Become A Morning Runner
Awaken the Beast
May 25, 2017
I am not a morning person by any stretch of the imagination which is a constant struggle as a runner because, as other runners are always reminding me, mornings are THE BEST time to run. This poses a problem for someone like me because it takes me about an hour or two to really feel awake in the morning. Running aside, I have a pretty solid morning routine (see last week's post). It may not be the most productive in the world, but I wake up just under 2 hours before I need to leave for work. That gives me about an hour to sit on the couch with my computer, schedule some posts for the day, and catch up on social media. After that, I've got an extra hour to shower, actually get ready, spend some more time on the computer, and be out the door by around 7:45-8:00 am. I've also been trying out intermittent fasting so I usually don't eat until noon but I do allow for one cup of coffee when I get to work at 9.
Due to a few factors, I've never been a successful morning runner. I'm sometimes able to manage on the weekends when I've got nowhere to be, that way I don't have to worry about how long it takes me to get going. The longest I've ever lasted during a week of morning runs was only one or two days. But I've decided to give it another go! So why I am I putting myself through this? Two real reasons. First, people have been telling me FOREVER that your life becomes so much easier if you run in the morning. Nothing's going to come up to get in your way (except exhaustion) and you're starting your day with a significant accomplishment. Just this week two of the podcasts I listen to were raving about working exercise into your morning routine and how much better you feel throughout the day, assuming you're able to make it through the workout. Everyone also says that you get used to it, you just have to push through the sleepy haze in the beginning but I think I'll be the judge of that.
It's no coincidence that I'm starting this challenge over the summer. My hope is that it will also be easier to get runs out of the way earlier in the day before it gets too hot. On top of that, Runner's World is sponsoring a "RW Run Streak" challenge that will run from Memorial Day to July 4th. I figured it would be fun to give this a try, and I've probably got a better shot of sticking with it if I get my miles out of the way first thing in the morning. If you've never run a streak challenge before, basically the idea is to run at least a mile per day through the duration of the challenge.
Alright so now I've got a goal set but am going in knowing full well that this is going to suck in the beginning. I've heard that preparing ahead of time can help ease the transition so I've done my research. And, in case any of you feel inspired to give it a shot, I'm summarizing my plan below in the hopes that it may help you as well!
Half of the struggle to start a morning running routine seems to be the anxiety and preparation so it really helps to plan things out ahead of time (aka what I'm doing now!). First and foremost, figuring out what time you're going to need to wake up, and be honest with yourself, the easiest way for your routine to fail is if you don't give yourself enough time to actually do it! Next, plan out the night before your run. This is something I hadn't paid much thought to but it's A) important to get a good night sleep so you're not groggy in the morning, waking up earlier means going to sleep earlier! and B) Eating a hearty meal for dinner so you still have some energy stored in the morning. It's also important not to eat too late so you give yourself plenty of time to digest. The last thing to do the night before is set your running clothes out. It's a minor thing but could easily become your excuse not to run in the morning!
Alright, so you're awake and (somewhat) ready to go! What next? For me, the first thing I like to do is immediately change into those clothes I set out ahead of time. Then, even if it takes me a bit to get moving, I'm already dressed for a run so it's harder for me to talk myself out of it. My biggest concern is going to be figuring out what to eat though. As I mentioned, I typically don't eat before noon and I'm not quite sure how adding in this early morning run will affect that. After consulting the interwebs, it doesn't seem necessary to eat anything before the run as long as it won't be longer than 6 miles or 60minutes so for now, I shouldn't have to worry. What everyone seems to agree on though, is that proper fuel can be drastically different for different people so it's important to know your body. Hopefully, after a week or so of morning runs, I'll be able to report back with how I fared regarding my morning fuel. I will definitely plan on allotting enough time to get some coffee into me though.
Now you're awake, dressed, and ready to go, but not so fast! If, like me, you have been spending your mornings only a few levels above that of a zombie, your muscles and joints are probably pretty stiff right about now so don't rush into the run. Give your body plenty of time to warm up. This could mean very different things for different people so listen to your body as you get out the door, and ease into the run.
And that's it, you're a morning runner. Sounds easy right? The last tip that I found pretty much everywhere was to find a running buddy to keep yourself accountable and that's something I don't have. That's where you come in. By posting this hear I'm hoping it holds me more accountable to the routine, and I'll be sharing my progress on Instagram for anyone who wants to follow, I'm sure I'll need any encouragement I can get! Aside from that, I'm always looking for advice from the running community so let me know if I'm missing anything from my plan. What's your morning routine look like? What time are you up and out the door? Let me know in the comments below!