5 Tips for Becoming a Morning Runner

…or worker-outer, if running isn’t your thing.

In a perfect world, we’d all get 8 hours of sleep (or more?? no judgment there — I slept 9.5 last night and could have kept going if WORK didn’t happen, I won’t lie) and wake up before sunrise just rip roaring to slide into sneaks and hit the pavement or gym. The mornings that I do feel well-rested and stoked for an early run make me feel energized and confident that I can tackle the day head-on and do superhuman things, like match my work outfits & choose fruit over chocolate & maybe even walk in heels successfully.

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However, the reality is that it can be hard to transition into morning workouts, especially if you have to work early, or if you have children, or if it’s between December and March and you live somewhere where Winter just sucks the life out of you. (Two of those three factors affect me, and trust me — there are many days when I have to resort back to being a night runner, just b/c I cannot make myself leave a warm bed!).

I’m not saying morning workouts are for everyone — if working out later in the day works well for you, by all means, stick with that. But for those of us who want to get some morning workouts in, I have some tips for helping us channel our inner early birds. (And I’m not addressing the “duhs,” like “go to bed earlier.” We all know that.)

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ONE: Start gradually. The “all or nothing” mentality can really discourage us in so many areas of life. So you want to workout in the morning but the thought of waking up at 5 every day sucks the joy out of your soul? Well, start with 2 mornings a week, or whatever seems manageable for you, and keep some after-work runs in there as well. Test out the waters, to so to speak, and see how your body feels and adjusts. Starting new habits often take some time and concerted effort, so don’t get discouraged and give up right away.daily-motivation-93
TWO:
Sign up for something. Signing up for a morning boot camp or spin class, or finding a local run group that does morning workouts, can serve as a good means of accountability in helping you lace up before the sun’s up. Knowing other people in your city are also stumbling around half-asleep as they pull on a sports bra can serve as motivation to get you out the door and into the Society of the Early Risers. When I first started working out regularly in the mornings, I’d take two boot camp classes a week before work. No matter how badly I wanted to stay in dreamland, I hardly ever missed one of those sessions because I craved the energy and group mentality (and didn’t want the trainer to think I was a slacker). πŸ™‚

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THREE:
Change your mentality. Instead of thinking “OMG that’s SO EARLY and I’ll be exhausted,” try thinking something along the lines of, “How fortunate I am to be able to start my day doing something beneficial, just for me. Not everyone has this luxury.” It might take some time, but my guess is that you’ll eventually look forward to this “you” time at the very start of your day and feel more energized and confident to tackle the rest.

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FOUR: Lay out your outfit. Seems so simple, I know, but it can really work. Rolling over to see your favorite pair of Athleta capris and colorful sneakers calling to you from the floor beside your bed (because if they’re lying in the middle of your room, you have to notice them or trip over them!) can serve as inspiration to get dressed and get moving.

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FIVE: Think ahead. When our days fill up, workouts are often “rescheduled til tomorrow,” i.e., set as a lesser priority. I get it — nobody wants to miss out on a dinner date or an impromptu happy hour with coworkers or a girls’ wine & Bachelor night. Planning out our day (or even week) can help us realistically see when we’ll have time to workout, and getting it out of the way in the mornings can free us up to still be able to say yes to those evening plans that arise. Think of it as your before work plan, in the same way as you schedule in your after work plans.

What time of day do you usually workout and why?
If you’re a morning person, what do you like about working out early?
Any other tips to add?

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18 thoughts on “5 Tips for Becoming a Morning Runner

  1. 4 days of the week I workout in the morning and I’ll admit even when I follow all of these tips there as some days I just roll over….then I get annoyed with myself because I NEVER manage to get back to sleep anyway.
    Working out in the morning makes me more motivated for the day ahead, I make healthier food choices and I sleep better at night. These are great tips and all things I have to do to help me with the morning fight with the pillow!

    • sounds like you’re pretty diligent about your morning workouts! 4 a week is great. it definitely makes me appreciate my post-workout coffee that much more. πŸ™‚

  2. I always thought that my husband was crazy for getting up at 6 am to run and then I started doing it. These days with our new schedules I still get up at 6 am to walk my dog and then workout at lunchtime. I kinda like working out later in the morning – sometimes it takes a while for my brain to get working especially in winter.

    • i used to workout at lunch, but then my job got busier and i couldn’t duck out for long enough to make it worth it. my boyfriend is noooot a morning person and asserts that if we ever get married/live together, hopefully my early bird tendencies will wear off on him. aka, i will wake his butt up and make him work out with me at 6am. πŸ™‚

    • yep the after-work plans always motivate me as well — grad school helped a lot with that, as if i didn’t work out in the morning, those 8am-10pm days weren’t leaving me any other room for that! haha yes, the get to bed early one is a DUH in my book. c’mon now, who wants to sleep 4 hours? not me.

  3. I always schedule a class or a doctor’s appointment or something early in the am so I’m up and at ’em! Because lately with winter and all that nonsense I’m so down to sleep until 9am or later. But no one ever regrets getting up early — it feels so awesome later in the day! Come spring I’m really going to need to revisit these tips so I can crush some morning runs. No better feeling!

    • totally agree with you (as long as i’m in bed early enough) — feels SO GOOD to get up early and tackle the day and have the whole entirety of it stretched out before you. but yes, definitely helps when it’s warm out!

  4. Great tips Shosh!! Enjoyed reading this post a lot. Good to know that even the most diligent of us fitness freaks still struggle with the early morning motivation sometimes! Slash we should really do an outdoor bootcamp together one morning a week come the spring time?!

  5. These are all great tips! Signing up for something early or making plans to meet a friend for a run or workout are key! I also swear by getting everything laid out the night before so I am ready to go!

  6. Definitely great tips! I am a morning runner. I have to be – I’m tired and cranky by the end of the day and unless I’m signed up for a class or something, the chances are i’ll end up postponing working out for work and end up just working late and not running. Sometimes, if I know I’ll be super tired in the morning and I’m just going to the gym, I’ll sleep in my workout clothes or at least some of them. It helps me in the morning – I’m already in the clothes! I also put everything together, if i can, by the door. Shoes. Headphones. Magazine, etc.

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