For some, the thought of eating a full breakfast before a 6am workout is too much to stomach. And as someone whose appetite has always been a little slow to wake up, I get it.
On a normal workout day, say a casual 3-4 mile run or 30 minutes of cardio at the gym, holding off on breakfast until after doesn’t phase me a bit. But for these longer, more intense marathon training runs, I know I’ll be in trouble if I take the same approach.
When thinking about fuel for those more aggressive early morning workouts, small portions and simple carbs are best. Aim to get in 100-200 calories within 30-60 minutes of starting. Adding a little protein and/or fat is great but keep in mind that, because these are slower to digest, overdoing it can lead to cramps, or worse…
That reminds me. Hold off on any high fiber foods until after too.
To help wrap my head around the idea of eating a mini-breakfast at 5:30am tomorrow, I put together a quick list of super simple foods to fuel an early morning workout.
All of these baby-sized breakfasts take less than 5 minutes to assemble, and probably even less than that to eat.
A whole wheat English muffin with nut butter. Toast, smear, eat and enjoy. Eat half or have it all depending on what you feel you’re going to need.
Avocado toast with sea salt. Mash the avocado while your bread is toasting and top it off with some flaky sea salt. YUM.
A 1/2 cup of yogurt and some yummy granola. Skip the fat-free and low-calorie yogurt, mmmkay? A little fat and sugar is good before a morning workout! Go for regular, vanilla, or whatever flavor tickles your tastebuds’ fancy.
A 1/2 cup of Low-fat cottage cheese topped with fresh fruit. So simple but so good! Especially with pineapple.
Applesauce, a banana or even a packet of pureed baby food. You know, for when it’s a grab and go kinda morning. I’m not gonna lie, those packets of pureed sweet potato are pretty good.
Oh, and after your workout, don’t forget to follow up with plenty of fluids and a more substantial breakfast afterwards. A 4:1 ratio of carbs:protein within 30-60 minutes of finishing your workout is great for muscle recovery.
Over the next couple weeks I’ll be experimenting with some yummy whole food alternatives to power gels and blocks during my long runs. If you have any favorites I’d love some ideas!
Have a great day, friends!
How’s your pre-workout appetite? What’s your go-to fuel food?
Two things I love most about the weekend are sharing a nice meal and a bottle of wine with the hubs on Friday night, and hitting the farmer’s market in comfy yoga clothes with a latte in hand on Saturday morning.
If you’ve ever run a half- or a full marathon though, you know how quickly weekends can lose their appeal. For 4 months you politely decline invites to any and all social events occurring on a Friday night and spend half of your Saturday running the umpteen miles you’ve been dreading all week.
I don’t mind putting in the time and the miles, but I’ve realized that the weekend long run is by far my least favorite part about training. Sometimes they feel like more of a burden than they’re worth, and that’s definitely not what I want training for my first marathon to feel like.
Call us crazy but as Erin and I talked about how we should tackle our long runs, we both kept coming back to the idea of doing them during the week. We compared schedules, weighed the pros and cons of weekday vs. weekend runs and ultimately decided to schedule our long runs on Friday mornings.
Last Friday Erin and I did 8 miles before 8am and I must say, I felt pretty darn content sitting down at my desk with a latte in hand and 8 hours of desk work to do.
I realize there will be a few 4:15am wake-up calls, some very long Friday afternoons at work and probably several weeks I’ll be too tired for those Friday night dinner dates, but this basically means unlimited lattes all day on Friday and lazy Saturdays in yoga pants to look forward to.
Doesn’t that sound kind of amazing?
Runners: How have you made long runs work for you?
Back in January I decided I wanted to fit more interval and strength training into my weekly workouts––but now that I’m about to start training for my very first full marathon they’re pretty much essential. The Workout of the Week has certainly helped keep me on track but I recently discovered a new interval timer app that’s made the logistics of my interval workouts so much easier!
It’s called Bit Timer.
Have you heard of it? It’s been around for a while so I’m not breaking any new news, but I’m obsessed!
There’s not a lot to it, which is precisely what I love. Generally speaking, I’ve found most other interval timer apps get way too complicated with all of their rep, round and sound options. It literally took me over a month to learn how to navigate this one, and even once I was familiar with it it still wasn’t easy to use.
As soon as I tried Bit Timer though, I fell in love with how sleek, intuitive and simple it is.
Here’s a quick overview of Bit Timer’s best features:
- The main screen has three sliders––one for work time, rest time, and number of repetitions. All it takes is a simple slide of your finger to set the number of seconds and reps. To figure out the number of reps, simply multiply the number of exercises in one round by the number of rounds in the entire workout. For example, this week’s workout has 5 moves and goes for 6 rounds, thus the total number of reps is 30. Oila!
- Work and rest intervals can be set in 5 second increments for up to 4 minutes, which makes it perfect even for cardio workouts on the treadmill, elliptical or stairmaster.
- When you hit the start button, Bit Timer begins a 10 second countdown to give you time to get ready for your first exercise.
- The chimes are pleasant––but can be a little hard to hear if your music is turned way up.
My one complaint is the chimes don’t sound if Bit Timer isn’t showing on your screen. For those of us who pull up workouts from blogs or Pinterest on our phones, this can be problematic because you’re left having to switch back and forth if you don’t know the next move in the sequence. I’ve been able to manage though, either by jotting down the workout on a piece of paper beforehand or switching back and forth, and putting on my workout music before hitting Start. I’m hoping they’ll fix this in a future update, though!
Regardless, I heart Bit Timer. It’s by far the best dollar I’ve spent in a while and I just had to share!
Interval timer apps: Do you use Bit Timer or have another one you love? Do tell!