How to get into a morning workout routine

How did this happen? I used to ONLY workout in the evenings even when I started marathon training three years ago (well, except for the weekly long run).

Then two months ago, I started to slowly change that routine after many years of wanting to. I can’t say that I am consistent with any sort of schedule yet except that half of my workouts for the last month have been in the morning, so yay!

IMG_3451.JPGAnd I’m cheating a little, aside from the long runs and track workouts with GCTri on Tuesday mornings (and I bailed this morning when I got woken up at 4am to heavy rain, thunder and lightning), most of the morning runs have been on the treadmill. For some reason, it’s easier to convince my sleepy body to go to the gym than to run outside. I’m telling myself that it’s okay though because running even on a treadmill is better than not running at all and I typically just save my easy runs for those mornings.

So what changed? It’s hard to wake up earlier than you need to and to adjust a routine, but I found a number of factors really helped motivate me.

  • IMG_3454.JPGRun with a group. When I set my alarm for 5:00AM for the first track workout with GCTri, I was cursing myself. Then I woke up and made way to meet the group and came back with a runner’s high.
  • Lay out your clothes the night before. Sometimes my clothes just sits there all day, but half of the time I end up using it in the morning. It’s so much easier to not think in the mornings and just go with what’s laid out.
  • Have a plan. Even if you don’t run with a group, I find that it helps knowing exactly what my workout will be in the morning – 45 minutes easy or cross-training, etc. The other thing to plan ahead is whether you’ll want to eat and what in advance of working out (it’s recommended/ideal to drink water and eat at least something, bananas are good, but everyone is different).
  • Sign up for a class. Just as a running group can hold you accountable, I find that it helps to sign up for a class in the morning. Studio classes (for me, it’s barre and spin) are so expensive that I feel bad missing one if I snooze.
  • Go to bed earlier. Even if it is only 10 minutes earlier, it will make a difference.
  • Don’t stay out too late the night before. I try to plan my week accordingly. I know that if I want to workout in the morning, I can’t stay out late the night before. The day I have plans after work, I make it a point to workout in the morning.
  • Mind over matter. I’m a big believer that if you want to do something, you will (like marathon training, anyone want to join me yet?). It only took me 10 years and I’m still not 100% there yet, but I’m getting better at morning workout thing.

Benefits of morning workouts. I used to love working out at night because it was a way to decompress from the day but I’m finding that I really like some of the benefits of a morning routine.

  • IMG_3455.JPGMore flexibility after work. This usually means I can stay later at work (I know, that’s a not a great reason), but it also means that I can make plans to go out without feeling bad about missing a workout.
  • Less focus on when to eat during the day. I typically pre-pack snacks for the day, so it’s not as big of a deal about what I eat but rather when I eat. When I don’t have a run after work, I don’t need to worry as much about eating a late lunch or snacks.
  • Being outside before the hustle and bustle. It’s nice walking or running around town before everyone else is up commuting. Even urban environments can be peaceful at 5:30AM.
  • Start the work day feeling great. I am much more alert and peppy when I run in the morning. I wonder if my coworkers notice?!
  • My Nike FuelBand appreciates it. There’s something energizing about looking at my Nike Fuel during the day and see that I’ve already met my daily goal and it’s only noon.
  • Double workouts. Since I usually run 5-6 days a week, sometimes the only way to get an extra barre class in is to do one thing in the morning and another at night.
  • No excuses. Things happen during the day and I used to have a lot of excuses for skipping a workout. When you’re done in the morning, you’re done and you don’t have to worry about making excuses.

What is your routine? Do you like to workout in the morning or evenings?

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