Training in the early morning

Hi all,
I used to train in the last afternoon, after work.
But now with a small kid that is the most important part of day, between not seeing all day and when he goes to bed.
So I’m now training in the morning, before work: easy rides are ok, but I struggle with anything above 70% FTP.
I cannot wake up 2hrs before training to eat proper breakfast, so all my morning training are fasted (maybe a gel before starting).
How should I adapt my training?
I suppose I could start with a 4DP at the same i usually train to at least adapt the training training to my morning (non) condition?

Any other tips?


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Everyone’s different here Simone - it’s a tricky one.
One option (if you can fit it in) is to get 15-20 mins riding done to warm up.
Energy (in theory) is less of an issue as assuming one has had a normal dinner the day before and your body is fuelled already (that depends on the individual of course). A slice of toast/glass of orange juice or something is oft quoted as something to put in the stomach, get some wake up stretching done with Abi, wee warm up … then go for it.
Of course the stretching/warm up is all ‘time’.

Just a thought - seemed to work for me. HTH.


Hello Simone,
as @Martin already pointed out when it comes to fasted training everyone is different. So I can only emphasize on listening to your body while giving different approaches a try. From my very individual experience I can only tell you that I do the SUF training plans completely training only in the mornings right after stepping (crawling) out of the bed. I’ve never had any issues with that when it comes to feeling fueled or running low on energy. If a workout is a very tough one I tend to have my bottle filled with isotonic drinks. But most of the times I go with elektrolyte drink only. For me that works. That said I must add, that I tend to have a proper meal every day rather late in the evening so I am pretty sure my glykogen tanks are filled well when jumping (crawling) on the turbo. I hope you find that helpful when trying your best way to train.

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I adjusted my schedule to train while the kids were sleeping (i.e. later at night).

If you are used to training in the afternoon, how much of an issue is it to move your training to the night instead?

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Thank you.
I think I’ll give it try again after doing a 4DP in the morning.
So far I did the test in the afternoon to get the best numbers but then training in the morning.
Probably testing as I train is the best approach.


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Training late is problematic as well: after dinner is the only moment I can have time with my wife without kid being around.

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Think about drinking an Espresso, or BCAA as you wake up. In the 20mins it takes to get dressed, onto bike & cycling it will get into your system & assist.

How much sleep are you getting. 7 hours min…

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I only have anecdotal evidence as well: while I would dread having to do Nine Hammers or The Shovel when I wake up I’m perfectly ok doing a 34k commute into work at 06:30 on just a glass of water and a biscuit (actually: ontbijtkoek but couldn’t find a proper English translation for it).

My target average on those rides is always 30kph while also obeying traffic laws and not blindly blasting through intersections (meaning cruising speed sits between 30 and 35kph). I noticed quite quickly that bringing my breakfast to work and having it afterwards was much better than having it beforehand and it just causing all kinds of discomfort.

These days I usually do my SUF workouts after 21:00 .

With a small kid, 7hrs is unlikely :slight_smile:
and even if I stay in bad 8-9hrs, the actual sleeping, is much less, interrupted by cries and tantrums :slight_smile:

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Are you Flemish? I live in Brussels.
Anyway, I agree. The part I struggles is intervals. easy rides and tempo rides are ok without food.

And indeed, much more satisfying to have a nice breakfast after a fasted ride, than a light one just before

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I have a similar problem. My wife said I can ride as much as I like as long as it doesn’t take time away from her and the kids. I get up before work and ride. My routine is now wake up, zombie state, eat breakfast, drink a bottle of water with BCAA/pre-ride supplement drink, get changed and throw water in my face to wake up. After about 10 minutes, the drink kicks in and I am on the bike doing the session. I don’t bother with the supplement drink if it’s a recovery ride and just drink a bottle of water. For the 2 hour rides, I get up a bit earlier and have a recovery drink from about 30 minutes to about 1:15 into the ride, and my wife usually comes out to see me when I’m doing the last 15 minutes.

I used to exercise before eating, but now I find I have to fuel myself properly to have the strength to do a proper session and get benefit from it. It took me about 3 weeks to adjust, but for me, it’s been well worth it. I think everybody is different and their body responds in different ways.


This is essentially the same as my schedule for the same reasons. I try to get to bed my 9p, but often am not in bed until 10 or 10:30p. I wake up anywhere between 4am and 5am depending on the length of my scheduled workout(s).

I do 90% of my workouts fasted.

On most days I simply grab 1L of water - maybe a 12oz bottle of Gatorade if I have a more intense workout. Then I have extra water in the fridge if I need it. For anything around 60 min or less that’s all I use, tho I have some gels by my bike if I feel I need one (but by then it’s too late for a workout that short).

If I have a longer and more intense workout scheduled (over 90 minutes), I’ll wake up maybe 15-20 minutes earlier and drink some water and have something carb-heavy (granola bar, flour tortilla, fruit leather, or maybe a gel) before using the bathroom and getting dressed. At minimum that gives my body at least 15-30 minutes to absorb some energy, and then I know I’ll absorb some more during. And then I have gels to take every 30-45 minutes starting at the 45 minute point.

It’s definitely harder mentally to work really hard that early in the morning. Usually it helps to have workouts that have longer warm ups because the first hard intervals are always the hardest. Then my legs wake up and the rest get easier, until I fatigue and they get harder again.

So, you might consider waking up if only 10-15 minutes earlier and giving yourself a bit of a longer warm-up, especially when you have an intense workout planned. And eating something small and carb-heavy (800-150calories) as soon as you wake up can help a lot, too, at minimum to get your metabolism started and wake up your body, if not to also give your body a bit of extra energy to use during your workout.

But, at others have stated, this is tricky because everyone and their body reacts different. So, it will likely take some trial and error on your part. Hopefully these are some good ideas that you can try and then tweak until you find something that works for you.


Similar situation for me. I usually have a coffee and an energy gel before my workout, sip on a carb drink during, then recovery drink and breakfast afterwards.

I’ve tried doing endurance rides fasted, but I do find I can sometimes get very sleepy around mid-afternoon.

I’ve thought about changing to do the rides late in the evening instead as my motivation for riding seems to be higher then than early morning. However, I’ve heard that intense workouts can cause problems with sleep if done very late at night. Maybe think about leaving nights for the endurance sessions instead.

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My experience as a dad of a now 3.5 year old and 8 month old is that it took me about 2-3 months to adapt to becoming a morning workout person. I do “intermediate” level plans so 4-5 hours a week and most workouts around 1h. Parent duty starts at 7am, so I work backwards from there for my wakeup time. I can get from alarm to pedaling in 15 minutes so long as all gear is laid out, bottles made in fridge, the night before. Perhaps I’m lucky in that I seem to only need the typical warmup periods on the videos to be able to get into it full tilt.

Doing a FF test at the morning time to set a new baseline is a good idea but I’d take it a bit further: have you considered doing a Ramp Up or Kickstarter training plan to take a few weeks and let your body really adjust to the routine before worrying about training quality and progressing?

Like others I do most rides totally fasted, but more intense or longer workouts I’ll eat a bit of bar or a bocadillo (~100 kcal guava paste block) about a half hour in. If it’s a real long session, then I’ll leave a bar in the bathroom and eat it first thing (sorry if that’s TMI, but time efficiency is king :slight_smile:). It’s also a good excuse to fuel up with a scoop of ice cream before bed the night before, though the scale says this is just good for mental health only…

Lastly, and I’m not sure how young your “small kid” is, but it does get better. It’s not a linear progression (I swear my kids conspire beforehand to decide who and at what time to start screaming) but now that I’ve gotten used to this schedule of training I can’t really imagine doing it another way.


Thank you. Indeed doing the transition plan at the morning is the best advice I received! I’ll try, at least half since I’ve a imperial century pretty early in the season (RVV, if not cancelled again) and too close now for 2 plans.

Kid is now 6mo.


Dutch actually :slight_smile:

Can’t really comment about those early years because I really wasn’t training a lot. Mostly working too much, making way too many business travel miles and generally having a seriously unhealthy lifestyle.

Fezzek: Your time (whether cycling or doing something else) is always going to take time away from the family. Time is divided into family-time, her-time and me-time. It cannot (at least not for us anyway) always be family-time or we would go nuts.

It’s something we’re noticing during this latest lockdown again. I ride my bike, she just finished a healthcare degree and is now picking up her musical studies again (clarinet, piano).

I also have a young child (pre-school) and until now have been doing evening workouts after bedtime (about 7:30PM) of around 1hr. We eat together at about 5.30pm so I was always fuelled, but I found by the time I had finished, showered etc there was no time to ‘wind down’ and my sleep quality was bad. It also meant I had little time to spend with my partner.

I now train first thing, usually before 5:30AM and I have yet to do a long, high intensity workout mainly due to time constraints, and usually just drink water, and get breakfast at work @ about 7:30AM. It’s not ideal but it seems to work for me - I get the evenings with my partner, I feel more awake in the day, and sleep seems to have improved.

Prep is definitely key, I make sure all my clothing is laid out the night before, bike is setup etc.

I would be interested in how people manage the cold weather in the mornings (its bee sub 2degC for a while now) as I have been struggling to manage my core temperature while my legs and feet get freezing cold - tights maybe?! My toes can loose feeling by the end of a session, while I am sweating buckets from my head and torso.


I’m surprised you are getting frozen toes, are your shoes too tight? It was -5degC in my unheated garage last Friday evening and I only had a 30min recovery spin on my plan. I warmed up in a hooded fleece and even at a low pace in subzero temperatures I was soon warm enough to need some cooling. I have a height adjustable pedestal fan I can aim high enough to stop any cold air blowing over my toes. I also put a hand towel over my bars which protects them from sweat and also provides more insulation for my hands.

Shoes possibly… its a strange sensation for sure - usually if you toes are numb so are your fingers and nose! Might wear my shoe covers and see if that helps :smile:

I might get a slightly lighter duty pedestal fan in there to try, I find if I have no air movement the sweat just accumulates whereas in summer with the fan blasting I get no drips at all.

In the summer I have no numb toe issues, but in the winter I do. But, I get used to it. I do most of my triathlons in the spring/fall when the lake temps are cold. For my first two tri’s the water temp was 56F and lot of people dropped out. Despite it being a sprint tri, my toes were number coming out of the water and I didn’t begin feeling them until halfway through the run. That makes both transitions more interesting, but you just ignore it and roll with it - literally - while on the bike.