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?

Weekend recap on Tuesday

A belated weekend recap – no running, lots of sitting, TV watching, icing and heating my hip, and lot of food.

I woke up with pain in my left hip on Saturday morning and had to bail on my 20-miler. I could barely walk without strain and decided I needed to go back to bed. I texted long run partner, Julio to let him know I wouldn’t be meeting him, let him tell me I was potentially dumb for going to spin class the night before, and went back to sleep. I woke up with even more pain.

IMG_2667I think Josh was secretly excited that I couldn’t run. We had 9 episodes of Glee on our DVR that I couldn’t watch throughout the season but refused to stop recording because out of principal, I had to see how the series ended. Josh was anxious to make space on the DVR. We ended up watching all of them on Saturday. By the end of the night my brain was mush.

IMG_2668Between our Glee episodes, we ate a lot, you’d think I was recovering from a 20-miler – breakfast foods (omelette for me, by the way, feta cheese will almost always make everything taste better), vermicelli bun with grilled chicken and a bubble tea, and chicken ramen soup, edamame, and a fortune cookie.

IMG_2669I also spent a lot of time trying to help my hip recover. Heating pad followed by icing, and very little movement, just from the couch to the kitchen only when necessary, oh, and the bathroom too.

By the end of our Saturday night, my brain was fried and my hip felt a lot better. I took Sunday off from running as well. It was hard but I had to remind myself that skipping the weekend’s mileage will hopefully pay off in the long run. While it was a constant mental struggle to not lace up this past weekend, I was surprised by how easily I gave in.

IMG_2673Sunday was spent doing everything we didn’t do on Saturday. I was able to move with very little soreness. I made it to my massage appointment and even took an epsom salt bath. Anything to help my muscles recover. Our FreshDirect delivery came in the morning and that meant I was able to play with my new toys.

IMG_2674For dinner, I made Icelandic cod with zoodles and a side of guacamole (I’m a big believer that guacamole goes with almost anything). The zoodles were plain with parmesan cheese and fresh tomatoes on top (yum!). We both really enjoyed them but just disappointed that 4 zucchini only yield 2.5 servings. I also made steel-cut oats for this week’s breakfast and pulled chicken for the rest of the week’s lunches/dinner.

By the time Sunday night rolled around, I was finally ready for more TV and caught up on my guilty pleasure, Revenge. It was a refreshing and relaxing weekend and hopefully one that will lead to a successful week in training (only 33 days left, ahhhh!).

How was your weekend?

Any new recipes to try?