TotR | What time do you work out?

So, I did something crazy (for me) a couple of weeks ago. I left the house 5:15  a.m. to go to the gym. Me, the vehement not-an-early-morning-runner.

I know. I think I am in the minority. Most people – especially runners – work out in the early morning, either to beat the heat or because they want to get the workout out of the way or it’s the only time they can get for themselves, and I get that.
I can’t say that it didn’t feel good to know that I got my 10,000+ steps in before 7 a.m. and that I could head straight home from work instead of changing into my running clothes.

However, the whole ordeal (getting to gym, workout, shower, get dressed, drive to work) took me much longer than I anticipated. I didn’t get to campus (where I work) until after 8 a.m. (I am usually there at 7 a.m.) and  finding parking turned out to be a real challenge nightmare. I had to park at a completely different parking lot far, far away from my building, even though I have a faculty/staff parking pass and on top of that, I was so late that morning that I still had to stay an extra hour to complete my 10 hour-work day. Mmpf. Not what I was going for. Obviously I had to figure out how long it really takes to get to the gym, work out, shower, AND get to work on time.

So I set my alarm for even earlier (4:30 a.m.) the next time and made it to work shortly after 7 a.m. There you go.

I am confident that I’ll optimize my timing even more in the future.  And what can I say? I think I actually like the early workout. Who knew?

To be honest, I had been writing this blog post in my head before I even gave the early alarms a solid month of trial and I had already planned out how I was going to complain that my experiment had failed, that there was NO WAY I would become a morning runner and that I was moving on.

I was ready to tell you that I would rather deal with the after work crowds at the gym than have my alarm set for an ungodly hour (which I consider to be anything before 6 a.m.).

I seriously didn’t expect  that I would have such a rather positive response to it. I thought I was going to give it a try (to be able to say that I actually did try) and then complain about the sheer impossibility of this. I guess we can all still all surprise ourselves sometimes.

To be fair, I am planning to only do the early, early morning runs twice a week before work. I’ll still be running during daylight hours (preferably outside, if the weather permits) on the weekends.

I very briefly considered attempting a mid-day workout at lunch time to see how that feels, because it’ll be the only time during the winter months when it’s light outside. Soon enough I will leave my house in the dark and return in the dark. I was dreading though that it would extend my usual 30-minute lunch break to a 2 hour lunch break (with showering and everything) and I still wouldn’t be home any earlier than if I worked out after work.

Let’s face it, I usually am an evening runner and probably always will be. I don’t really mind heading out for a run after work (when it’s light out in the summer), but I would like to have a little bit more time with J in the evenings, especially now that they days are getting shorter. Also, during the winter months, I won’t be running outside by myself anyway and would go to the gym after work. So I think for now, I’ll try and stick with the early mornings on weekdays.

When is your favorite time of day to work out? How do you fit it in with your work schedule, especially now that fall is coming and daylight hours are going to be drastically reduced?

I am linking up with Erika, Patty and Marcia  for Tuesdays on the Run again.


  1. When I’m actually able to run, I run with a club and our workouts are at 6 pm on Monday and Wednesday, and Sat am at 7 am. So that is when I typically run. I love running in the morning, but running before work doesn’t really work for me because I prefer outdoor running to treadmill running, and I didn’t feel super comfortable running outside in the dark… When I lived in a condo and had access to a gym, I would do strength training workouts before work as it was easy to go down to the gym. Now I never work out in the morning because it would require me to get up waaaay earlier than I would want to and it would be a logistical nightmare since i take public transportation. So on the week days, I work out after work. I mostly take classes right now so I either go to the gym for body pump at 5:20 or I take a spin class at 7. On the weekends I definitely prefer to get my workout in first thing so that I only have to shower once!

    I used to be able to get up at 4:30 or 5 am to workout and I loved getting it done before work, but now that I live with Phil, it would be really hard to do that because I would have to go to bed much earlier than he does and I really love those last couple of hours of the day that we spend together.

    All that said, I think it’s awesome that you’ve found a way to make am workouts work for you! It’s always good to have the flexibility to fit in workouts before work, especially during weeks when you have a lot of evening commitments!

    1. I definitely have come to love the outdoor over the treadmill runs, but in the winter, it’s just not very practical. You adjust with your circumstances – I know you had to do the same ;)

  2. I love the idea of running in the morning but the earliest I’m able to drag myself out of bed is 6 a.m. and that barely gives me enough time to shower, get dressed, and complete the few chores I need to complete before the kids wake up at 7. When I worked in the office I ran at lunchtime, now if I work out at all it’s either in the early afternoon while Ellie is in quiet time or right after Nathan gets home from work! It’s hard for me to find a consistent time … which is probably why my workouts are less than consistent :(

    1. I hear you – that was exactly my problem and I definitely don’t enjoy the 4:30 a.m. alarm (but once I am up, it’s ok). I can only imagine how much more difficult this is when you throw kids in the mix!

  3. I’ve been giving morning running a go for the last couple weeks. I’m TIRED because I’m still staying up late…but overall, I have to say that I’m enjoying it a lot more than I thought I would. I was always an evening runners — for years and years — but since having kids, it’s basically impossible unless I run at like 9 p.m. and that’s not really fun.

    1. I totally get that kids make it more difficult to find time to work out, let alone CHOOSE when to do it ;)

  4. Gah. Okay. Soooooo I’ve never liked running in the mornings. And it’s not just that I didn’t like it; it actually felt like my legs didn’t work that early. I’d be clocking a solid minute per mile slower in the morning than at any other time of the day. Plus, there’s the issue of poo, right? I can’t just roll out of bed, throw some running clothes on and head out the door otherwise I’ll shit my pants! So I have to make coffee, dick around on the computer for a bit while I wait for The Poo and once The Poo happens, then and ONLY then can I venture out for my run. BUT. I got used to it. Now I get up at 6ish and have my coffee and poo and I’m out the door by 6:30. I LOVE getting my run done before the day really starts because then I’m not left stressing about how to fit it in later!!!! If (IF) Callum naps, then I have free time to do some writing or have a bath or something! I don’t have to fit in a treadmill run. TOTALLY WORTH IT. Twice a week is a good start (4:30 is hella early) so you can teach your body how to run in the morning and before long you’ll be addicted to it.

    1. I definitely believe that people are natural morning or evening runners… but it sounds like you’ve gotten used to a good routine (and even get the morning poo out of the way quickly) LOL

      Definitely not attempting to do it more often than 2-3x a week right now. Let’s see how it goes :)

  5. I’m still struggling with mornings, and now that it is pitch black out at 5:30 (when I’d have to hit the road) it is even harder. Once I finish my next race (a 10 miler on the 23rd), I think my goal will be to get to the pool once a week before work. The pool on my campus opens at 7 and I can juuuuust squeeze in a swim and still get into my desk by 8:30 a few buildings over. So I think for the winter, that will be my only early -AM plan. Then, in the spring, I am going to try desperately to ALSO take on a morning run. I hope I can make it happen :-) I’m a little bit jealous of the folks who live in areas with morning run clubs – think that would be just enough motivation to get me out!

    1. Oh, swimming is a great cross training, so fitting that in before work sounds just perfect (I just don’t like to swim – haha!).

  6. Definitely love running in the mornings. But my legs aren’t always quite as ready to run as I am. So I try to start a little later on the weekends when I can. But, I also don’t have to be at work until 830AM. If I had to be there at 7 I’m not sure I would get my butt out of bed.

    Plus – I am way too good about making up excuses for going after work. And the gym is crowded. Double bleh.

    1. Yeah, I noticed that too… my legs definitely don’t agree with the morning running as much as my head does ;)

  7. I’m definitely a morning exerciser! I go to bed early (usually around 9pm) regardless of the time I’m going to wake up, so it just makes my evenings feel so short when I have to fit in a workout, too! I also love getting my workout finished first thing, so I don’t have to dread it all day, haha.

    1. It definitely feels great to get the workout out of the way in the morning – totally agree!

  8. I used to workout right after work because the gym I used to go to is close to my workplace (same building). But I stopped going when I switched gyms (same one my husband goes to – closer to where we live and cheaper). Then I dropped going to the gym as often when I got pregnant (I still went, just nowhere near as often). I also kept going after work. I found the most optimal time for me was right smack in the middle of the day. Before work I’m too tired to do anything and after work I’m pretty pooped, plus it meant I would get home very late. Now I need to find something that works with my new schedule. Possibly something that includes C somehow (like walks, hikes, exercises at home, etc.) because time is so so very precious and schedules have tightened even more. You know what would make things easier? If work were only for 6 hours a day. And I’m super serious.

    Also good grief woman! I can’t believe you are getting up at 4:30am! I get up at that time to feed C who isn’t even awake himself at that time, all so I can get to work early (my commute REALLY sucks so I have to leave VERY early).

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