Managing Morning Workouts

Happy Monday! I recently had some questions on what time of the day I work out, so I’m doing posts on morning and lunch time workouts.  First off, I’m a firm believer in morning workouts!  I like to get my workout done done first thing because that way there’s less room for obstacles to get in the way during the day, and there’s no time for me to flake out.  At 5 AM I don’t have time to consider whether I want to workout or not, I just DO it.  And maybe I’m crazy, but I kind of like a good sweat early in the day; I feel accomplished the rest of the day.

On most Tuesdays and Thursday mornings I meet my friend/neighbor for a 4-ish mile run (sometimes our husbands join us).  The morning goes like this:

  • 5:05 AM – get dressed, get water
  • 5:15 to 5:50 AM – run
  • 5:50 to 6:00 AM – cool off, pack lunch, prep breakfast
  • 6:00 to 6:45 AM – shower, dress, make-up, hair
  • 7:00 AM – arrive at work (eat!)

Some of the below tips are probably very obvious, but I thought I’d throw out what works for me! 

Lay out everything the night before.  If I’m going to exercise outdoors, I always check the hourly weather the night before so I know if I need gloves or a headband (or more).  I lay out my running gear (sometimes in the closet if I need to change while David is still sleeping), shoes, and a blinky light, and grab my water bottle before heading out the door.  


If I’m going to the gym to swim or do a spin class then I layout my gym bag the night before and set out the work clothes & make up I’ll need if I go from the gym to straight to work.  Plus food and snacks.  I keep a couple separate small bags:

  • Swim bag: contains goggles, swim cap, my swim shampoo, conditioner & lotion, and ear drops
  • Make-Up Bag: I keep my daily make-up in a small bag that can easily be taken to the gym if I need, for workouts like spin/swimming when I shower then go directly to the office.  I found a great Smashbox BB cream that doubles as a moisturizer and sunscreen to throw in my make up bag for post-swimming to combat the dryness.

Have a fitness buddy to meet.  This has been huge for me!  I’m ever so lucky that my running friend moved in next door.  I can’t tell you how many times we’ve dragged each other out.  I know if she’s up then I need to be up too.  And I really look forward to her company and catching up with her, even though some of the miles are speedy and silent when we push ourselves.  I’ve also been a member of a running group the past few years – if your friends are out there early, you won’t want to leave them hanging.

Check local clubs for group AM classes.  You’d be surprised how many AM classes are available at your gym and even at local bike/tri shops.  I recently took a tri shop spin class at 5 AM.  I also find group events via tri teams/clubs that I follow on Facebook or twitter.  Other options that take place early are boot camps in parks (check Groupon), Crossfit, or running groups.

Plan your breakfast ahead of time.  I don’t like to rely on restaurants/processed food for breakfast, so I try to plan breakfast ahead of time.  Great breakfasts on the run are smoothies, especially if you have a to-go cup with straw.  I’ll even put everything in the blender the night before, except frozen fruits, and leave it in the fridge, ready to blend in the morning.  Yes, those are cucumbers and carrots in the smoothies and they taste deliciously fresh.


I’m also really liking overnight oats lately – I’ve done this for years, just soak oats in milk overnight in the fridge.  I like to add ground flax seed, chia seeds, nuts, dried or fresh fruit and sometimes a dollop of Geek yogurt.  It can be served warm or cold.  I found these great pint-sized Kerr jars that are perfect for overnight oats and don’t spill on the way to work!  Pictured below is cinnamon-raisin spice and strawberries and cream.


And lastly, a safety note – if you’re working out in the morning in the dark, be sure to have a buddy (especially if you’re a woman as most attacks are on women), and some visibility gear.  And maybe it goes without saying, but go to bed early!   Sleep is #1.

Does anyone else out there love morning workouts like I do?  Or am I crazy (my husband thinks so)?

6 thoughts on “Managing Morning Workouts

    1. No problem 🙂 For the 4 mile runs, I usually go on an empty stomach, or if I wake up hungry I eat a date or spoonful of nut butter (those sound weird, but sit well in my stomach). For spin or swimming, I almost always eat a Clif or other granola bar beforehand, I need the fuel!!

  1. Great post. I find morning are hard in the winter but feel so good once you get them done and seem to make those days with multiple workouts just that much easier.

    Also, I can’t recall where but I just read an article that included a study about workout times in relationship to race performances. So another reason to get up and do your workouts in the morning is you’ll be better prepared for your next race as they also get started earlier and earlier in the morning.

  2. love the post! i have to say though, there are few things i hate more than morning workouts…like, migraines. or running out of cream for my coffee 🙂 haha, so kudos to you!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s