We all know at least one person in our running circle who brags about having run 6 miles in the early morning hours long before we were awake. And as much as we might hate them for their subtle bragging, we secretly are a little jealous. Especially on those days when the thought of running even one mile after work exhausts us so much we simply collapse on the couch with TV and ice cream.
Here’s how to become a superhuman early morning runner and actually enjoy it!
- Allow time for stretching and warm-up
If your body is used to running in the evening, running in the morning can be a shock to the system. Allow yourself time to loosen up your muscles, especially if you tend to be tight upon waking up. It may take your body a bit longer than usual to get going at your normal pace, but don’t let that frustrate you. Give your body a mile or two to wake up before you increase the pace, taking deep breaths through the nose and out through the mouth.
- Lay out your clothes the night before
This is a great tip for facilitating any early morning workout. Leaving your clothes right next to your bed or alarm prevents you from using any extra brain power in the morning. Don’t skip on anything you might need! The less time it takes to get ready, the later you can set that alarm.
- Drink water immediately
Fill a water bottle or glass of water up before you go to bed. Immediately when you wake up the next morning, chug the glass. You’ll instantly feel awake and hydrated! Our bodies naturally loose water as we sleep, so this will instantly put some of that back in your system before you go and work up a sweat.
- Prepare any food the night before
For those who like a little snack before they hit the pavement, it is best to do this the night before to give yourself a little more sleep time. Make sure you eat something easily digestible, as your stomach may be slow to start after resting while you slept. Plain toast, half a granola bar, or a small banana with a teaspoon of peanut butter are all great options.
- Meet a friend
Early morning conversation may not be your forte, but having another body to run next to you will do wonders for your mood and motivation to wake up. Plus, if you do talk, you’ll feel even more awake by the time you’ve finished running!
- Use caffeine
If all else fails, put a cup of cold brew in the fridge and gulp it down after your glass of water. Sometimes, the promise of a cup of coffee is all the motivation one needs.
The truth is, running or exercising in general in the early morning hours is never going to be glamorous. It requires discipline and willpower. But once you establish the habit, you’ll never want to go back.