Most people fall into two categories: early birds or night owls. For as long as I can remember I have always been an early bird type of person. I rarely can get anything productive done after 8:30 pm but completely thrive in the mornings. Lucky for me, being an early morning runner is exactly what works for my schedule. Unfortunately, this is true for many individuals who may not share my love for mornings. Whether you are just trying to become more of a morning person or want to make a new habit of being a crazy AM runner, this post is for you!
While the feeling of already having your workout conquered before the sun comes up is a very accomplished one, getting out of bed at 4:00 or 4:30 am is not always easy (even for me). I find that the physical act of getting out of bed is the most difficult part, but if you are able to do that then the rest just falls into place. Before you start trying to wake up in the early morning hours, I think it is important to determine why this is something you want to do in the first place. I do the early morning workout routine because it fits my schedule, I enjoy starting my day with physical activity, quiet mornings are my absolute fav, it gives me energy for the rest of my day, and it significantly increases my chances of actually following through with a workout. The longer I wait to do a workout, the less likely it is that I will get it done. Defining WHY you want to become an early morning runner will help get you through the hard part of getting out of bed in the morning.
TIPS FOR RISING & GRINDING BEFORE THE SUN IS UP:
Prepare the night before. It is always helpful to have everything you need ready in the morning so you don’t have to put much thought into it and reduce the time it takes to get ready for the workout. I always lay out my workout clothes (based on weather conditions) and any gear I may need (pepper spray, headlamp, fanny pack, etc.). I also make sure my lunch is packed and decide what I want to wear to work the next day. While that doesn’t have anything to do with your workout, it helps so you don’t feel so rushed post workout.
Write down a schedule. This is most definitely my Type A personality shining through, but I always write down my time schedule for the morning. This allows me to map out how long my run and/or strength workout may take, how long I want to spend on getting ready and eating breakfast, and includes any other to dos for the morning like taking care of the dogs or putting a meal in the crock pot. I like to do this the night before because each day varies depending on what workout is scheduled and what to dos I need to accomplish.
Know your workout. Take time the night before to map out where you want to run or review what exercises you plan to do in the gym. Again, this makes the morning smoother and less hectic when you already know what to expect for your workout.
Go to bed early and implement sleep hygiene. Just because you are waking up earlier doesn’t mean you should get less sleep. Sleep is so important for overall health and recovery! You must be intentional about going to bed earlier, which is often a struggle for people. I have found sleep hygiene to be a game changer in my sleep schedule and quality of sleep. About an hour or so before you plan to go to bed, try not watching tv or looking at your phone, reading, taking a relaxing bath, turning off all overhead lights and using candles instead, or defusing oils that promote sleep. These types of habits will help your body prepare for sleep, help you fall asleep sooner, and create more restful sleep.
Set two alarms. How many of us set five or ten alarms in the morning?? This only encourages you to press snooze because you know you have more alarms set to wake you up later. Then you get in this cycle of snoozing alarms and waking up every seven minutes for an entire hour. That hour of sleep is not restful at all and can actually make you feel more tired! I set two alarms, two minutes apart. I allow myself to snooze once and open my eyes when the second alarm goes off.
Allow time to get out of bed. My college roommates used to tease me for jumping out of bed in the morning and running around to get ready before going to a gym (I was an early morning workout freak then too). While this was efficient, it also felt a little chaotic and stressful. After my second alarm goes off in the morning, I allow myself to lay in bed for ten minutes and scroll through my phone. Looking at the light on my phone actually helps wake me up and gives me time to be inspired by other runners or check the weather.
Respect your intentions for the day. Last but not least, respecting your intentions for the day is a way to respect yourself. You put all this work into preparing for your morning workout and future work day and you know how great it is going to feel once you accomplish that workout. You planned to have your run or workout early in the morning, so follow through and prove to yourself you are worth it! After those ten minutes of scrolling are up, so am I. I get out of bed put the clothes on I laid out the night before and get rolling with whatever exercise I have planned for the day.
Transitioning to working out in the morning can be difficult if it’s not your favorite time of day or you have never done it before. Be patient and have grace with yourself. The more you do it, the more it becomes routine and doesn’t feel so ludicrous. Before you know it you will be enjoying the quite morning hours while also dominating your training. 🙂