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The Key To Surviving a 3:20 a.m. Wake Up Call

by Meghann on August 13, 2013

Part of my job is being awake and ready to go at 3:30am. That usually requires coffee – lots of coffee – and maybe two or three extra alarms “just in case.” Instead of surviving off of in-room hotel coffee (and wasting 5 precious minutes in the morning making it), I picked up a little trick while I was in Webster a couple of weeks ago.

The night before the race I stop by a Starbucks and order a grande non-fat iced coffee… sans the ice. I then put the iced coffee in my hotel mini-fridge and go to bed. In the morning all I need to do is add ice and I’m ready to go.

ice coffee.jpg

(this is an old photo. my phone ate all the photos I took in Syracuse 🙁 )

This is a great time saver because stopping at a 24-hr place to get coffee would require leaving an extra 5-10 minutes earlier, which means waking up 5-10 minutes earlier, and who wants to do that?

I’ve also taken to sleeping in my sports bra (so all I have to do is throw my shirt on when I wake up), prepping my bag the night before (so all I have to do is grab and go), and I generally pull my hair back in a ponytail with a headband (easy peasy). Going to bed at 8:30 helps too. I’ve gotten to a point where I can wake up at 3:20am and be in the hotel lobby ready to go at 3:30am. The trick is being low maintenance, very low maintenance.

What are your tricks for getting up early?

{ 38 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Livi August 13, 2013 at 9:12 pm

ha that’s awesome! I’ve been known to get ready in under 10 min, but it definitely takes planning! my key steps are minimal makeup (foundation + eyes) and choosing clothes/shoes the night before!
Livi recently posted..back to the grind.

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2 Sarah Elizabeth August 13, 2013 at 9:22 pm

WHAT a fanTASTic idea! Thanks for the tip! I’m going to try it (though hopefully not at 3:30AM haha).
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3 Stephanie August 13, 2013 at 9:22 pm

I’m THE WORST at waking up early, but when I have to, I also wear my sports bra and/or my workout gear to bed!
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4 Heather August 13, 2013 at 9:24 pm

Automatic coffee maker…sleepin in my workout clothes. ..in the winter having an automatic starter oh and DRY SHAMPOO!!

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5 Christine @ BookishlyB August 13, 2013 at 9:37 pm

I don’t have to get up nearly that early, but in order to wake up at 5:45 the night before I shower (who gets dirty in bed?), lay out my clothes, make my lunch, prep my breakfast, and put my work bag together. In the morning I have it down to a 38 minute routine between hair, makeup, pet care, and breakfast. Damn, I live for weekends.
Christine @ BookishlyB recently posted..New Years Eve: 2013-2014 School Year Resolutions

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6 lisa fine August 13, 2013 at 9:42 pm

The trouble I have when I wake up early is that the earlier I’m up, the slower I am. So when I got up that early to run some Disney races, I had to give myself way more time than usual to get moving.

Love that premade iced coffee idea though, and I definitely lay my clothes out the night before, and often have meals prepped the night before too.
lisa fine recently posted..Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie

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7 Melissa August 13, 2013 at 9:49 pm

Wow, 3:20 am is super early! I give you a lot of credit, I don’t know if I’d be able to pull that off! My tricks for getting up early is lots and lots of coffee!!
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8 Becky @ Olives n Wine August 13, 2013 at 9:54 pm

Definitely agree on the low maintenance! It’s so easy when all you have to do is roll out of bed, brush your teeth and pull your hair up in a pony 😉 Love the coffee idea! I am totally going to try that one next time I have to be up before the crack of dawn!
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9 Kim August 13, 2013 at 10:23 pm

I had to frequently get up that early for my last job, and drive across the state (driving to Miami at 3:30 A.M. is rough!) I love your coffee idea, I would do the same thing (but with ice) and it never came out the same in the morning. I will have to try that. I also slept in a sports bra and tshirt, and I always had breakfast packed to eat on the road. I am useless without coffee and food!

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10 Logan @ Mountains and Miles August 13, 2013 at 10:34 pm

When I have to get up early, especially if it’s to workout or race, I always sleep in what I need to wear the next day. On a normal week, I always have my clothes laid out and my lunch already packed so all I have to do is just get up and go!
Logan @ Mountains and Miles recently posted..Sharknado!

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11 [email protected] August 13, 2013 at 10:34 pm

I only get up that early when flying. I hate it. I wonder why I didnt pick a later flight every single time. Its misery. Nothing helps my crabby self until I consume about a million cups of coffee. 🙂
[email protected] recently posted..A Day In The Life

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12 Sara @ LovingOnTheRun August 13, 2013 at 10:38 pm

Wow I wouldn’t have thought of that! That is actually a really great trick! One of my keys to getting up is multiple alarms and wearing my gym clothes to bed if I need to get up for a run – it is less to do in the morning and makes me feel guilty if I’m sleeping in my workout clothes and still don’t get up 🙂
Sara @ LovingOnTheRun recently posted..The Struggles of High Mileage

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13 Mrs. Swan August 13, 2013 at 10:40 pm

I LOVE to get a pumpkin spice latte with no whip and chill it overnight. I think the coldness brings out the flavor more.
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14 Farah @ Fabulously Farah August 13, 2013 at 10:43 pm

Being low maintenance is definitely key!

I think showering the night before saves time as well as wearing a pony tail and headband. It’s all about being quick.

Setting my phone (I use my phone for my alarm) on the TV stand or somewhere where I cannot reach it from my bed literally makes me get out of the bed to turn it off. It stinks, but it works!
Farah @ Fabulously Farah recently posted..Hiking at Table Rock Trail, South Carolina

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15 Julie @ RDelicious Kitchen August 13, 2013 at 11:23 pm

totally unrelated .. thought you would like this ..
http://www.buzzfeed.com/jessicamisener/publix-subs-are-the-most-delicious-thing-to-ever-happen-on-e
Julie @ RDelicious Kitchen recently posted..Salmon, Avocado, Cucumber Roll Ups

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16 Ashley August 13, 2013 at 11:54 pm

I am awful at getting up early, it seriously is a debate in my mind every “school day” morning to get up and work out. Most days I win. . . and those are normally the days I prepare. I’ve definitely got as far as sleeping in my running gear. I hope Zach doesn’t mind a stinky girl…
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17 Kelsey Yoki August 14, 2013 at 12:09 am

When I absolutely have to get up, I make sure to tell myself before I fall asleep that I have to get up (like walking around and such), which does help! Otherwise, it is alarms galore for me! Wish I had some better tactics. =)

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18 katie August 14, 2013 at 3:29 am

i’d definitely rather wake up a whole 5-10 minutes earlier than drink old coffee. but that’s just personal preference 😉

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19 Chelsea @ Designs on Dinner August 14, 2013 at 5:23 am

I wake up at 3:30am for work every day, too. I’m usually in bed by 7:30, and there’s always iced coffee or tea in the fridge for my caffeine fix. I try to prep lunch the night before, too, and also take a shower right after I am done with work and have exercised. You gotta do what you gotta do!
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20 Celia August 14, 2013 at 5:26 am

I wake up at 4:30 every morning for work. I also have several alarms set and lots of coffee. It’s the only way! I don’t do the going to bed at 8:30 thing very well though.

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21 Debbie B. August 14, 2013 at 5:33 am

I am now wondering why I have never thought of this. What a great idea. For me the key is to be very organized in the morning. Lay out my clothes, toothbrush, hair stuff and put everything I need to take with me together. The less I have to think the better.

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22 Andrea R. @ Morning Runner Girl August 14, 2013 at 7:13 am

I love this!
Being low mainence is the best! I take that identification with pride! You are organized and ready to go and naturally beautiful! Great job with those early mornings!! 🙂
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23 Elizabeth @ Positive Changes August 14, 2013 at 8:28 am

Those are some great tips! I also wear my sports bra if I need to wake up super early, I also lay everything out and have everything ready to, no if’ s, and’s or but’s!
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24 Karen @ Runner Girl Eats August 14, 2013 at 8:51 am

Going to bed is key for me. Also sitting up as soon as the alarm goes off. Everything after the initial sit up is easy peasy.
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25 Emily @ Perfection Isn't Happy August 14, 2013 at 9:16 am

Great tips! If I have to get up early, I always lay out my clothes the night before and plan my hair/makeup routine in my head, so I know what I’m going to do in the morning. Your job starts early, but it sounds like a lot of fun! I know you’re not organizing HLS this year, but will you be attending?
Emily @ Perfection Isn’t Happy recently posted..day 13: home

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26 sarah @makingitmyhome.blogspot.com August 14, 2013 at 9:39 am

I’ve been known to sleep in the clothes I need to wear the next day if it is a super early wake-up call. Leggings and a flow-y top are my best friends.

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27 Sarah August 14, 2013 at 10:35 am

That is the best coffee idea ever!!!! Getting ready in 10 minutes is impressive! I can do that too when needed!
Sarah recently posted..Marathon Training Day 30

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28 Dana August 14, 2013 at 11:26 am

Multiple alarms and leaving my phone across the room help me. I don’t do coffee, but black tea with almond milk helps give me a boost. And chia seeds.
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29 Katie @ running4cupcakes August 14, 2013 at 11:37 am

I love that coffee tip!! And I totally sleep in a sports bra too when I have to get up early to teach BODYPUMP!!

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30 Sara @ Zero to Sixty August 14, 2013 at 12:37 pm

Damn… I thought I was being good getting up at 5:30 this morning. I am a newish reader of your blog… what do you do that requires you to be up at 3:30am?! That coffee trick is awesome though. To make sure I am on time and get a workout in the morning I do everything the night before. Prepare and pack lunch, lay out my work clothes, and workout clothes, and pack my gym bag if I am going to not run outside around my apartment!

Sara 🙂
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31 Presh August 14, 2013 at 12:43 pm

3:30am – MORE POWER TO YOU but you have it down to a science especially with the coffee and sleeping in your sports bra. Usually I can be ready in 10-15 mins if I prepare the night before.
Presh recently posted..On a scale of 1 to 10, my healthy eating was a 7.

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32 Peachylau August 14, 2013 at 12:54 pm

And you still get your 7h beauty sleep! Impressive
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33 joelle (on a pink typewriter) August 14, 2013 at 1:13 pm

I used to be great at waking up early, but lately…. struggle city. You’re right though — they key is totally getting to bed early. That’s where I seem to fail haha.
joelle (on a pink typewriter) recently posted..Are Slow Runners Real Runners?

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34 LC August 14, 2013 at 2:38 pm

One quick tip about your coffee trick – order the grande (sans ice) in a Venti cup. They’re more than happy to do it for you and then you have a couple of inches to add ice in the morning without trying to drink a bunch so it doesn’t over flow. I order my hot coffee that way too- let’s me dump in a ton of cream without ending up with less coffee. Bonus!

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35 Elizabeth V August 14, 2013 at 8:52 pm

I wake up at 5 every day. The key is going to bed early! 9pm=my bedtime.

I love the iced coffee trick-very smart!

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36 Ashley August 15, 2013 at 1:05 am

Oh what a great coffee idea!
Ashley recently posted..Achilles and laundry.

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37 ct cupcake August 16, 2013 at 8:00 pm

hmm not sure about the old coffee as time saving. My dad always sets the coffee up the night before, even in a hotel with no pre-progamable timer. Just walk by, hit start, and aaah fresh, great smelling coffee in the time it takes to brush your teeth.

the smell of fresh coffee alone will wake you up!
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38 Floey August 19, 2013 at 7:13 pm

Danngg girl. Why does it require you to be up so early? What time does work start?

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