What's my nighttime routine?

Over the summer, I found one thing that was so helpful to helping me wind down and sleep through the night (without having the take melatonin!). And it was simply to establish a nighttime routine, three simple things that I do most nights before bed.

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These three things help me take a break from electronics and wind down for the night so I can fall asleep and stay asleep. My anxiety levels have gone down at night so I fall asleep much faster (usually within 15 minutes of settling into bed) and stay asleep (no more waking up at 2 or 3 a.m.). This helps me drag so much less during the day and not be as worried about things that are going on in my life.

So what are the three things in my nighttime routine?

Sleepytime tea

I love my nightly cup of sleepytime tea. Mike usually gets it going at 8 p.m. (when he takes Vinnie out for his last walk before bed) and I spend the next 30 minutes sipping on it and watching TV. This helps me take a break from my phone and helps me relax.

Meditation

Right before we head to bed, usually by 9 p.m. because I cannot stay up that late anymore, I spend five or ten minutes meditating. I get so calm (and sleepy) afterwards and my mind is cleared. Check out my post from last week on what benefits I’ve seen from meditation.

Bedtime podcast

Mike and I have always fallen asleep listening to old podcast episodes. Neither of us falls asleep easily without having some sort of background noise so we just put on a podcast and set the sleep timer so it turns off after 30 minutes. And usually, I’m out pretty quickly!

Do you have a bedtime routine?  Share what yours is in the comments!


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What's My Post-Long Run Routine?

Now that I’m almost at the end of marathon training, I feel like I’ve finally gotten into a good post-long run routine that feels really good (especially after my really long long runs). So I thought I’d share it on the blog.

Smoothie

As soon as I can, I get in my protein smoothie. Not only is it refreshing and cold, it gets in the nutrients that I need most to aid in post-run recovery. Lately, I’ve been blending up a banana, 1 cup of frozen fruit and a scoop of vanilla protein powder. Either I’ll bring it along with me in a cooler or (more likely on my long long runs) Mike will bring it when he picks me up. Either way, it’s gone by the time we get home.

Foam Rolling and Stretching

It’s no secret that I love foam rolling. And it’s the first thing I do when I get home from a long run. It can be painful at times (especially my quads lately) but it feels so much better once I’m done. I do an all over session with my big foam roll and then take the stick to my legs (especially hamstrings and calves). Then, although it’s not my favorite thing to do, I’ll do some static stretching just because it feels good.

Cold Bath

Before marathon training, I was all about the epsom salt bath. And I still love them. But now that I’m getting really hot on my long run (and staying that way even after foam rolling) I’ve switched to a cold bath. Now I don’t go all hardcore and add in ice but just fill up the tub with the coldest water that comes out of the faucet. Fifteen to twenty minutes of sitting in there, sometimes with a beer, feels really good and cools me down enough so I don’t feel like I’m overheating when I shower.

Lunch

Yes, more food because I am so hungry at this point. Not surprising since I’ve probably burned 1,500+ calories and my body needs fuel. Lately, my go-to post long run lunch has been some sort of eggs, whether it’s an egg wrap or eggs in a basket, along with potato hashbrowns. It’s just a delicious mixture of protein, fat and carbs.

Nap

My favorite part of long run days is probably my nap. By the time I get everything else done, I’m exhausted and it feels amazing to get into my comfy pjs, turn down the AC and curl up in bed with Vinnie. It probably also helps that I’ve been having a hard time sleeping through the night lately so my body will take any extra sleep it can get.

What’s your post-long run routine?

How I Get Ready for a Morning Run

Since I'm doing more of my runs in the morning, it’s really important that I have a routine down so that I’m not rushing around early in the morning trying to remember what i need to do. Of course, part of this means I get anything packed the night before (if I’m heading into work post-run). But keeping everything simple and easy helps out every morning.

Wake up

If I’m running in the morning, I’ll keep my alarm set for 4:30 a.m. (my normal workday wake up time). Even if it’s the weekend. I’ve found that this gives me enough time to get everything done that i need to without feeling rushed. And since my body wakes up at 4:30 during the work week, it’s used to that wake-up time already.

Vinnie gets up with me too at this time...well sort of. He runs out to the couch and curls up there right after we get out of bed. Which is nice because I don’t have to get him out right away any more and can go into step two of getting ready.

Get dressed

Now, I could go ahead and eat breakfast first before getting dressed for my run. But because Vinnie is already up (and on the couch), I’m going to be taking him outside soon anyways. So I might as well take the couple of minutes to get dressed while he’s taking a little snooze. I put my running clothes out the night before so I don’t have to think much in the morning. Just through on the clothes, pull my hair back, wash my face and then I’m ready to take Vinnie out for a quick pee.

Eat breakfast

After I take Vinnie out for a quick pee, he curls back up on the couch for another nap. I swear he does things other than nap. While he’s napping, I work on getting my breakfast ready. Most of the time, it’s oatmeal and coffee so it takes about ten minutes before I’m ready to eat. Vinnie gets a Kong filled with dog food while I eat breakfast to keep him entertained since by the time I’m done making my breakfast he’s up and interested in what’s going on.

When I start doing my Tuesday morning runs, I won’t be eating breakfast before my run which is something I haven’t done in a while. I’ll be having it post-run instead and only having my BCAAs and creatine in water before heading out on my run. It will be interesting to see how my body reacts to that. I’ve done fasted runs before but it’s been awhile since I’ve done it.

Take Vinnie on a walk

Vinnie always gets a longer walk in the morning so I still try to get that in before heading out on a run. It’s a chance for both of us to stretch our legs and gets Vinnie’s energy out since he usually gets kenneled up while I’m on my run.

Finish getting ready to run

After we get back from a walk, I take the time to put on sunscreen and Body Glide. The sunscreen has enough time to absorb into my skin while I get my water and (if it’s a long run) Gus ready to go. This is also when I wake up Mike since either he’s going to be joining me on his bike, driving me to the river or just watching Vinnie. Either way, he gets some time to wake up a little before I head out the door. Vinnie enjoys going in and seeing Mike, either to lick him awake or just curl up and nap again.

Head for the run!

Usually I’m running near our apartment so I do my warmups outside as I’m walking to where I start my run. Then, I’m all ready to go and start my day with a run!

Do you have a morning pre-run routine?