Falling Off the Early Morning Workout Train

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I’ve always been an early morning riser – I can remember being in grade school and waking up early each morning so that I could shower, have breakfast and watch TV – all while the rest of my family was still sleeping. The Army and I got along great because I enjoyed the super early wakeups for physical training (PT) or other drills. When running entered my life, it immediately occupied my “first-thing in the morning” space and I’ve never really looked back. I feel more productive throughout the day, I tend to make better choices about food and I’m more committed to getting my workout in when it is first thing in the morning.

After Philly and Rehoboth, I gave my body a break from early morning wakeups and slept in a lot. It was glorious. After months of really early workouts for Philly and Lake Placid, it was amazing to not have to rush out the door at 5am to ensure I’d be back in time for my husband to go to work. Some days I was able to run while the boys napped, other days the naps didn’t work out so I didn’t run – which was a-ok with me since I was in recovery/easy mode.

When I started training for LA about 6-7 weeks ago, I started again with the early morning workouts but then life got in the way and it’s been all downhill since. The boys have been not sleeping great (my oldest has been waking up at least once every single night since November and my youngest occasionally wakes up), I’ve been staying up later at night (no excuse for this) and I’ve been sleeping terribly. These have affected my motivation to get up early. I literally set my alarm every single night with intentions of getting up at 5am but either have shut the alarm in my sleep or knowingly said screw it and have gone back to bed.

Ryan bed

My view most mornings =)

I absolutely love spending more time with my husband at night or waking up next to my little guys or just getting a bit more sleep, but it has made training a bit trickier. I’ve had to do some longer workouts with both boys playing down the basement or do them at night after my husband comes home from work or have cut them short when they wake up early from their naps (I won’t do tempo or interval workouts with them around – it’s hard for me to concentrate on my own AND the two of them at the same time!).

I know I have it easier than many other moms/working moms/working runners out there because I do have the flexibility of occasionally being able to run during the day. So I’m not complaining about my situation – more just annoyed with myself for skipping my morning running for so long. When I run in the morning, I am a happier person. I feel like the whole day opens up for me – I don’t have to time the boys’ naps or be home when they are napping to run – we can do more outside the house. And I just feel like I’m ready to conquer the day when the miles are finished early.

I’m happy to say that I finally got up this morning (at 5:15am!) to do my tempo run. I didn’t start until much later than planned (I need to work on how much time I waste in the AM) but I successfully got the 10 miles in + Pilates DVD before my husband had to leave for work. Success.

boys and me

In my opinion, there’s no secret to working out early in the AM. Have clothes ready to go. Put coffee on automatic timer. Maybe have some sort of accountability via social media or a friend. They could all work. But I think the biggest is just getting enough sleep – consistently. No matter how committed you are, it’s really hard to get up at 5am when you go to bed after midnight on a regular basis. I was in bed at 9:15 last night and felt ready to go when the alarm went off this morning.

Hope you stay safe, dry and sane (!!) if you are getting or going to get some of this crazy snow the next couple of days!!

Are you an early-morning runner? What’s your best tip? 

Are you in the path of this snowstorm?


I don’t post here every day, but I post all of my workouts (and other happenings) on Instagram on a daily basis {NYCRunningMama}.

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    53 thoughts on “Falling Off the Early Morning Workout Train

    1. Eeeee!!! This is me too! I used to work out early all the time and I have no excuse either!!! I also can’t complain because like you I have it way easier than some. But lets just face it with kids at home and stuff that needs to be done there….it is not like I can just go at any time. For me it is either early (makes me happy), squeeze it in at lunch/my kids break during school (what I have been doing and do not like) or after school 4ish (blah…no energy!). I must go to bed before midnight if I set my alarm for 6! :)
      Jen@milesandblessings recently posted..Happy Valentines Day!!!!My Profile

    2. Oh I love that last picture of you and the boys!! I hear you. I used to be all about the early morning workouts. I loved it and loved starting my days like that. I don’t know when it started but my cycles switched – I’m staying up later (to do work mostly) and sleeping in (thank goodness for my husband for getting up with the boys). I’m lucky in that both boys are in school so I can workout during the day but that also means putting off my work until later and then the cycle starts again. OY! I would love to switch back!
      Christine @ Love, Life, Surf recently posted..Old School Blogging: Valentine’s Day!My Profile

    3. I am an early morning runner too that has “gotten off the train” for a bit due to weather and just wanting to stay up late to spend time with my husband or sleep in to snuggle with my kiddos too! I’m getting back on track as well and I love the feeling of waking up early to run and workout. Like you said there is no secret. Having your clothes ready and a plan is a big one. So is having a friend to meetup/text for accountability!

    4. I’m the same way right now. I love running first thing in the morning and having it done before work at 8. I have a desk job, so most of the time if I have sat all day, it’s hard to get going and run at 5pm. I’ve been turning the alarm off a lot lately and doing more evening running, and it’s ok, but I don’t feel like I’m always running my best. I think the break and the sleep have been nice though, and I’m thinking once summer rolls back around and evening running isn’t an option, I’ll be back hoping out of bed at 4:45 😉

    5. I have always been a morning person and ALWAYS a morning runner. I agree with every reason you have for loving the morning runs. While I have stuck to my early workouts, this winter has had me wimpering to get going in the morning due to the freezing cold and dreary mornings – not easy getting out of bed.

    6. It’s hard for me just mentally but I got in the habit during a 100 degree Virginia summer when my normal 10am was already too disgusting to run and I was getting dizzy. Once I HAD to if I was going to run at all, it wasn’t hard to get up and then it just became habit.
      Emmeline recently posted..A low-key Valentine’s DayMy Profile

    7. I am a morning workout-er, but since I am taking a break from running, I have been taking classes at a local studio, if I no-show then I lose the class (and the money) and that is pretty good motivation to get up at 5 am. I’ve only slept through one class since I started doing this ha.
      Kelly @ Cupcake Kelly’s recently posted..Confessions of a Mom, Vol. 7My Profile

    8. I feel like this me, I set my alarm every night to wake up at 5am but when it goes off, I turn it off and go back to bed, this is a bad habit that I am having a hard time shaking. When I was a working mommy the only time I could run was at 4:45am but now I feel like well I am stay at mommy now and I can do it whenever and it has thrown me for a big loop.

      I am trying so hard to get back to morning runs, it’s easier if I do it the morning and then I have whole day with the littles…..I swear I do this to myself.
      Deana Jones recently posted..My 35th BirthdayMy Profile

    9. ahhhh this has been my problem too! minus the kids. so total laziness on my part. ive been staying up late watching tv/Olympics/crap before they started and sleeping in late. even my husband has noticed that I haven’t gone to a 6am barre class in months bc I don’t want to get up at 5am. but I too am a total morning worker outer and need to be more disciplined about it.

    10. I love running in the morning too but I took a 2 month break after NYC and when I came back it was cold in the mornings and it seems a lot darker at 4am during the winter than it does in the spring :). So I’ve been running after work instead and I definitely think my body prefers the run first thing before I’ve gotten tight or spent too much time sitting. Time change is in a few weeks and then I’ll be back out there in the am :)

    11. I would way rather prefer to run in the morning, but the kiddo has been doing some rather unfortunate early morning wake ups and since I’m now getting up anywhere between 5-6, I just couldn’t stand waking up at 4 to do it (just yet anyways). I think when we hit the time change I probably will be able to do the switch as when I run at night it really alters my sleep!
      Jade recently posted..Thinking Out Loud #6My Profile

    12. I am definitely a morning runner. Recently I’ve been running at night because of work and it’s just not the same! I think the best tip is to just get in bed earlier to ensure enough rest, and then make it a routine.
      Lucy recently posted..AustinMy Profile

    13. Early mornings are always tough, but like you I feel much happier when i get it done and out of the way. I’m a much more focused mom when I do. I have done a few naptime treadmill runs but it’s not my preference. And sleep is the key. I need to be in bed at 9 to get enough sleep to feel ready to move at 5. And i’m not sure what it is but Sophia has been up too! Jack sleeps like a champ but Sophia’s been having bad dreams and is up at least once a night a few nights a week.
      Sarah @RunFarGirl recently posted..Treadmill Workouts to Keep the Mind and Body EngagedMy Profile

    14. Agree with you! There isn’t a secret to it, besides maybe being born with an internal time clock that wakes you pre-6 AM. I lay my clothes out, along with my headphones or any other “gear”. I also have my water bottle full and ready to go. I literally am out the door within 10 minutes of getting out of bed.

      This did change while breastfeeding (We are just now weaning). I would have to get up an extra 20-30 minutes so I could pump, which made my workout time stupid early!

      Beyond having your stuff out, I would simply say make yourself do it for 2-3 weeks, and after that, it just gets easier as it has turned into a routine!
      Crystal@TheFastFitRunner recently posted..Becki Michael Interview – 2011 Akron Marathon Winner and My Running Coach!My Profile

    15. I’ve been failing to find the opportunity for an early morning run. My husband has to leave for work at 5:30 am and my little one is not able to go to the gym with me until 9 am and we wake up at 5 am…those 4 hours are tough as I have plenty of things that occur and get in the way of a run. Not to mention the snow has been causing closures and this hurts my training.
      Jenn@Mark My Miles! recently posted..I’ve been alive for 30 something years and FINALLY tried yoga.My Profile

    16. I run early in the morning, and agree with you that getting enough sleep is key. I can pull 5 hours of sleep for a couple of nights, but I’ll need to get back to my 6-7 hours pretty soon after that.
      Other than that, running motivation is key… if someone is running for any reason other that truly loving to run, then it’s hard to wake up so early.
      But when you really love running, are following a training plan that you want to stick to, or have a race coming that is important to you, then it does make waking up early easier.
      2 Cups ‘N Run recently posted..7 Reasons Why Being a Runner SucksMy Profile

    17. I so totally get what you’re going through. I have been so exhausted lately between my job and with training and with blogging that I always set my alarm, and I never make it out before work. I’ve been working, go run after work (which I hate because I feel like I don’t get home until too late), and then I write. I need to set my clothes out and get my lazy butt out there before work! Thanks for the tips doll!
      Cheri @ Overactive Blogger recently posted..How marathoning is like delivering a child.My Profile

    18. YES! I love to get my workouts in first thing in the morning as well. BUT that doesn’t work for our family anymore so I take what I can get when I can get it and that usually means 9am when the boys go to school. It’s fine since I don’t have to wake-up at the crack of dawn but it the summer, it’s pretty steamy by 9am!
      Good for you and your kids are adorable!!!
      Allie recently posted..Is It Work If You Don’t Get Paid?My Profile

    19. I’ve definitely been struggling with this, too, but only because I know my runs won’t go as I would like them to (struggling with an injury for about 2 years that doctors just can’t figure out). I, negatively, think “Well, I just have to use the elliptical anyway, so why even workout at all?” Self-talks at night sometimes help me focus on taking one day — and one elliptical workout — at a time. I’ve been varying my workouts more to keep it interesting until I can get some answers.

      Great post (as usual) 😀
      Lindsay recently posted..high five friday #49: goals and such.My Profile

    20. I’ve never really been a morning person, but I have been trying really hard. End of December/January I was doing really good getting morning workouts in a few times a week. I was making huge progress and feeling better about it and then the insomnia started. The 3.5 weeks now I have been getting less than 4 hours a night. (The first 2 weeks it was less than 3, this past week and a half its gone up to 4). Needless to say my morning workout routine stopped. I couldn’t manage it on no sleep.

      I did get up this morning for a run and it felt great to do it in the morning. Hopefully I can start getting back on track AND sleeping more.

      You are doing awesome with your training and you always seem to fit it in. Nice work getting up this morning getting workout DVD in! Thanks again for those DVD suggestions!
      Laura @losingrace recently posted..Freezeroo ‘Valentines’ 8 MileMy Profile

    21. Getting back into the groove of getting up early to run is so tough. It’s very hard to fight that desire to stay in bed and sleep in. I have definitely have trouble with getting up early from time to time, but for me, the biggest thing I can do is to just get up and get going on my run before I have time to think about how much I want to stay in bed. If I have time to think about whether or not I want to go, my chances of actually running are a lot lower.
      Beth @ Running with the Sunrise recently posted..Wordless Wednesday, 2.12.14My Profile

    22. Winter has made it really hard for me to get motivated in the mornings. Cold and dark make 5am a sad sad time. I do kick myself every time I have to workout after work though – working 10+ hours then trying to get in a quality workout can be challenging – I am usually not home much before 9pm then need dinner and shower and to wind down. Once I start the week on that foot it is hard to try working out in the morning bc by default I can’t get to bed early enough to get a good nights sleep. Sigh. Is winter over yet?
      Gianna @ Run, Lift, Repeat recently posted..2014: Spring GoalsMy Profile

    23. I agree – short of a good night’s rest, there is no real shortcut to making early morning workouts happen. My workday starts at 6am, but I like to get in a morning workout because it helps me make better choices. So my alarm goes off at 4am and I get in a short run on my treadmill before getting ready for work. It sucks sometimes when you’re going to bed early, but it’s always worth it.
      Karen recently posted..A Long Way to GoMy Profile

    24. I have to do my workouts in the morning, so 5/5:30am is when I workout. And, unfortunately, I have to do my workouts in our gym in the basement. I would love to get outside more, but my husband leaves before 5am, and like others have said, I’m just not a morning person, so getting up any earlier is just not doable for me. I’m not a great sleeper either, so I’m not even ready to get up at 5:30, but- I do it, because I feel guilty when I don’t. I feel more awake after my workouts, and better about myself. I find the best way for me to get up and get my run/workout done is to have a goal. I signed up for a spring half, and I have a friend I am running another race with, and I want to be ready- so training is a must :)
      I am right in the 6-12in of snow for this storm… so my treadmill is my best friend right now :)

    25. I don’t know anyone who LOVES getting up at 5:00am, but like you said, we are always glad when we do. Even if I go to bed at 9:00pm, it’s still hard for me to get up! Accountability in the form of a training partner or group is the way to go for me!

    26. I use to be an early morning runner. Up at 5 am, out the door at 5:15 and workout done before hubby and kiddo got up. Then my hubby started getting up at 5 am and commuting to work so I just couldn’t do it anymore. I can’t seem to get up any earlier than 5 am to go run or exercise. So now I am stuck running when I get off work or running on my lunch break at work which isn’t ideal but doable. Now I just need all of this snow to melt and the roads to clear so we can run outside again!!!!

      • I know a few girls whose husbands leave super early in the AM and I don’t blame you for not getting up earlier than that to workout – I mean, you’d have to get up in the 3 o’clock hour – that’s crazy! LOL. The only time I wasn’t an early morning runner was during one of my deployments when my workday started at 630 – but I was able to workout over my lunch break – not ideal, like you said, but doable =)
        nycrunningmama recently posted..Falling Off the Early Morning Workout TrainMy Profile

    27. I so agree–the day just goes much more smoothly if the workout is in first. I was kicking myself Monday b/c I let myself sleep in and then couldn’t get onto the bike until about 11 a.m., which was not what I needed to be doing at that hour. I’m going to give us both the excuse of winter for causing a little derailment! ; )
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