And it’s time to stop working against myself. Now don’t get me wrong, I love my Wednesday night group runs and my Thursday night cycling group. The running group in particular is a great mid-week treat, and it’s the time to catch up with people I wouldn’t otherwise see. But for solitary workouts, I would so much rather swim, bike, run or whatever in the morning before work than after. And here’s why:
1. I don’t have to worry about what I eat all day. Now I’m not saying that a morning run gives you free reign to eat whatever you want all day, but when I know I’m going to run after work, I have to pay attention to what I eat, at least in the several hours leading up to the run. Last week I skipped my office building’s ice cream party because it was 4pm on Wednesday and I had run group at 6pm. And I don’t like missing out on free ice cream. Thankfully that’s a rare event, but recently I’ve learned I cannot run after eating an apple. An apple! I can be more lax with cycling, but I’m even more strict with swimming.
2. I’m free to do spur of the moment things like go to a baseball game if a friend has an extra ticket. Again, not a frequent occurrence but it’s always nice not to feel torn between a workout and being social.
3. I get to eat dinner after work. This is honestly the main reason I struggle to exercise after work. By the time 6 o’clock rolls around, I’m ready for real food, not a pre-run snack that could end in stomach pain (see #1).
4. I can use the evening for work. Not the most exciting reason but it’s true. Since I don’t stay late on Wednesday or Thursday except if there’s some sort of work emergency, Monday and Tuesday are tempting nights to catch up on work. By the time I stay an extra hour or two, I’m even more ready for dinner (see #3) and less interested in a workout.
5. I have more energy/dedication in the morning. By the end of the day I want to eat dinner and relax. If I have a workout scheduled (by someone other than myself – such as Hal Higdon or Beginner Triathlete), I’ll do it with no problem. But right now when I’m kind of making up my own schedule, it can be easy to convince myself I really ought to rest tonight.
6. Sometimes I have trouble falling asleep after exercising. I’m not sure why, but it’s true. After I work out, I’m more energized, which is great, but it takes more than the two hours (or less) between working out and trying to fall asleep for me to wind down I guess.
7. I can take fewer showers. I prefer to shower in the morning before work, so if I’ve showered post-run in the evening, I feel wasteful and silly when I also shower in the morning.
The big caveat here is that it’s summer right now, so the sun is up by 6am, allowing me plenty of time to run or bike for an hour or so before work. Of course in the winter, it’s dark both before and after work, so cycling will be done indoors, so I take that back. No caveat. Morning workouts are best.
I will admit that every time I struggle to get out the door after work but do it anyway I’m glad I did, at least until I can’t fall asleep. But if I can exercise in the morning, I don’t set myself up for failure when I’m tempted to skip the evening workout.
As for tips for working out in the mornings, maybe that could be another post. My number 1 piece of advice is to set out your clothes and accessories the night before, especially for cycling because it requires more pieces (water bottle, helmet, Road ID, sunglasses, ID and cash, bike, etc.) Preparation really makes the morning go more smoothly.
This post brought to you by the fact that I didn’t want to ride my bike tonight, and I realized I had no workout scheduled for tomorrow morning so I could just push tonight’s ride to the morning. Hurrah!