made the most sense (with my work schedule as well)...and now, I'm hardcore LOL BTW, great week of workouts #FistBumpReplyDelete
EXACTLY! Working out in the morning isn't something that just happens, it's something that we've planned and trained for.Delete
There were times in my life I'd hit the gym after work on weekdays but I'd always revert to morning workouts on the weekends. There were also times I'd get in a pre-work workout groove. When I had kids, earlier was always better. In my heart of heart, I am a morning person, so a workout first thing is my first and best option. I love the idea of a silent alarm!ReplyDelete
Exactly, it's just so much easier to get it done and take on the day!Delete
I love this -- for me it's not being married but my job has a lot of evening events and I have to choose between getting up early and not running and I've learned to become somewhat of a morning person. It's amazing what happens when we prioritize ourselves.ReplyDelete
I'm all over the place with "fasted cardio". I wish I could run on coffee - or even walk with coffee, but I can manage a breakfast bar. Most days I don't need ot want it, today I was hungry while Half spectating.
that's the thing, on days that I don't work out sometimes I forget to eat breakfast and it gets painful when the hunger catches up to me.Delete
I totally stole this 1-2-3... workout today by the way. AmazingDelete
I was pretty consistent with morning workouts until I got injured last April. Since then I've had trouble getting back to a morning workout schedule, at least all the time. It's really hard to wake up that early! I'm trying to get back into that routine, but taking almost two whole months and just sleeping in every morning when I was hurt and unable to work out made it super hard to get back to early mornings.ReplyDelete
I feel you. You do an incredible job getting your workouts in, so maybe it's not broke and doesn't need to be fixed?Delete
I totally understand why you workout in the morning. About half of my workouts during the week are in the morning and the other half are right after work, usually around 4:30. I feel like that gives me a nice mix of getting the workouts done first thing in the morning and giving me a few days to sleep later and get the workout done in the afternoon.ReplyDelete
that it a good way to mix it up and take it easy on the early alarms.Delete
I've always been a morning runner. Back when the boys were littles, I got up at 4-430 to go before my husband left for work. I ran fasted out of necessity and I still run fasted unless I'm going longer than an hour. I can run in the afternoon, but I'll tell you, it feels way different than the morning runs!ReplyDelete
I ran in the afternoon one day last month when I was home from work and it was such a drag! It's so much easier when I do it first thing on auto pilot.Delete
Like you, between work and family, evening workouts never were an option. I started doing my workouts before my kids got up, and it stuck. It used to be more of a struggle, but now my body craves that morning workout. No way could I do coffee first. That’s my reward!ReplyDelete
YES! I only drink one cup of coffee a day (the size of the cup may vary) and there's nothing better than that first sip after my workout.Delete
If I have to choose I'll do AM over PM - I can't sleep if I work out too late in the day! But my ideal time is mid to late morningReplyDelete
this is totally me on weekends, get breakfast and coffee and a good bit of time to chill out before getting my sweat on.Delete
I also work out in the mornings for similar reasons that you do. I'm definitely a morning person so I do most things best early in the day. Now I know that if I dont get my workout done early, it probably wont get done.ReplyDelete
Agree, there's never anything else going on a dark o'clock so I don't have to choose, I can just do it.Delete
I also enjoy running in the morning though now I am having a hard time waking up. However, I know that most likely I won't go after work. I also like to drink coffee before going out for a run. I need something to wake me up.ReplyDelete
I know, the dark is just killing me. This was the first day that it was light out for my drive home after work, just need some daylight in the AM.Delete
This is awesome! And 25 miles on the treadmill is no small feat!ReplyDelete
I am absolutely Team AM. It's the only time I really have to get things done and since fitness is important to me, as well, I make it happen. Of course, things are going to change as I'm coming back from injury as I need to be more careful not to re-injure myself, but one thing at a time.
When it's a choice between treadmill or nothing, I'm so glad I have the treadmill. There's so much ice on the ground here that even our dog is having a hard time keeping her footing.Delete
I feel like anyone who starts working out in the morning never returns to the evening. It's so much better. I'm glad you found a schedule that works for you and that you sticking with it!ReplyDelete
Right, it just gets out of the way and done and we get to feel great all day. Mind you, before I *had* to start working out in the mornings I was totally team PM and couldn't imagine why anyone would *want* to work out early.Delete
Great post! I don’t eat before weekday morning runs either, mostly just because I don’t have time and I don’t want to talk myself it of it. Rolling out of bed, getting dressed and start running before I think about it too much seems to help :)ReplyDelete
Exactly, it's not that I'd talk myself out of it, but I'd just procrastinate too much and cut into my workout time.Delete
Great week of workouts! I am totally team AM and the earlier the better!ReplyDelete
High five team AM!Delete
I much prefer to work out early in the morning before my day's schedule gets hijacked. However, I must admit the frigid weather has me moving some of my runs to mid afternoon. I'm losing my mojo for dealing with the cold!ReplyDelete
I lost my cold mojo pretty early this year, and I have no ice mojo so until this stuff melts I'm stuck inside.Delete
I could have written this post, seriously. Well, the part about morning workouts. Not the workouts themselves - I'm just getting back to running so still reveling in the whole "I can run!" feeling.ReplyDelete
Anyway - morning workouts are the BEST. I never eat beforehand, go ridiculously early, and love getting it done before showering and getting on with my day. You never know when things will go sideways - at work or at home.