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Morning Training for Endurance Athletes: Benefits & Tips

Training in the morning offers numerous benefits for endurance athletes, such as cyclists and runners. Taking advantage of the cooler hours of the day can improve performance and maintain motivation, even during the hottest months of the year. Here’s why morning training is so beneficial and how to motivate yourself to make the most of it.

Impact of summer heat on training

When summer temperatures rise, performance and motivation during training can decline, especially for endurance athletes such as triathletes, cyclists, and runners. Excessive heat requires the body to work harder to maintain internal temperature, resulting in significant energy expenditure. This translates into an increased heart rate at the same intensity and a more challenging training experience. An effective strategy is to exercise early in the morning or in the evening, avoiding the hottest part of the day. Morning training, in particular, offers several significant advantages.

Benefits of morning training

Cooler temperatures

Training early in the morning is particularly useful during the summer. Temperatures drop during the night and reach their lowest point not only before but also after sunrise. The first rays of the sun are not yet strong enough to warm the asphalt and other surfaces significantly. Therefore, from a heat perspective, there is no need to start training before sunrise.

The same effect occurs in the afternoon. Even though solar radiation is highest around noon, the hottest temperatures are recorded in the late afternoon, after the sun has warmed up the streets and buildings.

Opportunity for fasted training

In the morning, before breakfast, glycogen stores are generally low. This means that physical activity quickly depletes the remaining stores and switches from glycogen to fat burning, thus training the fat metabolism—a fundamental element for endurance sports.

More info about fasted training

Post-training effect

Not only does the training itself require energy, but so does the subsequent recovery. Breathing, heart rate, and metabolism must slowly return to “normal.” The duration and intensity of the training influence the extent of this effect and the time needed to consume energy after exercise. The more intense and longer the training, the longer the afterburn effect lasts. Generally, this effect increases calorie consumption by an additional 7-14%.

Furthermore, if you train before breakfast, physical activity can replace sugar as an immediate energy source. Thus, you will have less craving for sweet and fatty foods at breakfast.

Achieving training goals early and creating a routine

This effect is more relevant on a mental level but should not be underestimated. Training early allows you to start the day knowing you have already done something positive for your body. This also awakens the mind, improving concentration for the tasks ahead.

Moreover, regular morning training creates a well-defined routine, as the timing is usually dictated by subsequent commitments (e.g., work). Routines make regular training easier, as it becomes an integral part of the day.

Training at competition-relevant times

Endurance events, such as triathlons, marathons, and half-marathons, often start in the morning. Getting used to training early helps your body adapt to performing at its best right after waking up, creating the ideal conditions to be ready on race day.

Motivational tips for morning training

  1. Organize sessions with training partners: planning workouts with friends makes it harder to back out of a commitment.
  2. Reward yourself with a special breakfast: treat yourself to a special breakfast after your workout, reserved only for training days.
  3. Prepare everything the night before: set the alarm and place it a few meters away from the bed, under your training clothes. Once you’re up and dressed, it will be harder to go back to bed.
  4. Create an energizing playlist: start the day with your favorite music on your training route to boost your mood and energy.
  5. Share your workouts: telling others about your morning workouts creates a sense of accountability, making it easier to get out of bed.

Conclusion

Training in the morning offers numerous benefits for endurance athletes, including cyclists, triathletes, and runners. Cooler temperatures, improved fat metabolism, a potent post-training effect, and a well-defined routine are just some of the advantages. By using these motivational tips, you can enhance your performance and maintain consistent training even during the hottest summer months.

 

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