Planning to start running in the morning, but you are not a morning person?
Then you’ve come to the right place.
Running at anytime of the day does your body good, but research shows that the most effective time to do it is in the morning.
Plenty of studies revealed that those who exercise first thing in the morning are generally fitter, happier, more productive, and emotionally stable than those who don’t.
In this article, I’ll share with you a few guidelines to help you start running in the morning.
Morning Runs Benefits
Here are some of the gains you stand to reap.
Improved Brain Function
Research reported that exercise could boost mental acuity for up to 10 hours or longer post-workout. When you’re sweating it out first thing in the morning, you’re allocating all of that extra energy in the right place.
Improved Sleep Quality
Another reason to start a day with a run is that it may lead to a better night’s sleep.
Again, don’t take my word for it. Research reported that people that exercised at 7 a.m. spent more time in deep sleep at night than those that exercised at 7 p.m.
When you run in the morning, your routes will be less crowded as the rest of the world is still asleep.
Sure, you might not be the only human—nor runner—out there, but you’ll have to contact with fewer distractions.
Free Up Your Evenings
Once you log in your miles first thing, your evenings will be wide open to do whatever you want. You can go out, have a date, read a book, watch Netflix.
You might still have a lot of things to cross of your to-do list, but that’s okay. Your run is done.
Research also shows that morning exercisers tend to be more consistent over the long term than those who choose to do it later in the day.
I could go on and on about the benefits of morning workouts, but I guess you get the picture. Morning exercise is good for you, period.
How To Start Running In The Morning
Serious about giving morning runs a try? Here are the steps you need to take to make AM runs a reality.
Go for a light snack in the range of 120-150 calories, like a banana with peanut butter, oatmeal, or chia pudding. By choosing healthy options, you won’t risk running on empty nor overeating.
You should also know that coffee has been shown to improve performance. Rejoice, coffee drinkers!
If eating in the morning is out of the question, then make sure, at the very least, to have a nutritious evening meal the night before.
The dinner you eat before an a.m. run will significantly impact how you perform during the session itself.
If you eat nothing but junk food the night before your workout, chances are you’re going to roll out of bed feeling exactly like that—crappy.
Eat plenty of vegetables, healthy fats, and lean protein, so you can wake up feeling energized and replenished, not sluggish and gross.
Warm Up Right
Early in the morning—especially during the winter—your muscles are likely to be cold and stiff.
That’s why you need to start with a dynamic warm-up to get your body ready for the task ahead.
Dynamic warm-ups increase blood flow to working muscles and raise body temperature. This, in turn, helps maximize performance.
Warming upright can also help you mentally ease into the workout.
Here’s the exact breakdown:
- Start by jogging in place or doing jumping jacks to raise your body temperature.
- Once you feel warm, perform this dynamic warm-up routine.
Go to Bed Early
The first step is going to bed as early as possible.
Sleep only for less than six hours, and you won’t have enough energy to run—nor do anything else in your life.
My goal bedtime is 11.00 p.m. That way, I make sure I have at least hours of quality uninterrupted sleep once my alarm clock goes off at around 6.30 a.m.
Sure, some people believe that they can survive on much less, but I doubt it. The science on this is quite clear.
Next, once you open your eyes, allow for a few minutes for the world to settle in, as you’ll almost definitely feel groggy.
Don’t be in a rush.
Going early to bed is, just like anything else you do, a habit. Once you get yourself into it, you’ll start to build this habit.
Plan Your Gear in Advance
Success favors the prepared mind, especially when trying to become a morning runner.
Trust me. This is huge! The last thing you want to do after waking up is searching half-asleep for all your running items.
Here’s what you need to do. Lay out everything you need for your run—clothes, trainers, water bottle, earphones, armbands, general positivity—then place them near your bed.
Also, remember to check the weather, then plan your run and gear accordingly.
Put the Alarm Out of Reach
The snooze button is the big villain. It’s, in fact, the reason most runners fail.
To help prevent snoozing through your morning runs, set an alarm that’s super loud and put it somewhere across the room where you must physically force yourself to get up and move.
When the alarm clock is loud and not within your arms reach, you’ll be less likely to sleepily snooze button your way through your morning sweat session.
And once you’re already out of bed…might as well run, right?
Have a Training Plan
Follow a well-structured running plan. You should know, in advance, how fast and how far you’ll go, as well as how long it should take.
It’s much harder to blow off a morning run when you’re following specific training—especially when training for a particular race.
Planning your runs helps put an end to the barrage of excuses that will try to interfere with your success.
What I’d recommend you do is to come up with a plan for the entire week or even a monthly plan if you’re that ambitious. The clearer the plan, the better, both for the short and long term.
There you have it!
If you’re looking to start running—or exercising—in the morning, then today’s article should set you on the right path. Just keep in mind that becoming a morning runner doesn’t happen overnight—no pun intended. But it takes time and effort. Be it’s worth the sweat.
Please feel free to leave your comments and questions below.
In the meantime, thank you for dropping by.