Tips to Get your Workout Done Early
Tips to Get your Workout Done Early

Recently I received a question about running and working out in the morning.   I haven’t always been a “morning runner,” but since graduating college, I’m a morning runner 99% of the time.  There are only a handful of times a year that I run in the afternoon. (In 2019, there were 4..and I count NYCM that started late). If I don’t run before 9 am, chances are I don’t run.  Of course, it doesn’t include races, although I did wish they all started before 9.  Keep in mind, there is no best time to workout. Do what works for you and forget about the rest.

I will be the first to tell you it’s much easier to run in the morning during the summer.  In the summer, it gets light earlier, and it’s warmer.  You don’t feel as though you’re ripping blankets off to go for a run in the dark and cold.  For me, with a constant change of schedule, it’s better for me to get the run done earlier.Tips to Get your Workout Done Early

Here are a Few Ways I Wake Up to Workout:

Turn Off Technology: 

I am known to turn my technology off around 9-9:30 pm.  I might go to bed a little later, but I stop fiddling with the computer, texting, etc.  It allows me to wind down and actually get to bed.  Tweeting at the pillowcase keeps me wide awake.  I started doing that sometime in 2013, and I’ve found it’s much easier to fall asleep. Did I miss your stellar 9 pm Instagram post? Maybe…but I’ll see it in the morning.

Set an Alarm (or 2 or 10):

I’ve adjusted to waking up between 5-5:30 am most mornings.  To be honest, at this point it doesn’t phase me.  However, it didn’t use to be like that, and I needed an alarm to pull me out of bed.  I always recommend setting the alarm.

Check the Weather the Night Before:

Mentally I like to have an idea if I’ll be running inside or outside.  Or if it’s going to be snowing, pouring rain, or windy.  Not all surprises are good ones.

Make Sure. You Have Appropriate Gear Clean:

Many bloggers will tell you to lay your clothing out, and I think that is fantastic advice, however, for me if I have appropriate gear cleaned and findable, I consider it a good day.  My life and gym clothes are not always ever “social media flat lay photo ready”.  Usually, it’s in my drawer, and I’m mindlessly grabbing things to put on. Sorry, I don’t match… I really don’t care.

Phone a Friend:

Meet someone for a workout. There have been several times that I wouldn’t have worked out if I wasn’t meeting a friend. Don’t underestimate the power of numbers.

Consistency is Key:

Sometimes we want to change but aren’t willing to give it time.  Give your new routine for at least 2 weeks.  If after two weeks, it’s not for you, find something that is!

Finally, remember this…there is no right or wrong time to workout. If you prefer a lunch or evening workout, that’s cool!  Don’t stress about it and choose that best time that fits into your needs.

Questions for you:
What time do you like to workout?
Do you have any methods to wake up in the morning?

Brooks Ricochet Shoe Review
Brooks Ricochet Shoe Review

Right now, Brooks is the top brand in run specialty. Since they only make running and walking shoes, they do a good job. The Brooks Ricochet shoe is new from Brooks. Similar to the Brooks Levitate 2, it uses DNA AMP Cushion. It’s much more responsive than both the Brooks Ghost or Brooks Glycerin.

Just because you like the softer Ghost or Glycerin, doesn’t mean you’ll like the firmer Brooks Ricochet or Levitate. In fact, most people prefer one or the other.  Either you are team DNA amp or DNA Biomogo (firm shoe or soft shoe…I kid…somewhat).

The Brooks Ricochet is lighter with less cushion than the Levitate 2, but still a lot of cushioning. Personally, I’ve thought the Levirate 2 feels like a bulky shoe. Generally, I like bulkier shoes, but the Levitate 2 has always just felt like a brick. I was excited to hear Brooks made a lighter version of the Levitate.

Brooks Ricochet Shoe Review

Brooks Ricochet Fit:

The fit of the Brooks Ricochet is interesting. It has a fit knit upper and fits similar to the Levitate. The almost sock-like fit that comes up higher than a traditional shoe. The ultra-soft heel tab comes up but doesn’t compress or restrict the Achilles. The fit knit upper is seamless and has plenty of space for those (like me!) with a wider and roomy toe box. The Brooks Ricochet fits true to size, I typically wear between a size 10-11 wide, and the 10.5 fits fine.

Diving more into the upper, the higher sock-like fit and heel wrap was created to keep “the foot more secure” as well as not allowing dirt in. I’m not a fan of it in any shoe or brand that does this (unless it’s a trail boot) and would prefer a traditional upper. It does take time to get used too.  The knit upper is seamless and doesn’t rub, so that is a plus. Do I feel more secure with the higher upper? No.

Brooks Ricochet Ride:

The Brooks Ricochet is different than most of the Brooks line.  Like the Levitate, the Amp is designed for energized cushioning. This is a shoe Brooks wants you to feel fast in (whether you are doing long runs or races). It has a layer of DNA Amp midsole technology to provide the maximum of amount of energy return.  There is also a layer of DNA foam to cut down on weight (Which is why the Levitate is so heavy).

As Brooks says, this design is supposed to provide flexibility between the two layers of dna and dna amp cushion while also being responsive.

Brooks Ricochet Shoe Review

While running, I could feel how responsive the ride of the shoe was. I appreciate how firm and responsive the shoe is without being overly heavy or bulky. While I don’t think it would be the best speed work shoe, I think it’s a much “faster” shoe than most of their neutral shoes. The heel to toe quickly responds to transitions.

Something to note, which I’ve been finding more and more with several models across brands, is the lack is traction. Even with the flexible arrow point pattern on the outsole, the Richochet does not grip the found like many other shoes. I save them for dry days or the treadmill.

Brooks Ricochet Conclusion:

I think the Brooks Ricochet is a good shoe from Brooks for someone looking for a firmer and more responsive shoe from the Glycerin or Ghost. It’s also a good shoe for someone who likes the Levitate but wants a lighter shoe. Would I personally choose it over the Ghost or Glycerin? No, but I prefer a softer shoe.  Dna Amp energized cushioning is for those who like a more responsive ride.

From Brooks, I’m team DNA Biomogo forever. I think the Brooks Ricochet could use tune-ups from the upper to just the overall weight, but typically most new shoes need some help. I’ll continue to use the shoe for workouts and occasionally for daily runs, but I still prefer the softness of Glycerin or Ghost.

Shoe Rotation:

Daily Runs: Brooks Glycerin, Hoka Cavu, New Balance 1080v9,  Saucony Triumph

Workouts: Nike Fly, Brooks Richochet

Races: Nike Streak LT, Nike Fly

Questions for you:

What is your current favorite shoe?

Do you prefer a heavy or light shoe? 

Hiking Lake Calavera Carlsbad California
Hiking Calavera Hills Community Park

Calavera Hills Community Park

Hiking around Calavera Hills Community Park was not our smartest idea, but not our dumbest idea either. The day before the Carlsbad half marathon, my husband and I went on a short hike through Calavera Hills Community Park. Our motive for California was never the half marathon, it was to see more of the state.

I have no regrets about walking around Calavera Hills Community Park and community center, and it was a fun exploration.  It was also the first time I’ve hiked a Volcano before! At one point, it was active; it’s now extinct.  The lake surrounding Calavera Hills Community Park, Lake Calavera, also attracts many different birds, plants, and other waterfowl.

When we went to Calavera Hills Community Park on a Saturday, there were plenty of people but it never felt overwhelming and we didn’t run into a lot of people.

At Calavera Hills Community Park, we started on what seemed like a more rigorous trail. It went completely downhill.  I was a little worried because what goes down must go back up, and then I saw it level off.

Hiking Lake Calavera Carlsbad California

About .5 we saw the Lake in the background and headed in that general area. We could see people climbing the top of what appeared to be a mountain.

Hiking Lake Calavera Carlsbad California

Hiking Lake Calavera Carlsbad California

But it wasn’t a mountain at all!  In fact, it was an extinct Volcano.  After careful consideration (on a scale of 1-10, how dumb is this?), we decided to climb to the top of Calavera Hills Community Park. We knew it might affect the race but were over it.

Hiking Lake Calavera Carlsbad California

Hiking Lake Calavera Carlsbad California

Looking Down at Calavera Hills Community Park

Hiking Lake Calavera Carlsbad California

View from the volcano and Calavera Hills Community Park

Hiking Lake Calavera Carlsbad California

Hiking Lake Calavera Carlsbad California

We climbed about 500 feet at Calavera Hills Community Park so it was cool to see that on the Coros watch.Hiking Lake Calavera Carlsbad California

In all, Calavera Hills Community Park was an enjoyable hike and I have no regrets. It took us about 75 minutes to go roughly 3 hours, but we tooled around and took our time too. Do I think I was probably more sore during the half for doing it? Probably. Am I sad? No.

Winter Hikes:

Walking the Manasquan Reservoir

Hiking to the Headley Overlook at Mahlon Dickerson

Walking Merrill Creek Reservoir

Questions for you:

Have you ever hiked a volcano before? Have you been to Calavera Hills Community Park? 

What is your favorite hike?

me running california
Training: Turning Over a New Leaf

Another week of running down. I’ve struggled with calling it training.

Am I running? Yes.

Am I training for a race? No.

Have I done workouts? Yes.

Have I been inconsistent, often taking multiple days off a week? Yes.

Of course, I want to get back into shape and run fast again but the last few months have just been busy.  With the end of January, I think things will simmer down and I’ll able to regroup and refocus for what I want to train for.

View this post on Instagram

Sun and easy run. 🌞🏃‍♀️

A post shared by Hollie (@fueledbylolz) on

Anyway, vacation last week made it easy to get out and run.  In California, it was warmer, and I didn’t any extra things pulling me in different directions.  Between car rides and site seeing, we hiked a lot.  It was a nice break.

Monday: 30-minute run/Hike Reservoir (2 steep miles)
Tuesday: 9-mile hike in Merin Headlands
Wednesday: 50-minute run/Purisima Creek Redwood Hike
Thursday: OFF
Friday: Easy 45 minutes run
Saturday: Easy 6-mile run
Sunday: 14 mile run, with 7 at 7:15 pace.


This was a lot of hiking and steep climbing. Hiking on the West Coast is different than the East. Most of the trails are runnable so you can always move faster.  It might be higher elevation, but less rocky. East Coast Trails are much more rocky with more scrambling.

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Hiked so high, almost touched the sky.

A post shared by Hollie (@fueledbylolz) on

My running last week was fine. I was recovering from a hard effort from the Carlsbad Half. I raved as hard as I could for the day, which was a 1:29.47. It’s not near my PR, and I don’t feel like it took me that long to recover, which was nice, because I wasn’t that sore walking and hiking along the West Coast.

Over the weekend, I slept in until 7:30. Since I work in a run specialty store, I work on weekends. Saturday, especially it meant I didn’t have enough time to do a speed workout.  I almost didn’t run at all but squeezed in a 6-mile run.  I’m proud of myself for doing that and making the best of it. I don’t typically set alarms (waking up at 5 is usually not an issue), and once every few months I sleep in later than I should.  I don’t stress about it, because it just means my body needed more sleep.

Sunday:  14 miles with at 7:15

This entire run felt like a struggle. I started off easy, and as like progressed in pace down to 7:30 I felt like I was sprinting. After a few miles, it felt somewhat easier but it never felt easy.  I have a lot of work to do with long runs and it seems moons ago, that I was able to progress under 7-minute pace.

In all, this week was great. Vacation running and hiking was awesome and I feel like it was nice to be away.

Posts from the Week: 

Carlsbad Half Marathon (1:29.47)

Walking the Manasquan Reservoir

Questions for you:

Do you like hiking? Where is your favorite spot?

Where has been your favorite spot to vacation too?

Pit Stop Diner Oceanside California
The Pit Stop Diner (Oceanside, CA)

The Pitstop Diner (Oceanside, CA)

While in California, I knew I wanted to get to a new diner. I’ve already been to both the Studio Diner as well as my very first diner ever: The Corvette Diner (I was born in San Diego, and my dad would always take us there).  Anyway!

We weren’t going as south as San Diego, so it made it fairly easy to find a new diner.  I found the Pit Stop Diner in Oceanside.

Pit Stop Diner Oceanside California

The Pits Stop Diner Atmosphere: A
On the outside, the Pit Stop Diner appears to be a “regular” nice restaurant.  It’s clean, modern, and fits the look of the plaza.

Pit Stop Diner Oceanside California

On the inside, however, it’s more diner than you know how to get ahold of?  (After over 300 diner visits, I guess I can use diner as a verb?). The Pit Stop Diner has every license plate, car part, and even a full car inside. Of any inside, it’s definitely one of my favorite atmospheres.

Pits Stop Diner Service: A
Instead of being seated and picking from a Pits Stop Diner menu at your seat, you stand at the front, order, and go sit down. I’ve actually never been to a diner like this, and it was a great experience. The hostess/cashier was friendly and funny, and the food came out quickly.

Pits Stop Diner Coffee: B
Since you ordered at the front, the Pit Stop Diner gave you your own refillable cup to the coffee. They actually didn’t have whipped cream, but the fact I could refill my coffee at my choosing and with a large to go cup), was a huge perk for me.

Pit Stop Diner Oceanside California

The Pit Stop Diner has every type of food you can imagine.  One thing I appreciated was breakfast and lunch all day.  If you want a huge burger at 8 is, go for it!  Omelet for dinner, go for it!

Pit Stop Diner Oceanside California

At the Pits Stop Diner, I decided to order the Steak and Eggs. It came with toast, steak, and eggs. I ordered over medium eggs.  My meal was huge, and everything was cooked well.  It’s one of the better steak and eggs I’ve had in a while.  I would order it again.

Pits Stop Diner Cost: $
For my meal and coffee at the Pits Stop Diner, the cost was $18.

Overall Thoughts/Would I Come Back to the Pits Stop Diner?
I liked the Pit Stop Diner, and it’s one of the better diners I’ve been too overall. I would go back.

Atmosphere: A
Coffee: B
Food: A
Service: A
Cost: $8-15
Pits Stop Diner Overall: A

You Can See All Diner Reviews Here.

Questions for you:
What is the best atmosphere of a restaurant you’ve been too?
Favorite state license plate?

After staring at 10,000 during my meal, I’ve come to terms I like the simplicity of Texas, Hawaii, and NYS (Yes, I know most people hate New York…most people hate my fashion too 😉


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