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.