It’s time to rise and shine. And for many of us, that means getting a run in is the first thing on our agendas.
Waking up early to go for a run can be extremely hard. We love to sleep. We need more sleep. So it’s really tempting to hit that snooze button and put off a workout until later.
But believe me when I say that it does get easier to become a morning runner. After getting into the routine of rising early, it becomes like clockwork.
It doesn’t mean that it doesn’t take the motivation and willpower to actually leave our comfy beds. But doing so has so many benefits.
Health Benefits Of Morning Runs
For starters, the workout is over and done with.
There is a better chance that people actually get a sweat session in when doing it first thing in the morning. It’s easy to continue to put it off all day and then before you know it it’s time for bed.
We have obligations like work, school, family life, and other responsibilities. This means running gets put on the back burner. And sometimes things just happen during the day that changes our schedule. Not to mention to loss of motivation after a long day of work when the couch and Netflix sounds really good.
Another big benefit of becoming a morning runner is you will burn more calories throughout the entire day. Starting the day with a workout jumpstarts metabolism for the day. That means the body is working all day long, burning calories.
Running also does wonders for mood. The release of feel-good hormones will make any grump not morning person start their commute with a smile on their face.
It also sets you up to make healthy choices for the remainder of the day.
Tips To Becoming A Morning Runner
This all sounds great, but where to start?
1. Leave Your Clothes Out
Prepare in advance for a morning run the night before. Leave out clothes down to socks.
Charge your smartwatch and headphones and leave them in a spot where you won’t forget them.
Pack a gym bag with water, post-run breakfast bar or banana and a change of clothes if necessary.
Have everything ready so you can rise still in zombie mode and just get dressed and out the door.
2. Set Your Alarm—Far Away
Of course, you need to set an alarm in order to wake up on time. And for some people, like this runner, it means setting multiple ones in case we tend to snooze it still half asleep.
A good tip I learned is to set your alarm and then charge your phone away from your reach. This means you physically have to get out of bed to turn it off. And chances are once you are up, you are up.
Do this trick at the beginning of getting used to early morning rising. Then over time, you might find it’s much easier to naturally wake up at 5 or 6 a.m.
3. Run With A Friend
Accountability is key.
There is a better chance you will get out of bed if you know your friend is waiting for you.
Having a running buddy is ideal when training for a long distance race like a half or full marathon. If they are training too, both need to get the miles in. Doing it together makes those long runs that much less lonely.
But even if it’s a short run and for no big race at all, running with a friend can help get motivated to go and run before the sun.
4. Sacrifice And Sleep
While training for each of my half marathons I’ve run I opted to get my long run done on the weekend when there is more time. Even still, it meant waking up even earlier in order to be done by 9 or 10 a.m.
This meant a whole lot of sacrificing when it came to my Friday nights. Instead of having drinks, I headed to bed early.
Instead of making plans for Friday nights with family or friends, I moved these social outings for Saturday night. I knew Sunday would be a rest day and I deserved to have a glass of wine after logging in 11 miles while most people will still in bed.
Sleep is so important when having to wake up early to run. Especially when running long distance. The body needs that recovery time and rest. So make it a habit to get to bed at a decent hour.
5. Have A Planned Route
When running early in the morning, have a route planned in advance. Don’t wake up and then have to think of where to run.
Those who only have a short time before work should stick to their neighborhood. Others who wake up early enough or are close to a local park can run there. Just keep in mind parks open at sunrise and may feel sketchy when running alone.
Make the route one where you aren’t out there completely alone when it’s still dark out. This means hitting the wooded trails probably isn’t the best idea.
Invest in some safety gear just in case or always run with a buddy when it’s dark out.
6. Be Seen
This further adds to the point about being safe. Get some reflective gear so that others can see you out there.
This includes a reflective vest, headlamp, or other neon colored gear.
Get a Road ID bracelet or use a running emergency app that does things like provide loved ones with GPS-location.