A Day in the Life of an Early Morning Runner

by - Friday, June 14, 2013

I get asked a lot about what my days look like when I wake up at 4:30 a.m. to get my runs in before work. So I thought it would be fun to do a bit of a day-in-the-life type post to give you an idea.

Obviously wearing my bright green @mizunorunning wave inspires to tonight's Glow in the Dark #5kdanceparty

Between 4 a.m. and 4:30 a.m. -- Alarm goes off. I use the Sleep Cycle app as my alarm and it wakes me up in a 30-minute window when I am in my lightest sleep.

4:30 a.m. -- Roll out of bed, brush my teeth, throw on running clothes and set Garmin on the window sill to let it sync with the satellites.

4:45 a.m. -- Out the door and off on my run.

Six super sweaty pre-derecho miles

5:15-5:30 a.m. -- Finish run, chug some water, quick stretch and jump in the shower.

5:45 a.m. to 6:20 a.m. -- Blow dry hair, put in contacts, get dressed, attempt to make myself look presentable

6:25 a.m. -- Run downstairs, grab my breakfast and lunch out of the fridge and hustle out the door to the metro.

6:30 a.m. -- Twiddle my fingers as I wait on the metro platform for a train to show up.

6:50 a.m. -- Butt in chair at my desk at work

7 a.m. -- Eat breakfast while my computer powers up. (Breakfast usually consists of either oatmeal, hard boiled eggs, or a breakfast sandwich of sorts.)

Massive chai tea lattes...the only way I will get through winter.

7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. -- Normal work stuff, projects, meetings, etc. etc. I usually stop to eat lunch around noon.

4:40 p.m. -- Back on the Metro platform waiting for a train

5 p.m. - ? -- Whatever post-work activity I have that night. Could be a softball game, could be happy hour with friends, could be a hot date with my sofa to relax and catch up on some TV.

Softball game one

10 p.m. -- Lights out so I can go to sleep and repeat the next day.


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  1. I can't imagine waking up that early, although if I run before night shift, I wake up around 4:30pm, so I guess it's about the same thing. I never run before day shift though!

  2. Mostly I run on my home treadmill, but I'm up 345-4a, similar schedule except I leave for work 715-730 (run longer, do core work pre-run some days while my tea is brewing - keep in an insulated mug and take to work). I also tote my breakfast to work to save time! I work 745-430. To join a local 5:30am short group run, I get up at 345, run some tmill miles first, run the 0.5 to the group run, run 5-ish with them, run 0.5 back home, stretch and then get ready for work.

    It's been a gradual process, working back to getting up at times that work for me. Shift by about 15 minutes at a time, makes it easier. After a while, it becomes routine - and then there are the mornings where you wake up and think "I must be nuts" - but you get up and run anyway. :)

    I love my Phillips wake light - starts to brighten the room 30 min before the time it's set for, helps me wake more gradually. Turns out I'm very sensitive to light! On weekends when I sleep in (no alarm) I now am waking up between 5 and 530 because of the light.

  3. Great post! You make this seem totally doable as I don't even have to be at work as early as you. I do say that I need more like 8 hours of sleep though.

  4. I am always impressed with those who can wake up early for runs. That takes serious dedication! Especially waking up at 4:30am. Dang, that's early! Also, I love posts like these. It's always interesting to see how people organize their day.