How to Become a Morning Running Ninja
Chances are high that many of us want, if not also prefer, to run in the morning, but we struggle. Who wants to get up extra early to run, especially when it means sacrificing sleep in the morning or going to bed early in the nighttime? Even though studies show that willpower diminishes throughout the day – making it even more important to run in the morning, since chances are high that it’ll be a bigger struggle later on – many of us still can’t get our act together and just get out and get moving in the morning. What gives!? The tips below share a few best practices worth incorporating into your daily routine, so that you can transform yourself into a morning runner.
The Night Before
Create an alarm (or alarms). Back-up alarms can be your friend. Make sure they’re all set for A.M.!
Put it all out there. Prepare everything for your morning run the night before so that come morning, you have very little to think about aside from dressing yourself and stepping out for your run. For some people, this might include setting a timer on your coffeemaker, setting out your running clothes, and preparing your pre- and post-run food. Idiot-proof your routine, and you’ll find that you can essentially go on autopilot in the early morning hours: something your brain will probably thank you for.
Go to bed! Admittedly, with the obligations like career and family, you may find that your day is packed and that getting to bed any earlier means that you aren’t attending to some of your duties. Consider examining how much time you’re wasting before bedtime, though. When you get in bed, are you awake for hours, browsing social media? Are you allowing yourself to be sucked into the vortex of the internet? If you want to make a habit of running early each morning, it’s imperative that you don’t sacrifice sleep. Soon enough, your body will adjust to your new day, and you’ll likely want to get to bed earlier than before. You could even consider giving yourself a “no screens in bed” rule; chances are high that you’ll find it’s easier to sleep when you don’t have a screen a few inches away from your face.
The Morning Of
It might not be great at first. That’s ok. It’s probable that you initially will question why you’re waking up early to run when you could be getting extra sleep. You might even resent your decision and decide, in a sleepy stupor, to swear off running altogether if it means having to wake up early. Don’t sweat it! Just like with any new routine, the first few goes of it will be tough. When your alarms sound, just get out of bed and move. Believe me: starting your day with a run will put you on a good foot for the rest of the day and can shape your perspective all day long. Plus, running is a great way to wake-up.
Ditch the timesuck. Social media can be a killer timesuck, especially in the morning when you’re waking up and want to “just check” everything: your facebook, twitter, instagram, email, blog, and who knows what else. Consider not even opening social media apps until after you’ve returned from your run, especially when you’re getting into the groove of establishing an early morning run routine. It’s so easy for a “5 minute social media check” to become a 20+ minute long endeavor, and in effect, it’ll kill your run opportunity. Just don’t even do it.
Funner with another. Running with a friend in the early morning is a great idea for both accountability and personal/physical safety. As a bonus: chatting with a friend makes the mileage fly by.
Be safe. Make sure you can see and that others can see you, particularly in the dark winter months. Be sure to prepare all of this stuff the night before your run so that you don’t forget anything in the final moments before you leave your house. Headlamps, safety vests, and reflective gear can go a long way to ensure your safety during early morning runs, when the sun hasn’t quite made it up yet.
Leaving nothing to chance – and essentially, planning out your morning to the near-minute – is hugely important to becoming a consistent early morning runner. You’ll likely find that you are more successful at completing your morning runs when you have as few decisions as possible to make in the morning. Soon enough, you will probably find that early morning running will become second nature to you, and then, you’ll wonder why you didn’t start sooner.