I’ve gotten back in the habit – or discipline – of getting up grossly early to do my long runs (15 miles last week starting at 6am, 17 this week starting at 5:15am.)

The benefits are HUGE:

1)    you’re done before 8:30

2)    you don’t have time to dread it

3)    temps are great

4)    roads are peaceful

5)    you don’t have time to realize what you’re doing until it’s too late

Of course, there’s one catch.  You have to get up. And, it’s really in that few seconds…or sometimes minutes…that serious reconsideration happens. The warmth of the bed and lull of staying there beckons. But, really – that happens even 2 hours later – so does it matter if you just overcome it earlier?

I’ve always been a morning person. Even in college I would get up early to study or exercise. My roommates thought I was slightly nuts.

Morning workouts offer you the chance to get it out of the way, which means you’re more likely to get it done. Work conflicts, social issues or crises can’t intervene in the morning as much as they can in the afternoon or evening. Plus, the morning doesn’t give you a lot of time to talk yourself out of it.

Case in point: Today, I told myself I’d swim later. Guess what I’m doing – writing a blog and drinking a beer. It is Easter, but if I’d just gone early – it’d have been done. I don’t regret hiking with the kids and going on an extra long walk with my daughter as the substitutes, though.

In the afternoon, your body temperature is higher – which means you usually need less time to warm up. You’ve also had the time to fuel up and hydrate – but how many people really think about that all day before they’re afternoon workouts? More often than not, I hear “I shouldn’t have had that for lunch,” not – “I’m so glad I had time for extra water this afternoon.” An easy solution for early morning workouts – have a solid meal the night before and hydrate the day before (after your last early morning  workout.)

Now, that’s not to say that I don’t love my mornings in which I don’t have to work out — then I save the work for a little later. For me, the sweet spot time is right between 7 and 8am…right when the kids need to be preparing for school.

So, that time is reserved for weekends or holidays – and sometimes summer. Early now means 5 am. I’m aiming for 4 times per week at that hour. It helps that twice per week at that time – don’t have a choice.

And, when I’ve got a 2.5- to 3-hour run, that puts me done later in the morning when the sun’s cooking, people are out and things could be accomplished.

You don’t have to work out early to get it done. And, if you find yourself cutting your sleep hours or being non functioning later in the day because of a drive to work out early, reconsider. But, I encourage you to try it on. See how you like it.

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