I have an ongoing battle with myself: am I a night owl or an early bird? I don’t think I’m a morning person, but I’m most productive in the morning. I really don’t want to do early morning runs, but I am happiest and I feel most accomplished when I get up and run first thing in the morning.
While I may prefer the idea of sleeping in, I’ve come to accept early morning runs really are awesome.
Why You Should Consider Morning Runs
You Won’t Have Time To Consider What You ‘Want To’ Do
If you leave your run until later in the day, you’ll have too much time to talk yourself out of running.
When I had a daily bus commute, way too often on the way home I’d spend the ride thinking about all of the reasons I didn’t want to run.
What’s the old saying? Go out for a run before your mind knows what you are doing.
The Day Won’t Get Away From You
Life happens. Last minute work meetings, family obligations, and appointments could all force you to cancel your run if you save it until evening.
There will be few interruptions at 6 am.
Watch The Sunrise
It may be a bit of a cliché, but getting the chance to watch the sunrise a few times a week is pretty cool. Such a simple pleasure, but one that never fails to bring a little awe into my life.
One of the great pleasures in my workday is coming into work at 8:30 am and being able to subtly drop into the conversation at the coffee machine that I’ve already knocked out a 5 mile run for the day.
Doing morning workouts gives you serious bragging rights.
You Know You’ll Have Accomplished Something For The Day
Even if everything else goes to hell for the day, you will have accomplished one thing.
Beat The Commute
This may be too specific for most people, but it was the main reason I became an early morning runner so I thought I’d include it here.
For years, I lived in Oakland and had a daily commute over the Bay Bridge into San Francisco. It was a beautiful commute, but the traffic was horrible and getting worse by the month. I always thought I couldn’t run in the morning – by the time I ran, showered and got to the bus, the traffic would be too bad to make it to work on time.
But then I thought out the box. I joined a gym with a location a few blocks from the office and started taking the first express bus into the city. At that time of day, the traffic wasn’t too horrible. I ran along the Embarcadero in San Francisco and showered at the gym. I beat the worst of the traffic and got a morning run in. Double score!
How To Be A Morning Runner
Knowing you should do morning runs is the easy part. The real question is how do you make yourself do it?
Mornings always arrive so darn early. Beds are so comfy and cozy. How do you rip yourself away from that to run?
Move Your Alarm Clock
When your alarm clock is right next to your bed, it is waaaay to easy to reach over, hit snooze, and curl back under the covers.
Move your alarm clock to the far side of the room. That way, to turn in off, you actually have to get out of bed. Just like that, the worst part of getting up has already happened and your day has begun.
Don’t Hit Snooze Too Often
Don’t use and abuse your snooze button. If you hit snooze too often, it becomes very easy to start thinking of your alarm as optional.
From there, it is a slippery slope to ignoring your alarm altogether until the last possible moment.
The snooze button is a gateway drug to lazy. Don’t start.
Rethink Your Options
Like I mentioned above with my commute, I resisted morning runs when I thought only in terms of what I ‘usually did’ I usually ran and showered at home. Hard as I tried, I just couldn’t make that timing work. Once I started considering other options – changing my commute, showering at the gym, running near work, everything changed.
Consider your variables. What pieces could you do differently to make it easier to run in the morning?
Always Get Up Earlier (or not)
I know, maybe not helpful advice.
I’ve found morning runners generally fall into one of two camps: those who find it easier to get up really early on some days when they know they can get up later on other days; and those who find it easier to get up super early if they always get up super early.
Try it both ways for a week or two. You may be surprised at what you find out about yourself.
I was sure I would find it easier to get up super early some days if I could ‘sleep in’ other days. But then I actually tried both options. For me, sleeping later on same days made the early days harder – I remembered how nice it felt to not get out of bed at 5:15. When I did the early thing every day it was just what I did. It became much easier.
Rip Off The Band-Aid (or not)
I read somewhere that to become an early riser, wake up 10 minutes earlier each week until you are waking up at the time you want. Break yourself in slowly.
I found it much easier to pull the band-aid off all at once and do early cold turkey. Set the alarm for the early time and start adjusting.
Again, try it both ways and see what happens. You might surprise yourself with what you find.