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Struggling to get the training done? Hello 5.30am!

It feels like training. Preparing kit the night before, setting the alarm for 5.30am, charging lights, and filling bottles before heading to bed. It definitely feels like training!

The sky's still dark at that time, and the birds have yet to wake, but this means that the roads are quiet and the only noise is that of the hum of the tyres on the road and the heavy breathing of exertion.

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I’m not really sure why I’m up and riding so early - I've not got any concrete  plans for the year ahead - but I know it’s good to be up. The early morning’s require an early night and sufficient sleep - otherwise the snooze button becomes both my best friend and my worst enemy.The sun will be up soon, the birds will be singing and the roads will start to get busier, but for now it’s just me and the village milkman who share the lanes.

If you’re not a morning person (and I’m not) then it’s not always the easiest thing to do to get up at and be out by 6 - BUT, it is definitely worth it! 

Sometimes it’s just useful to know why you are doing it, here are 4 really useful motivators to get you through it.

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©Matt Austin. On the Rivet Tours

People who exercise in the morning get a host of benefits which can have far-reaching benefits, including a surge of energy to last the day due to the cardiovascular kickstart and an increase of endorphins to power you through.

Early morning exercise helps to keep the appetite at bay throughout the day, it will also be better for a solid night's sleep than exercising after work.

Concentration is improved by that kickstart, the early mornings also provide time to work through the tasks of the day ahead, whether it’s work, family, or simply trying to fit in some personal time, the quiet and calm of the morning will help solve the world’s ills!

The early morning also helps burn more calories than later workouts - by working the muscles early the metabolism is increased throughout the day, burning upto 20% more calories just by doing your normal activities.

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©Matt Austin. On the Rivet Tours

That’s the logic sorted, now what?

Pack early.

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I always get my kit sorted the night before, lay it out on the sofa downstairs so I can simply roll out of bed and tiptoe through the house without waking anyone. The last thing I want to do is wake up Anda and get ‘the look’ at 5.30!

Fasted exercise

There’s plenty of words written out on the world wide web about the benefit of early morning fasted exercise to stimulate fat burn. The conclusion? Do it! But be prepared to refuel afterwards!  If you are heading straight in to the office, have your breakfast packed and ready. If you head back and the house is still quiet have it ready on the counter-top so there’s little risk of making additional noise.

Find a buddy

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©Pedaled

Have you got a cycling/running buddy who is willing and able to get out with you? A workout shared is a workout more intense! But it also helps to develop more commitment to the cause and stops you from bailing/hitting the snooze.

No time!

An early morning session means that there’s always time!

Ditch the TV, limit social media, stop reading blogs. There’s loads of free time out there to use wisely!

20 comments

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stenmeister [357 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

I love getting up early for a ride, especially if I want to go for a spin in Glasgow or to get to the hills on the other side of it

Aside from there being a lot less traffic, the wind can often be lighter than what it is later in the day and the cafes are quieter when I stop for coffee.

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andyp [1600 posts] 2 years ago
1 like

Best time of the day. Love it. Although 05:30 is more like end of training than start of training for me  3

 

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tritecommentbot [2266 posts] 2 years ago
1 like

Yes, amazing feeling. Like a different world! But remember not to beat yourself up if times aren't as good, or power is lower. That stuff peaks around 5 to 6pm, for everyone, morning person or not. Difference can be quite significant, 6 or 7%. 

Tempted to try the fasted ride thing. Have about 5% bodyfat I'd like to lose and keep off at the moment (if my scales are to be believed). Might need some practise to find out what intensity I could ride at that early without bonking and making a hash of it.

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gunswick [138 posts] 2 years ago
1 like

get up early yes; ride fasted no.  Just burns protein.  2 weetabix before I leave takes 60 seconds to gobble.

 

Agree on Crow Rd / Tak ma Doon hills in North Glasgow at 6am - tis a nice part of of the world to be in at that time (in summer).

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jollygoodvelo [1862 posts] 2 years ago
1 like

Nice read.  

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grahamTDF [62 posts] 2 years ago
4 likes

"I wish I had stayed in bed instead of going out for a ride" Nobody. Ever.

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jollygoodvelo [1862 posts] 2 years ago
4 likes
gunswick wrote:

get up early yes; ride fasted no.  Just burns protein.  2 weetabix before I leave takes 60 seconds to gobble.

I'm sure you know better than a large body of scientific sports physiology research, but I'd be interested to hear your sources for this?

For a kick-off - your muscles store ATP and glycogen 'as standard' when you are rested, so a couple of hours' ride at a reasonable level will simply be using those stores.

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andyp [1600 posts] 2 years ago
2 likes
jollygoodvelo wrote:
gunswick wrote:

get up early yes; ride fasted no.  Just burns protein.  2 weetabix before I leave takes 60 seconds to gobble.

I'm sure you know better than a large body of scientific sports physiology research, but I'd be interested to hear your sources for this?

For a kick-off - your muscles store ATP and glycogen 'as standard' when you are rested, so a couple of hours' ride at a reasonable level will simply be using those stores.

 

 

'People in this country have had enough of experts'. M Gove, 2016.

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rowes [109 posts] 2 years ago
1 like

On the occasional day I get to commute to work, I do like to take a very  'long-cut' to work.

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Yorkshire wallet [2428 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

The fasted thing is odd for me. If I go out literally within 15 minutes of waking, I can do without food until I'm well into the ride .

Once I've got up and started the eating cycle I always feel hungry if I go for ride, to the point my stomach acid starts annoying me if I don't eat frequently. It then becomes a hard balancing act of not going out riding too soon after I've eaten and then not leaving it too long or I get hungry quickly on the ride.

Anyway, early for me if possible. Sundays are great because shopping zombies don't usually get up until later.

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CharlesMagne [93 posts] 2 years ago
1 like

I'm another advocate for 6am fasted commuting.

I arrive at work wide awake and ready for the day, full of a sense of achievement.

The sunrise at this time of year is spectacular too, simply stunning.

Really good piece, I back it up fully in every detail.

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Beecho [431 posts] 2 years ago
1 like
CharlesMagne wrote:

Really good piece, I back it up fully in every detail.

hear hear. preaching to the converted on here I guess, but that pretty much described my weekends. 'tis, starting to get a little nippy, mind.

right, it'S 05:52, just waiting for the first glimmer of the sun...

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ianrparsons [18 posts] 2 years ago
2 likes

I used to do a 5 mile commute, but now 13 miles each way. Up at 6:25, one weetabix and away by 7, at work by 8 really buzzing and getting lots done before school starts. Need to be careful though as type 2 diabetic. Hometime almost always needs a sugar boost to avoid a Hypo, even with a snack before I set off. I am also losing weight which never happened on the 5 mile commute. Also better sugar control with care so win win all round for me. Might even get my BP down too! BTW No spring chicken - 62 semi retired just work 3 ½ days.

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jollygoodvelo [1862 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
ianrparsons wrote:

I used to do a 5 mile commute, but now 13 miles each way.

I have a 12-13 mile commute too and I reckon it's about the sweet spot. Much further and it just takes too long; any shorter and you're not really getting a good workout. 

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barbarus [536 posts] 2 years ago
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I've not got any fat spare to burn, fast metabolism and skinny. I usually like to stuff my face 2 hrs before a ride, that would make a 5.30 start very challenging! Any suggestions?

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wycombewheeler [1367 posts] 2 years ago
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jollygoodvelo wrote:
ianrparsons wrote:

I used to do a 5 mile commute, but now 13 miles each way.

I have a 12-13 mile commute too and I reckon it's about the sweet spot. Much further and it just takes too long; any shorter and you're not really getting a good workout. 

Mine is 3 miles which suits me when I am time pressured. But frequently I take a less direct route if I can afford the time.

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tritecommentbot [2266 posts] 2 years ago
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barbarus wrote:

I've not got any fat spare to burn, fast metabolism and skinny. I usually like to stuff my face 2 hrs before a ride, that would make a 5.30 start very challenging! Any suggestions?

 

Loads on carbs the evening before and dump a ton of maltodextrin into your bidon. Unless your ride is pacey and over a couple of hours you won't have to worry about weight loss, you'll just use your stored energy and the carbs in the bidon. You can chew on some simple carbs, just a little, junk like white bread and jam, to be super safe, as you're getting ready to head out.

 

I know some runners who wake up 2 to 4 hours before their early race, eat quickly, then go back to sleep, then wake again for the run. Tried it, but it's hard to go back to sleep and if you wake in the middle of a sleep cycle then you can feel like crap.

 

We should have a 5am crew motivation thread!

 

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davel [2723 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
CharlesMagne wrote:

I'm another advocate for 6am fasted commuting.

I arrive at work wide awake and ready for the day, full of a sense of achievement.

The sunrise at this time of year is spectacular too, simply stunning.

Really good piece, I back it up fully in every detail.

+1

Although if you struggle with dark mornings, I'd say now isn't really the time of year to try to get into the habit. Get up and out for 5am in May/June: it's warmish, you'll have the roads almost to yourself, and you can get used to the early starts when it's light for a few months.

I used to mostly drive for work (I rode the 50-mile round trip once or twice per week) and had to squeeze rides in at that time. Now my commute is a 30-mile round trip so I do it 3+ times per week; no brekkie, just a whey powder drink that I add chia seeds to (completely fell for the Born To Run hype).

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barbarus [536 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
unconstituted wrote:

 

Loads on carbs the evening before and dump a ton of maltodextrin into your bidon. Unless your ride is pacey and over a couple of hours you won't have to worry about weight loss, you'll just use your stored energy and the carbs in the bidon. You can chew on some simple carbs, just a little, junk like white bread and jam, to be super safe, as you're getting ready to head out.

 

I know some runners who wake up 2 to 4 hours before their early race, eat quickly, then go back to sleep, then wake again for the run. Tried it, but it's hard to go back to sleep and if you wake in the middle of a sleep cycle then you can feel like crap.

 

We should have a 5am crew motivation thread!

 

Thanks, good advice. I've not tried the maltodextrine thing yet, I'm more of a real food person but maybe I should give it a shot if it's easy to digest with quick energy.

I'm definitely not doing the wake-up, eat, sleep thing though. That sounds crazy and bloody unpleasant!

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The _Kaner [1200 posts] 2 years ago
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All my morning rides are fasted.

I simply cannot put anything in my stomach until I have been up and about for 3-4 hours.

5:00 to 5:30 am rides (better in summer/not so great in winter) are not a problem either.

My usual work routine meant I was up at 4:20 for a 7am start, followed by a 12 hour shift.

Evening rides were a bit of a problem as it was approaching 20:00 before I got home.

Another fellow cyclist (with more dogged determination than I...) on the same shift pattern always manages 2 hours on turbo before work followed by 2 hours on turbo post work...not sure what his digestive system is like...but I do notice that he eats like a horse throughout the day and probably has the same frame and body fat % as Froome.

I'm a leisure/fitness type cyclist whereas he is competitive/league racer.