Ask any endurance athlete who is also a parent when they do their training and I bet you'll find a common answer - the early morning. Its no doubt that the secret to making it all work in the early years of a parenthood is finding the time when there is none to give. And for most, that tends to occur before the sun comes up. For me, I enjoy getting my workout done for the day so I don't have to worry about the timing (or lack thereof) of nutrition, stressing about other conflicts that may come up, and most importantly, spending time away from my family. When I get home from work, I like being able to relax, hang out with Rebecca and the Z-man, and be....normal. Occasionally, I'll get a 2nd run or in the event that I missed my morning run, I may hop on the treadmill late at night, but I prefer to just get it done when I know I have the time - 1st thing in the morning.
I wasn't always a morning workout person though. I've gone back and forth over the years between morning vs evening workouts. And while I am a morning person, I always enjoyed having something to do after work. Well now that we have a family, that something to do after work is being together. But I just have to laugh when I look back to my transition into this way of life. Shortly after Z was born, I took to the early morning workouts by ensuring I was running by no later than 6 am. In those days, the most I'd be able to get in would be about 4 miles, due to having to get back home, eat, shower, help get Z ready, and commute a solid 1-1:30 hr each way. And 4 miles is clearly not enough for someone training for endurance events. So I started chipping away at that early time. 6 am became 5:45, which became 5:15, which became 4:45, and finally where I am today - 4:30 am. Can I go earlier? Probably, but I'm not sure I need to just yet.
What I found is that early is early no matter how you slice it, so if you are going to make the effort to get up early, you might as well make it so you have enough time that it is worth the investment. So while this transition to earlier times has taken a few months, it is now part of my regular schedule. I clearly didn't go from no morning workouts to 4:30 am in 1 week. It simply wouldn't have been sustainable. It took a gradual transition to incorporate little changes over time, but it also took my strong desire to get it done. Without that, no plan will succeed. But what I've learned in the process is that I can now find enough time to get in at least one weekday run of 10+ miles. In fact this past week, I ran 11 all easy miles under the star light sky. If I dial up some tempo miles in the near future, I know I can stretch that to 13-14 miles. And really, during the week, there is no reason to go much further than that. At least for me right now.
But what I do know is that with the confidence of being able to get 10+ miles done on any given day, I am ready to start looking at Spring marathons again. Now if only I could pick one, then we'd have real progress.