Early AM training ~ just worn down

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Early AM training ~ just worn down

Postby flipper67 » Wed Oct 06, 2010 5:33 pm

Here is an example of a Tues training, get up around 4:15. Out running at least 6 miles by 5ish. Hit the pool for about 45 minutes. Go home, drink recoverite, maybe grab a snack and bike to work, only 4.5 miles. Thing is, I am just worn out on my bike. And planning to move 10 miles from work. I get stomach issues first thing in morning during the first few miles. So I really hate to eat something before the run.

I generally workout 6 days a week with swimming, biking, running, yoga, hour core class. I am 43 and about 6'1 and 187 pounds.

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Re: Early AM training ~ just worn down

Postby Steelcyclist » Fri Oct 08, 2010 6:02 am


Two more questions for you.

1. How much sleep are you getting nightly?

Generally I've found through personal experience that getting enough sleep can have major effects on recovery as well as energy reserves. For most folks this is anywhere from 6-9 hours nightly, with extra sleep after especially challenging training. This from a previous issue of Endurance News: Check out the article "Tipping The Scale Back To Balance" By. Lowell Greib.

2. How long have you been training in the early morning?

Adaptation to early am training happens after awhile. I don't have any great statistics to back that up, but simply personal experience. Having begun working a 2nd job late into the night, then demanding the body to get up early to get in some bricks. This change to the schedule was really tough at first.
But by getting enough sleep elsewhere in the week, catching a nap when possible in the mid-day, and not giving up on the workouts. Eventually (around 3 weeks) the body adjusted and I got the previous pop up out of bed effect for morning workouts energy back. Of course the schedule just changed again at the 2nd job, so there's another round of adaptation ahead...

Good luck!
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Re: Early AM training ~ just worn down

Postby flipper67 » Mon Oct 11, 2010 5:16 am

I usually get 5-6 hours of sleep. But I have been doing this throughout the summer. I take my daily essentials as well.

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Re: Early AM training ~ just worn down

Postby bradleyherron » Wed Apr 20, 2011 7:25 pm

Hi, a bit different take on this question. I am up working out at approx. 4:45, either workout program or biking. I'm trying to figure out if there is a best way to fuel that early in the a.m.? Usually I only drink water during and then a small breakfast after and have not noticed a huge drop in energy even though I don't feel spry. I know replenishing muscle glycogen in the morning is recommended but starting that early it is not possible to eat and then workout. Any suggestions/recommendations?

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Re: Early AM training ~ just worn down

Postby steve-born » Thu Apr 21, 2011 10:39 am

First, to everyone on the forum, my apologies for being a bit "off the radar" as of late. For the past few weeks I have been thoroughly ensconced in finally getting the 9th edition of The Endurance Athlete's Guide to Success (which is actually now two books and not just one) completed as well as updating the Product Usage Manual (a.k.a. "The Little Red Book"). All of those resources are at the printers now so hopefully we'll have hard copies ready in the not-so-distant future. Additionally, I'm right in the middle of working on Endurance News #75. On top of that I've been away from the office a bit, the last trip being just recently at the Sea Otter Classic (six days away from the office and I came back to a couple hundred emails).

Anyway, that's my excuse and I'm sticking by it! :D

Bradley, as far as your question is concerned, there is no need for you to consume any food/fuel prior to an early morning workout. The first fuel your muscles will use is muscle glycogen and even after a full night's sleep (which, of course, is a period of fasting), you haven't drained one calorie of that fuel. Now, your brain and stomach may be complaining "I'm hungry. Feed me" but your muscles are basically saying "We're good to go."

What has been keeping metabolism going throughout the night is the glycogen stored in the liver and yes, when you wake up in the morning those stores will be low. So it is a good idea to top off liver glycogen stores, if only for the reason that it will put you in a better mood. However, you don't want to do it at a time that will negatively affect how your body utilizes its finite stores of muscle glycogen.

This is where the "no calories for 3 hours prior" recommendation comes in and I discuss this in more detail in the article "How to Properly Fuel Prior to Workouts & Races" at ... .1279.html

You can replenish muscle glycogen only when the enzyme that controls glycogen storage, glycogen synthase, is active, which is during a short time frame (0-2 hours or so) after a workout or race. The night before a workout or race? The morning of a workout or race? Glycogen synthase is basically on "sleep mode" so again, it is not possible to replenish muscle glycogen stores at that time. Put another way, in my opinion, true "carbo loading" doesn't occur the week before the race, the night before the race, and certainly not the morning of a race. "Carbo loading" occurs when you consistently replenish your body with quality carbohydrates and protein ASAP after all of your workouts leading up to the race. That's when the glycogen synthase enzyme is active and that's when you want to "strike while the iron is hot."

If more athletes would simply "refill the tank" after a workout, before they did anything else, they would see huge improvements in their performance. I am 100% convinced of that and the article I mention above provides the rationale for my zealousness of this particular aspect of athletics.

Although it may sound utterly counter-intuitive, it is perfectly acceptable - highly beneficial even - to start an early morning workout on an empty stomach. Simply start the refueling process shortly after you begin and feel warmed up and ready to take on fuel (for me, this is usually about 15 or so minutes into my ride). That will top off liver glycogen stores nicely but without negatively affecting how your body is using its stores of muscle glycogen.

Again, all of this is discussed in the aforementioned article so I would encourage you to read it thoroughly and adopt the principles we suggest. In 11 years of working for Hammer I have yet to find one athlete who, when following these principles consistently, didn't experience better results. I know that you will too.

I hope this helped answer your questions but if you need more assistance, especially after reading the article, please let me know. I'll be doing my best to be available via this forum as much as possible, now that I've got some major projects behind me.

Sincerely -

Steve Born
Fueling Expert
Event Sponsorship Coordinator
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