Early morning workouts...what's your routine?

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by patchsurfer

As it says, really. I've always struggled to do any kind of intenstity early in the morning - I kind of need an hour or two to get my skids underneath me before I really get going. The mind's willing, but the body just isn't interested. Late in the day, it can be anyone's guess what chaos the day wroughts upon the best-laid plans.

I've done a couple of early morning z2 rides lately after fuelling up the night before which have gone OK, but I'd struggle to do anything proper hard, inside or out.

Anything others do to get the fires lit, etc?



by Weenie

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by Singular

For me, daybreak is often the only option in order to have work, family life and other obligations to come together. I'll have everything laid out and prepared in the evening - clothes in the bathroom, gear and bike with filled bottle(s) by the door, only pumping up the tires is needed. If I'm riding road by myself, I'll inflate before going to bed living with that 6-10psi guess of latex overnight (as effort is more important than outright speed in my solitude).

In my case, riding before breakfast is OK at moderate speed/effort (Z2 as you say), but there is a clear threshold to faster than that - a small, light and preferrably sweet-ish breakfast (cereal, banana, the like) and a small dose of caffeine works like a charm to jumpstart me. I'm normally a big breakfaster, meaning that I'll have another go with the family when I get back. :)

All in all, it's 15-20 minutes from bed to bike.

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by mrlobber

This year, I basically switched almost all my training to early mornings as evenings became unsustainable time wise or too-late-starts (after 9pm), clearly compromising recovery and family obligations.

It probably is highly individual, but what helps me:
1) things Singular outlined as preparation the previous evening
2) good sleeping patterns established so you do not wake up really heavy-feeling
3) immediately after getting out of the bed, I down a large cup of water, which usually helps with emptying stomach in 5 minutes ;)
4) 20...25 minutes from bed to bike max
5) after the ride starts, at least another 20...25 minutes of Z1-Z2 warm up, if anything is planned above threshold, do a 5 minute threshold effort after those 20 minutes, so that total warm up reaches 30 minutes.

That way, I sometimes knock out VO2 max efforts before anyone has even woken up at home :) and, TBH, they do not feel that much harder for me than doing them afternoons.

I never eat anything before the morning rides, and neither while riding if the rides are 2 hours or less, except bring extra water which usually isn't necessary anyway. Provided you've fueled adequately the previous day, your muscles should have replenished glycogen stores during the night, which should be enough for up to those 2 hours.
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by LewisK

I'm on the turbo at 06:20 for somewhere between 1h10-1h40 depending on the session. My alarm is set for 04:40 although i do tend to wake up before as i like to have plenty of time. I have a small bowl of cereal and then a v.strong black coffee or a high caffeine drink depending on the intensity level.
Horses for courses but there is no way i could roll out of bed and be on the bike within 30mins or so!

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by AeroObsessive

As long as you hit up some intervals once a week or so, there is absolutely nothing wrong with hitting up z2 on most of your rides. In some ways, this is perhaps even preferable, especially if you can log some solid hours.

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by borist

I've done early morning sessions for quite a while. The above advice really nails it. Most important things I've found are:

1. Have everything ready the night before. Don't give yourself any excuses once you wake up - it shouldn't take more than 30 mins from bed to bike.
2. Fuel youself. For me this means a big meal the night before and something small as I'm getting ready (banana, bar etc).
3. Sleep routines. I cannot emphasise this enough.. it's rough on your body to just start waking up at 5.30am. Slowly change your sleep pattens to make it less of a shock and then it won't be as hard to get up. I use alarms/apps to tell me to go to bed on time and ensure I get a minimum of 8 hours.

Welcome to the club - there is something very special about being awake for a sunrise while everyone else is in bed :P

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by patchsurfer

Thanks all for the responses. I'm pretty good at getting myself out of the door and just going for a ride, or commuting to work - totally agree with all the points about organisation. I'll add to the prep list that I have the mocka pot charged and ready to go the night before so all I have to do is turn the hob on - slave, me? Bircher soaked overnight goes down quick and makes a good early fuel.

Good point about needing the longer warmups. I can't really say I've paid too much attention to that part. Full respect to you guys knocking out those intervals first thing. Once I'm off call next week, I'll get out early and do a long warm up and make some mental notes on how my body feels.

@aeroobsessive quite agree about the interval frequency. I've settled into a routine of 2 sets a week, one targeting aerobic threshold (SS or threshold work) and the other either in the 2-5 min work interval range or microintervals. I chuck a couple of sprints into an endurance ride to cover the NM side...but I'm probably not as rigorous about that as I could be.

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by kode54

All good advice. I do what most have said. Everything laid out the night before. All lights and computer charging overnight. If meeting at a coffee shop, I'll just have a banana and a bar before heading out and have a cup before riding. I get there about 20 min before everyone else does. I go to sleep early before 10pm...and my wife always makes fun of me...but after riding 2-3 hours...my wife is still sleeping when I walk in the door.
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by leejhayward

Whenever I know I'm out in the morning, I find hydration the main thing, closely followed by the correct loading of carbs. I will always drink an isotonic carb drink first, this will get into the system the fastest, give you a good boost of carbs and also get you hydrated. Then I'll eat a small, quickly absorbed snack, something like rice pudding (in Turkey we have a sugary equaivalent called Sutlac) and finally finish with the slowest release carb to fuel the later parts of the ride, something like porridge oats. I try to eat in the order in which the foods will be absorbed, so that the fastest absorbed stuff goes in first. That way I hope to get the best balance of carb release throughout the ride.

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by DavG

I watched a lot of videos about the morning routine, read the book, but realized it wasn't really for me. I can't get up before 7 a.m. because I fall asleep late. It's all because of work. I usually do a stretch, then a light workout.

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by bikeboy1tr

I work mostly afternoon shifts which means I dont get home until 11:30pm so my awake time is 7:30am. I pretty much have to eat a bowl of Vector and a Cappucinno before getting on the bike. I typically have my breakfast while watching Flo or GCN Race TV with some awesome inspiring bike racing to get me fired up for training a little later. I normally get out the door around 10am which gives me a couple hours on the bike or head out at 9 if I am looking for 3 hours training. Ususally try to be home for noon to get lunch and ready for work at 3pm. I know this is mid morning training but its what works for me with shift work. I normally prefer this to days as I find it mentally easier to train mid morning compared to after dayshift.
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by Cord1138

For early morning rides I now try to make sure I am adequately fuelled, around 20-30 minutes before I start I will have a banana and dates, I also add torque energy powder to my water bottles and consume them during the ride. If I am training indoors, I will have a banana per hour. It's a case of trial and error to see what works for you.

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by Spinnekop

For the past 10 years my standard regime is:
4am Wake up.
Get dressed, do the rounds, get bike ready, make bottles
Out at 5am.

Week days out for 1-2 hours.
Weekends out for 3-5 hours.
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by Cord1138

I also find that it takes 30-40 minutes before I can do anything under load efficiently, but only after I have fuelled properly and carried on fuelling during the workout

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by bestazy

Some mornings I absolutely do not feel like riding but I know the regret of skipping it will be far worse.
I also, the night before, set out my kit, shoes, socks, etc in a bathroom. Also helps motivate me knowing there are fewer things to do.
But I highly recommend having a mileage and route plan on a spreadsheet. If I have a specific goal, it's a lot easier to get moving.

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