All very good replies above, so I’ll only add that while yes, it’s difficult and the lethargy can be hard to shake off, you’ll get used to it - I promise. I’ve trained early-morning for years and it was never an easy thing to do, but it did get more tolerable and my fitness was fully rewarded for the sacrifice and consistency.
Exactly what @chad and others have said.
When my alarm goes off at 0445, I think, why am I doing this? To be better, stronger, faster of course! After years in the Army, early wake ups are easy for me. However my tips are, when your alarm goes off, get out of bed and stand up right away. RIGHT AWAY!
I have everything preped. Even strong instant coffee in the mug with a spash of cold water. When the kettle is boiled, I make my brew and can drink it fast. After I feed the pride of cats I head straight to the garage and the cold is usually enough to wake me up fully!
All this makes a ‘lie-in’ until 0545 seem like a treat!
Alarm set at 2:15 am for an hour rides Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, yet to do 1 1/2 hour rides which would mean up at 1:45. On the bike by 2:45, done at 3:45, yoga till 4am, breakfast, feed and walk dogs, start my commute to work at 6:20 am, bed between 7 and 8 pm to get 7 or 6 hours, anything less, I’m washed up. Weekends, sleep in till 3:15, bike around 4 done by 6am. No kids, just dogs and the wife.
You are not alone! I struggle this with every month - have convinced myself this next training block will be the one where I make AM workouts stick.
Two things that have helped me:
Invested in a decent espresso machine that genuinely makes me happy (Breville Barista Express) - two shots of espresso straight to the face get me ready to crush the workout.
Asked a good friend to be my accountability partner - we text each other at 5:30 am when we get up to workout to encourage the other not to sleep in. It’s definitely helped on those days I hit the snooze button and then immediately hear my phone go off.
All the above suggestions are great! I’ve been getting up at 4:50am two to three times a week for a while and for the same family reasons. Along with having everything ready to go the night before, consider prepping your post-ride breakfast as well, so you can same some time before its time to head off to work.
Also, if most of your training rides are going to be early morning, make sure you do your FTP tests early as well.
Accountability buddy is a GREAT idea.
Second the espresso machine suggestion. My night before setup also includes getting TR app and my workout loaded on laptop as well as the entertainment cued up, AND my Nesprssso pod for the morning already selected and waiting with an empty cup on the machine.
If it’s going to be a depleted ride it’s just wake, espresso, kit up and go. For harder/ longer when I want some small food I’ll make a half jelly sandwich while drinking the espresso. Eat that on the bike during initial warmup minutes.
Doing all that tonight for Day 1 of new season of base, build, specialty starting at 5a tomorrow!
Job closer to home would be amazing!!
Indoor training removes some of the excuses in a way. Roll out of bed at 445, coffee and something small to eat while you get setup. On the trainer ideally just after 5.
Pray you’re finished before the kids wake up - which is ideally around 6:30 but if you’re unlucky like me this morning you get an unhappy onlooker from 5:30
Alarm goes off - get up straight away. I then grab a coffee and put my headphones in. Keep the headphones going whilst I get dressed and slowly start dancing about. After 10 mins of music, bit of dancing and the coffee is beginning to kick in. then on the trainer.
another early morning trainer here… as others have stated, once you get into the routine, it becomes as natural as falling out of bed.
At this point I got my alarm set for 5 am but, usually up way before that goes off. this is particularly nice during the summer months when you can get out on the road at or near sunrise to ride for a couple of hours before work.
I will stress the routine of the early morning training one more time… as for myself, I know I would not be as consistent in my training if I was to do these later in the day.
For all my ‘Get everything ready the night before’ advice, guess who spent 15 minutes searching for his shoes that he hadn’t unpacked after a race at the weekend…
Do as I say, not as I do!
Up by 4:45 and on the bike (or run, or in the car to the pool) by 5:00. No coffee – just get up, get dressed, stagger to the garage and get moving. Warm-up can take a while – I need more than 5 minutes of warm-up.
When it is really cold in the garage, bring your shoes inside. That way they are warm when you put them on. Makes a big difference when getting on the bike. I start in a heavy coat and drop it when I start to warm-up.
I don’t like interval workouts in the am. Body does better when it has been awake awhile. Sweetspot is fine at that hour though.
you will get used to it.
Everyone’s mentioning their morning routine but what about going to bed? What sort of time are you all going to bed/sleeping?
I’m also an early trainer. Alarm goes off at 0530, up, evacuate , grab Nespresso, feed cats and on the trainer for approx 0600.
I tend to go to bed at approx 2130-2200 and sleep asap on days I’ve got training in the morning.
Personally I hate working out first thing in the morning, but as with a lot of the posts on here, family and work often dictate it necessary.
I echo what has been said that intensity is really really hard first thing in the morning - but what is odd is that I only find it with cycling and running, not with swimming. I can swim and do really tough swim sets on just a slice of toast but if I was to do the equivalent bike or run set (with sprints and VO2 Max work) my RPE would be unbearable.
There must be a physiological and psychological aspect to this?
Same. Up at 5:30, go to bed by 9:30.
Early trainer here too. Usually on the bike around 5am depending on length of workout.
My tips are basically what others have said.
- Keep all bike and running clothes in the same room as the trainer so you can slide out of bed and change near the bike.
- Have bike, computer headphones ready to go at the bike. Just turn everything on
- Have coffee ready to brew hit the button as soon as you wake and chug it with small glass of water, eat if needed (oatmeal or bagel for me)
- Grab water for the ride
- Prep lunch night before so I can train with just enough time to eat, shower pack lunch and run out the door within the minute every morning
- Only downside is even on weekends even if you don’t need to wake early you still will (at least I do). So i train early on weekends early so it doesn’t mess with family time to much
I’ll echo what others have said. I do trainer rides in the morning 2-3 days/week
- Have everything ready the night before, coffee maker on a timer, clothes and shoes out, water bottle ready in the beer fridge, sensors paired.
- Try to get to bed and asleep before 10pm - rarely happens
- Wake @ 515 and dress
- Coffee, banana and/or something carb rich and easy to digest…I need something to eat if I’m doing a hard session and I need at least 5 minutes before getting on the trainer just to come too.
- Off to the toilet
- On to the trainer - finish my second coffee before the end of the warm up.
- Smash it
- Get the kids ready for school
I’m going to move my clothes to beside the trainer as someone suggested earlier
Instead of coffee, get a quick caffeine fix by adding a SIS Cola hydro tab that includes 75mg of caffeine to your water bottle. Great for fasted training.
I’ve immediately got my doubts…