Training in the early morning

In general muscle strength varies by time of day, from person to person the time based variation can be more or less significant.

I believe it was observed that swimming times in races were statistically significantly slower at races held in the morning vs evening.


weird. My wife has an experimental physics degree and a computer science degree but works in healthcare and also does piano and clarinet (performance music degree in both) as a side thing.

My wife is so happy with my progress she is fully supportive now.



Simone, I’m right there with you. I do Zwift racing and find that my performance is much worse in morning races, even if I get up early and spend 20-30 mins warming up. I’ve been keto / fat adapted for 3+ years, so having breakfast or not doesn’t seem to change the situation much for me.

I haven’t found a good solution yet.

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Hey Simone, great question!

Firstly well done on still making the time in your day to train regularly!
If possible, having some food inside you is going to be better than no food this can take some getting used to so even starting with just a bite of some fruit or a bar. Staying hydrated will also be key so small sips during the warm up can help here.

Keep maintaining your 70% intensity rides if you are feeling good on these but start phasing in with 1 and then 2 sessions of slightly higher intensity. Doing 30mins steady and then one of the 30min videos could be a good one here. If you want to discuss your training in more detail with one of our SUFCoaches, they would love to help:

This is a great thread, it’s interesting to read the experiences of others.

During the working week I tend to train first thing as it is easy for me to set a routine and life/work does not create obstacles that often occur late in the day. Plus if I have the energy I can go out on the bike in the evening. My morning routine is always yoga first then bike or strength training depending on the plan. I’ve been doing the Sufferfest yoga everyday for two years now and really feel the difference. After training its is then time for breakfast, so all rides are fasted.
Morning training does have a downside for me, in that my HR stays low and maybe some of those sprints are harder. If I have a tough session planned (like FF) I will do that mid-afternoon when I am generally at my best. I don’t make any planned adjustments for my session based on the time of day, I just do as I’m told at the time.

That said, I did ISLAGIATT this morning and had to dial back climb 4 to 90%, probably should have eaten first. It was a shocking moment, I can’t remember the last time I dialled a session down, I will report to the flogging station! It might have better to had done ISLAGIATT on Sunday afternoon when the plan said so! Generally limiting the early sessions to 1 hour works best for me, then riding fasted is less of an issue.

Another advantage of morning training is you feel you have achieved something great already and the rest of the day is easy in comparison. I can’t imagine I could stick to a plan after a hard day at work knowing I still had to face 9 Hammers.

I think the hardest part of morning training is the mental part, getting out of a warm bed and creeping in to a cold dark bike cave is always the worst part for me.


Agree there Ben, training session is a great way to start the day :muscle:t2:

Agreed. Getting out of bed is often the hardest part. Once I’m up and in the cave, everything else is automatic.

Definitely agree with that feeling. 99% of my skipped workouts are on days I choose to sleep in with the plan to ride later in the day. And there’s nothing like the feeling of going thru all of my day knowing that I’ve already smashed it.

And despite being early in the morning… if I take 20 minutes to have a potty break, drink some water, and grab a small snack, I can complete almost any workout. I may need to take in another gel or two during my workout. But I’ve started every one of my epic events early in the morning, including my KoS attempt.

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I also did an early morning ISLAGIATT this weekend (pre-ToS plan, I presume?) and that was definitely a tough one. My nutrition was only a Clif bar ~15 minutes before starting and a gel midway through plus low cal Nuun sports drink. I realized pretty early on that I should have grabbed some more but didn’t want to pause and go rummaging around so tried to power on as best I could. Had to cut to 95% for a few minutes on the last 2 intervals; not sure if some more calories would have made the difference but it’s “food for thought” with ToS coming up.

In conclusion, always bring n+1 snacks and drinks… since you’re indoors it’s not like it weighs you down any.


I keep my box of gels next to my bike for this reason alone. :grin:

Having been made to work from home for the last 10 months I’ve found that training at midday is my absolute favourite. I used to do early evenings but as several members have said above, starting anything after 8.30pm is not a great idea.

Now we’re back in full lock down, the kids need the computer (when is that android app coming🙄) so I’m back to early evenings again.

Would like to convert to early mornings but I just lack the mental strength to get out of bed that early (particularly when it’s dark, raining and just barely above freezing in the garage - don’t you just love British winters😁). I’d need a much clearer goal than just being fit enough to play with the kids.

Motivation tips welcomed!

I don’t have the freezing garage concern (pain cave is the basement which gets down around 58 American Freedom degrees) but I was able to embrace and enjoy the early morning wake up when I accepted it’s the only way I could do this thing for myself. Sure I’d love to ride another time, but work/kids/pandemic take all those other options away. I’m a happier person if I can ride my bike frequently, and the only way to do that is to get the rides done by 7am. So now that I see it as a binary choice, it’s not really a sacrifice or hard decision… even when I need to set a 5:30am Sunday alarm to get ISLAGIATT done before the kids are outta bed.


This is similar to my situation. I used to exercise immediately after work. But after we had kids, that just wasn’t feasible. The only time I had was first thing in the morning.

I had tried to get up earlier to exercise, but it just never worked. But once it was all I had, I forced myself to do it and eventually came to accept it.

I never could run further than 5 or 6 miles because I was never able to wake myself up before 4:45am, and only on rare occasions. Once I started training for triathlons and the only time I had an empty pool to myself was to get up at 3:55am and rush to the pool… I did it and eventually got used to it. As they say necessity is the mother of invention. It’s also the greatest form on motivation. When you have no choice, you do it anyway. And then you get used to it.

Now that I’ve been on lockdown for so long I’ve started to get soft and have trouble getting up before 5am. But once I get on a training plan, if I need to get up early, I’ll do it.