Monday, October 1, 2012

How (and why) I Wake Up Before 5am

Saturday morning I went out for a run before hitting the gym. As I don’t have another race until the Poland Spring Marathon Kick-off at the end of October and the weather was cool and the sky cloudy, I decided to just head out and decide along the way where to go and how long to run. Turns out, that’s a great way to run. (At least for me!) I ran through Battery Park, then up the esplanade through Battery Park City along the Hudson River, up the West Side Highway and back down. It was a great, comfortable run that ended up being about an hour long. I need to do more runs like this!

So, I like to run, and go to the gym, first thing in the morning. I’m a big fan of working out bright (or dark) and early for a few reasons, some of which are -
  • I get it over and done with so I can move on with my day
  • It gives me energy for the day (as long as I get enough sleep the night before)
  • I don’t have to worry about fitting it in after work
  • I much rather run when it’s cooler out in the morning than the heat of the day (more important during the summer, than now)
The truth is though, I haven’t always been good at waking up early to workout and some days I really just want to hit snooze and go back to sleep. It seems that this has been happening more lately, but I’m working on getting back into the groove which is part of the reason why I thought it’s a good time to write about making the commitment to wake up and workout. It seems that 9 times out of 10, when I tell someone that Woody and I wake up at 4:50am to get to the gym, they are astonished, think we’re crazy, and say they could never do it themselves. 

While I know there are "night people" and "morning people", I do think that a lot of people who say they just can’t get up early, really could if they gave it a try. It’s not easy at first, but it is doable. It’s like working out in general – if you want to do it, you have to make it a priority and make some adjustments in your life to make it happen.

Here are some of my tips for making time to workout in the morning -
  • Start gradually. Set your alarm 10-15 minutes earlier every Monday until you’re setting it for the time you need to get up for a good workout. And get up at that time at least 3 (but 4 is better) days each week. For the first few weeks, just spend that extra time stretching and getting used to waking up a little earlier.
  • Go to bed earlier. You still need the same amount, if not more, sleep. Sleep is so important to a healthy life and something we often overlook and give up to fit other things in. [This is what I’ve been having trouble with lately which has been hurting my early morning wake-ups]
  • If you need to, set two alarms. Or put your alarm a few feet from your bed so you have to get up to turn it off.
  • Put your gear out the night before so you don’t have to think about it, or spend the time on it, in the morning.
  • Have a buddy. While I started my early morning routine on my own, I find that it’s really helpful that Woody’s on the same schedule. It’s definitely harder to get out of bed when he’s still sound asleep. It just looks so good.
  • Don’t think about it, just do it. I find that if I hesitate when my alarm goes off, I’ll want to go back to sleep. But if I just turn off the alarm and get up right away, I’ll get to it. Remind yourself of why you need to get up. Do you have a race coming up that you’re training for? Are you meeting a friend or trainer? Are you hoping to lose a few pounds? Are you trying to lower your blood pressure? Think of your goal, not the pillow!
  • If you really want to work out the next day, don’t drink (or limit drinks) at night. It’s so much harder to wake up after a night which includes a few cocktails or glasses of wine.
So, there you have it. On the weekend we get up a little after 7 because our gym doesn't open until 8am and I usually go for a run on the weekend anyway. We find this time works well either way, so we get up and going and don’t waste the weekend.

Obviously it really helps that we live close to our gym, that we have another (small) gym in our building we can use in a pinch and there are plenty of safe places to run. But even if you don’t have all this close to you, there are great websites that offer workouts for streaming and you don’t need much to start a routine in your home. Just a little space (which is what we’re short on here)!

run 6-2.2

When do you workout?
Did I miss any good tips?
What goal are you working towards right now?
What are you looking forward to this week?

Today’s workout -
  • 40min elliptical
  • 3x10 weighted side bends
  • 3x10 pully side twists
  • 3x10 row
  • 3x10 back extensions
  • ab exercises
  • stretching


Amanda Loudin said...

Yes! to six and seven! Really pretty key for me. And I am like you--I'm just more of a morning person so it makes it easier. Great tips.

Christy Hammond Gerdes said...

I love getting my workout done in the morning. I usually am up at quarter to five but usually don't run until later.

Ingrid said...

I am hoping to transition to morning workouts - or should I say, I am PLANNING to workout in the morning (no more hoping, just do it!). This was helpful to read, thank you!

Christy said...

These are GREAT tips! I feel like whenever I meet someone who wakes up so early to hit the gym, they always just say "Oh I've always been a morning person" but these are concrete, helpful tips that I think I could start to implement!

I see that you're reading "A Life Without Limits," I just finished it this weekend! Great read right?

Have a great weekend in Portland! I'm headed to Bar Harbor (via Portland) next weekend for the Mount Desert Island Marathon!

Molly said...

I used to be an early riser too, so that I could hit the gym before work. Once the kids came along sleep took over (or lack of sleep lol) I do prefer to run in the morning, but now a days it's more of a fit it in whenever you can type thing.

Lisa_earlymorningrun said...

Yes, I imagine it is probably easier to wake up and workout early for those of us without kids.

Lisa_earlymorningrun said...

Oh, I'm glad you found this helpful! That was my hope!

I did just finish Chrissie's book too! Loved it and definitely recommend it to others. I should post a review soon...

Lisa_earlymorningrun said...

Yep, that's it. You have to commit to it to make it happen! good luck and let me know how you're doing!

Lisa_earlymorningrun said...

Ha. That's funny! I didn't have #7 until I told my husband that I was writing this post and he reminded me to include that one!

J (Morning Runner) said...

Love the morning workout! I often don't feel as well during the day if I don't get up and at least do some sort of exercise in the morning!