It’s a very rare day you’ll see me running after about 8 am. In fact, most of my runs are start around 5:30 and frankly, I like it. It’s the time I set myself up for the day.
Whether I’m working or spending the following 8 hours on the couch, I am up early running.
I never used to be a “morning runner” though. In college, I loved to run in the afternoon. During my first job, I would even run after work. Then one day I took on an extra project after work and my choices were run before work, or not run.
I grumbled about running in the morning, and it took a few weeks to adjust, but I quickly fell in love with the morning. Now five years later, you’ll be hard pressed to find me running at night. Unless of course, it’s a social event or a fun race.
So how do you become one of these “morning runners”? To be honest there is no secret, you just have to wake up and go out there. It might be dark, cold and miserable but I can guarantee that you’ll be much happier when it’s done. You won’t worry about running for the rest of the day.
1) Lay out your outfit (or sleep in it)
Make sure you have your outfit somewhere easily accessible. It doesn’t have to be photo perfect, but just have it out. That way you can just grab it and go and aren’t spending an extra 10 minutes looking for something. There is a reason I don’t Instagram my morning running outfit because mine is usually piled next to the sink. Plus, if you pack the night before you won’t forget something.
2) Pack up your work stuff
If your work items are also packed, it just makes the morning so much less stressful. Each night, I spend about 10 minutes packing everything I’ll need for work in the morning. At night, I’m typically relaxed and I just pack.
When I try and pack things for work in the morning, it’s already chaotic! I’m running around thinking I’ll be late and it’s messy. Believe me, even if you don’t run in the morning, packing the night before is one of the best adulthood lessons I’ve learned.
3) Set alarms for your alarms
If you are someone who sleeps through your alarm, set 5 or 6, 5-minute intervals to your alarm. Eventually, you’ll wake up and go for a run. I used to need an alarm, but after waking up early for so long, now my body just does.
4) Give yourself two weeks
It took about two weeks for me to fully adjust to running in the morning. The first week was the hardest, but slowly I got used to it. Give yourself two weeks of morning running and reevaluate after then. If you hate running in the morning, go back to your original time.
5) Find a training partner
Finding a training partner might be more difficult, but if you can find someone, anyone to meet for a mile or two, then two crazies at 5:30 am is better than one. There have been multiple times I would have taken a rest day if I knew I wasn’t meeting someone.
6) Run from home
For some, this might not be possible, but if you can cut all of the travel time down, you’ll be more motivated. It’s so much easier to just walk out of your front door versus driving, then running, then driving home (or to work).
7) Give yourself a reward
Tell yourself, if I can wake up for X amount of days and run I’ll do this. It doesn’t have to be food or materialistic, it can be anything from new running gear, or just treating yourself.
If you give yourself something to look forward to, it’s much easier to build motivation. I treat myself to a coffee a few times a week after my workouts.
8) Bed time
This is the most critical part of running earlier. The later you go to sleep, the harder it is to run early. Personally, I turn off the technology at 9 pm. I might not go to bed right at 9 pm, but I’m not checking Instagram, twitter, facebook, or anything else. Give yourself a cutoff time that you must go to bed.
9) Visualize your success
We all want to see results right? Whether you have a big race, training goal or weight loss goal, remind yourself every morning why you are out there grinding miles in the dark.
Sometimes, when I’m the least motivated, I look at a photo from a PRing race, and I remember, “Oh right, that’s why I’m out here”.