August 21, 2012

Training Tuesday: Attempting to Embrace the 4am Workout

First things first:  Today = first day of school.  It was great.  Truly.  I think I'm going to hold off on a recap until the end of the week and just reflect on the whole thing.  But I must at least share the obligatory first day of school picture.  Second: Today = second class of a new grad class.  After last week's first session of this new class, I thought this course would be a cake walk.  I may have jinxed myself with thinking that, because umm after tonight I am ready to curl up in a ball and cry.  Or consume some adult beverages.  Or something along those lines...For now ut though I'm just laying in my bed at 9pm, unable to process anything else.  The four projects that were detailed to us tonight can wait until tomorrow...or the weekend.  Yes, four simultaneous projects.  Sweet.

But since my brain is completely exhausted from class and I cannot bring myself to discuss anything that reminds me even remotely of class (i.e. teaching in general), I'm going to talk training.  It is Tuesday after all, right?

Yesterday I grumbled about my alarm going off at 5:30...well today it went off at...gulp...4am.  Yup, you read that right.  Let me give you a little background:  I love sleep with a gigantic passion.  Seriously.  I can take a nap anytime, anywhere and have a very close relationship with my snooze button.  But in the spirit of keeping up with my training even through the start of the school year, a time when in the frantic rush of starting new routines, excercise can go on the back burner and tends to STAY there for me if I let that happen, I was determined to start the year right.  I run Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday or Sunday with one extra day of an EASY/SHORT run or tiny run as part of a tri brick sometimes thrown in there too.  I've experimented with other days, but staying consistent with Tuesday/Thursday/one weekend day just works best.  The thing is, though, that I have grad school Tuesday nights, like I said, after class my brain is often complete mush and all I want to do is curl up in the fetal position bed, workouts rarely happen.  That means if I'm going to run, it better be EARLY.

I'm talking hella early.  On a normal day I am up between 5 and 5:30 for school, so if I want to make time to run and foam roll/ice (even super briefly!), that alarm is gonna go off E A R L Y.  Case in point:
This morning was FREEZING!  I even had to break out my arm warmers and GLOVES for the first time since spring!  Crazy town.  On the other hand, it was super energizing.  I love a good run when it feels like the world isn't really awake yet, and a run when you can see the stars certainly is a plus.  (Turns out the stars are shining bright at 4:30!)    I'm not sure if it's the speedwork or if it was just the cold, but I was speeding along this morning and feeling strong.  Of course though, my garmin decided to act up so I don't know my exact distance or pace, but I think I'm getting to the point where I can give a pretty good estimate based on feel.
Arm warmers on, gloves in hand, thighs frozen.  CRAZY!
Anyways, I'm starting to completely ramble.  Must be the 3 hours of grad school hell taking their toll.  I swear I had a point to this post.  *Looks back at title*  OH. Right.  Embracing the 4am workout.  Here's what I do to make that 4am workout happen when it needs to:

1. Sleep in running clothes. I've said it before and I'll say it again--If my alarm goes off hella early and I am not already wearing running clothes, 9 times out of 10 I'm sleeping right through it.  There is something so pathetic about having to change out of workout  clothes without having worked out that gets me out of bed.

2.  Pack lunch and teacher bag the night before.  This is probably something I should do every night (should being the key word), but it's an absolute MUST if I want to squeeze in that workout.  Every second of sleep counts.
3. Lay out school outfit the night before.  There is no way I am going to waste time rummaging through my closet on a crazy early morning.  Once again, I love sleep and I don't want to give up a single second I don't have to!
4. Last but not least, tell someone you're going to workout in advance!  If you have a workout buddy, that's super easy, but even just mentioning to a friend on the phone the night before or a coworker that afternoon that you're planning on an early morning workout the next day gives you some tiny amount of accountability.  Obviously my friends could care less if or when I work out, but having someone say, "Did you actually make it out on that 4am run?" and being able to say, "Why yes I did, believe it or not!" still helps. :)

How do you squeeze in training when days are long and busy?

Any tips for getting out the door on early mornings?


  1. Holy crap lady! 4:15 am is just WRONG! I totally admire your determination and dedication to your runs. I tried that while marathon training a couple of years ago...woke up at 4:15 so I could be out the door by 4:45-5. I agree, the world is a beautiful place at the buttcrack of dawn, and the stars are lovely. I did find that the closer I got to my marathon race date, the more exhausted I became thus, those early runs (at least for me) lasted only 2 months. It's tough to get runs in early in the morning when we have to be to school early. Even tougher to run after school when you're so tired from a long day at school. Keep on keepin' on! And, good luck with your new school year! (I start tomorrow :0) ).


  2. That's going to be me next week! UGH! I've done it a few times this summer when things got crazy - but I KNOW if I want to run, it will have to be in the morning before school. I'm so happy to read I'm not the only one to sleep in running clothes! And I do have all of my bags ready the night before and lunch - it just makes live easier! Best of luck with school and grad class. And feel free to drink your way through the class. Some of my papers were best written with some adult beverage in me!

  3. Ugh. I have two weeks left of vacation before I'm going to attempt the 4 am workout. I need to be out the door for school by 6 to be there at 7. How were you feeling around 3pm? I'm worried that I'll be dying for a nap when it's time to drive home! Great job getting that run in!

    1. At 3 I was ok, but when I sat down in class at 5:30 my eyes were barely open!! Oh well, I really only need to be partially awake for grad school anyways, right?? :)

  4. I have almost the exact same schedule when school is in session (in service starts next week). I should really start practicing getting up early and going running first thing... maybe tomorrow! Good luck this week! :)

  5. AMAZINGGGGG! 4am running is HARD CORE! sleeping in running clothes for an early morning run is absolutely key for me...otherwise i am SURE to forget something or just be stumbling around for far too long in the mornings:) great job! cant wait to hear about your first week!

  6. Amazing! I need this type of inspiration to start running BEFORE teaching. By the end of the day it is so easy to just sit down and be a bum. I will be taking your 4am workout steps and putting them into action!

  7. Woah, that is awesome!! I've tried sleeping in my workout clothes, but I always end up oddly uncomfortable in the middle of the night from them. I totally adore your teacher bag and lunch bag though!! I think I was eying up your teacher bag the other year on zappos.

    1. Thanks! You are right, the bag is from Zappos and I picked up the lunch bag at Target the other day :)

  8. When school is in session I am more of an after school work out person. But if I can't fit it in any other time I will get up early. Actually I do my swims early twice a week so what am I talking about?
    Cute first day outfit.

  9. Holy crap!! I just can't get past the 4:30 am stuff. I physically could NOT do that. I am bowing down to you. Well, actually I'm in bed with my iPad, but if I was standing I would definitely bow:)
    Grade ONEderful


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