As you read this I am most likely doing my early morning workout. I am repeating the workout that was supposed to happen last week. Fingers crossed!
When I first made the decision to finally go after my Boston Qualifiying dream, I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. Nothing worth while ever comes easy right?
I knew that I had to get my mind set to do what it took to get there. It wasn’t always easy, but at the end of the day crossing that finish line and succeeding at that goal was worth every second. Now as I look towards my next goal, I am reminded just how rewarding all the hard work can be and that will again stay at the forefront of my mind throughout training!
I knew one of the hardest parts for me was going to be finding the time to train. Sure, I could have it a lot worse but I knew that if I wanted to be able to do workouts, 6-10 mile tempo runs, and the easy days that I couldn’t wait until after work.
I made my mind up then and there to get my runs done first thing in the morning.
There are a lot of benefits to getting your run done first thing. Having it over and done with is nice come 5:30 pm and it sure does motivate you throughout the day. However, making sure you are ready for a 10-12 mile run at 4:00 AM takes a little extra preperationg.
Here are my tips for preparing for early morning workouts.
Have a Plan
My husband can go out the morning of and create his workout in his head. I can’t. I would sit there for 30 minutes trying to come up with something. I always make sure that I have my workout planned out the night before. Following a training plan helps with this, but even if you aren’t having a workout ready takes the thinking out of it so early in the morning.
If I am going to be stuck on a treadmill, I’ll also write out my workout on a sheet of paper along with all necessary speeds and treadmill settings. Using my brain so early in the morning doesn’t always go so well.
Watch What and When You Eat
Running early in the morning can be tricky when it comes to what you eat at night. I pay special attention to this when I have a workout planned.
I make sure that I am eating early enough to avoid digestive issues, but also at a time that it will still help me. I usually will eat dinner around 5:45 pm (whenever I can get it fixed after work) and then have a snack again around 7:30 pm.
I try to stop eating at least at 8:00 pm to avoid stomach issues. I also try to choose milder and easily digested snacks.
Just like with my workout themselves, I make sure every single thing I’m going to need in the morning is laid out the night before.
This usually includes: shorts, top, sports bra, socks, shoes, head lamp, Garmin and mace (obviously not all is laid out above). It never fails if I don’t lay it out I will forget it.
Leave Yourself Enough Time
It’s already tiring and stressful some mornings getting up early, and being in a rush can make that worse. I always try to leave myself a little wiggle room so that if the run doesn’t go as planned or something happens I’m not rushing.
It doesn’t always work out, and even though it is hard to set my alarm 15-20 minutes earlier than I really need to it, it pays off in the end! Don’t make your workout more stressful by putting yourself on too much of a time crunch.
Have a Reward
On most of my runs, I am always looking forward to something at the end. Most mornings it is my coffee but sometimes a smoothie or just breakfast gets me motivated.
Have something to look forward to at the end of your run and it makes it even more exciting to get out there and get it done!
Just Do It
I know it sounds simple, but some days that just what it takes. Get out of bed, put your clothes on and get out the door. Don’t think about it, don’t complicate it just get it done.
Yes, tempo work and speed workouts can sometimes be harder in the dark but you can still get it done. It will make it seem even easier when you do get to do it during the daylight hours.
Don’t Pysch Yourself Out
At the end of the day, it’s just a workout. I know coming from me that’s odd to say. Yes, if you have a bad workout it can mess with your head. However, there is always another workout coming soon. A new day.
There are so many factors that play into your workout performance. Did you hydrate enough? Did you eat enough? Did you eat the right things? Are you coming off a tough training week? Did you stretch? Did you foam roll? Did you get enough sleep?
A workout is a culmination of a whole lot of things. Some days you have it and some days you don’t. If you go into it with the right mindset (early or not) you will find that it is much easier to accept when you have a bad day.
Work Into It
The first thing I noticed when I started doing tempos at 4:00 in the morning is that for some odd reason the dark throws your pacing off. I don’t know what it is, but I’ve talked to several other people who have had the same problem.
The first mile usually is the slowest for me, sometimes I start off too fast, but in the dark it seems to be a slower start. You’d rather start off slow then fly out and burn out. Start slow and work your way into it. Try to feel the pace the best you can.
It will take some adjustment, but early morning workouts are very rewarding!
Do you ever do workouts in the early morning?