I Am a U.S. Champion Long-Distance Runner—This Is How I Start a Training Day

What's the first thing you do when you get out of bed in the morning? A well-rounded morning routine sets the tone for the day and gets you prepped—both mentally and physically—before diving into a packed schedule filled with emails, chores, happy hours, workouts, and more. Our series Morning Person profiles those who have mastered the art of the morning routine.

Tune in every Monday morning here and on our Instagram to learn exactly how the pros get it all done before the sun comes up, from their go-to breakfasts to their a.m. workouts.

Aliphine tuliamuk morning routine


Courtesy of Aliphine Tuliamuk 

While the Tokyo Summer Olympics may be postponed until 2021, 10-time U.S. national champion long-distance runner Aliphine Tuliamuk is not taking breaks from her rigorous training schedule. With long training days ahead of her, Aliphine has also become a pro at taking care of and listening to her body so she's able to perform the best in her sport.

See how she starts a typical training day below.

6:40 A.M.

Aliphine tuliamuk morning routine


Courtesy of Aliphine Tuliamuk 

My alarm goes off. I'm tired and my legs are feeling sore from a workout earlier this week. In the fog of my early morning thoughts, I half wonder if I'm even up for the 18-mile-long run I have planned for today.

As an athlete, one of the most important things I've learned is to listen to my body. In a sport like long-distance running, your legs take a pounding. I'm still only a few weeks out from my victory at the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials at the end of February, where my mind and body were primed for my absolute best performance.

Right now, I'm recovering and slowly getting back into the groove of training. That means today, I'm doing something I don't usually do when we are at the thick of training: cutting myself some slack and hitting the snooze button. There will be plenty of early morning long runs and workouts in the weeks and months ahead.

9 A.M.

With a little extra sleep, I'm officially up and ready for action.

The first order of business is coffee. My partner Tim is up before me, and he has the coffee ready to go. Oh how lucky I feel to have a man who brings me coffee in bed when he is off from work, but I am up a little early today, or did he sleep in? Either way, I am serving myself some coffee.

I don't need to drink a lot of coffee before a long run; half a mug will do. But I do like lots of sugar! I usually give myself a "generous" two tablespoons of sugar in my morning coffee.

With coffee in hand, I sit with Tim and relax. We start our day on a positive foot by just talking and taking time for ourselves. While we chat, I use my Roll Recovery R8 massage device. My legs are sore, so I need to give them some extra TLC before my run.

9:20 A.M.

I step outside and check the weather. Santa Fe can be cold in the spring, but today is not too bad. It's in the high 50s, so I'll wear a long-sleeve shirt for the run.

9:30 A.M.

I'm dressed and ready to go with my running essentials: Rudy Project sunglasses, Hoka One One Clifton 6, and a Garmin GPS watch. It's go time! They say the hardest part of the run is the first step out the door. So I don't linger any longer than I have to. I hug Tim goodbye and am on my way.

12:40 P.M.

I'm done! It took me a little over two hours to run the full 18 miles. That comes out to six minutes and 48 seconds per mile. When I race a full marathon (26.2 miles), I can run five-and-a-half-minute miles. This was a good moderate-effort run that didn't require me to overexert myself.

Aliphine tuliamuk morning routine


Courtesy of Aliphine Tuliamuk 

Now that I'm back home, I stretch and let my body cool down. One of the first things I do is make my recovery drink. I pour a tall glass of water and add Gatorade Endurance Formula along with some collagen protein. Then it's bottoms up. Getting protein shortly after I'm done running is essential to good recovery.

This is a good time to reflect and take note of everything I accomplished in my workout. My cold drink tastes great after a long run in the sun. Running is a challenging but beautiful sport. There's no other feeling like the satisfaction you get after finishing a good run. Now I can go on with the rest of my day, feeling proud of the way it started.

Next up: I Founded a Zero-Waste Toothpaste Company—Here's My Sustainable Morning Routine