“How do you run so early in the morning?”
I have not always been a morning running, so first I will share MY story on becoming an early morning runner
The first 7-8 years of my “running life” I ran sometime between 4pm and 10pm. This was my routine. I ran after work; I ran when it fit into my schedule best. On the weekends, I NEVER got out the door before 9am. I was very particular about having to eat, digest, go to the bathroom, etc.
My first job out of college, I worked 7am-3:30pm (which eventually became 6:30am-3:00pm). This schedule meant I had to wake up at 5:45am every day just to get to work by 7am. 5:45am was tough at first, but eventually it became a part of my routine, and I found myself falling asleep at 9:30pm every night. Despite waking up at 5:45am every day, I ran after work. I never even thought about trying to run in the morning.
About 1 year ago, I got a new job. The work hours at my new job are more like 8am-9am arrival time, so my usual 5:30am wake up would be over-kill. I liked my routine of waking up at 5:30am, and I didn’t want to change it. This is what sparked my quest for becoming a morning runner.
I decided I would just changed when I did my run. This was tough because I HATED the thought of running at 6am. The first 6 months of this was so incredibly brutal. I felt sluggish, stiff, pain, dehydrated etc. I now feel exactly the same during my morning runs as I used to on my afternoon workouts. I learned a lot along the way, so I will now share with you.
1- At First Start by waking up only 30-60 min earlier
Rome was not built in a day. If you usually wake up at 7am, try waking up around 6:15am. There is no need to make an aggressive jump like 5:30am or 4:30am when you are making a lifestyle change. You are more likely to stick with it in the long run by slowly building up your wake up time. By doing this slowly you will be able to change you body’s internal clock over time. After weeks/months of doing this, you will get tired earlier in the evening. You will be able to fall asleep earlier. Falling asleep earlier means you can wakeup earlier 🙂
2- Start off with SMALL runs
Split up your runs at first and start with LESS miles in the morning. This will allow your body to EASE into the idea morning running. Another benefit is: It will take less time, so you will be able to learn your new routine and how to manage your new wakeup time and schedule
The first week
Try running 1-2 miles in the morning instead then maybe run another 2-4 in the evening.
The Second week
Try running 3-4 in the morning then 1-2 in the evening
Monday & Wednsday- run in the morning
Tuesday & Thursday- run in the evening
Eventually switching this to be more time in the morning 🙂
3- Prep EVERYTHING Night Before
Lay out your running clothes (socks, shorts, sports bra, EVERYTHING you need)
Prep all your work crap the night before- this is different for everyone. Some people might be running from their house and some people might be driving to the gym. Whatever you will need to use the next morning, you better have it laid out or packed in a bag!
4-Get out of bed immediately
As soon as you hear that alarm, GET OUT OF BED IMMEDIATELY. You have NO TIME to risk laying around scrolling on your phone in your cosy bed. You need to rip the band-aid off and get your butt out of bed RIGHT away. I’m talking within seconds. This is the HARDEST part of the whole day, but you NEED to perfect this.
5- Warm up in your house before running
Congrats, you got out of your comfy bed. You just woke up. Start walking around your house A LOT. Get things MOVING! Grab some waterand go up and down the stairs. Drink coffee while walking from room to room. By moving around, you will get the blood flowing and should help get you to poop and wake yourself up to be ready to run.
Don’t just sit there and relax while drinking your coffee scrolling on instagram! Sitting around is a huge waste of time- the clock is ticking!
6- Have Extremely Low Expectations for Pace at first
First think to yourself, why would I feel good on a morning run?
You have been sleeping. You aren’t used to running at 6am. I can almost guarantee your effort level will NOT be reflected in the pace you are running at least for the first 30-45 min.
It is normal to be running .5-1.5 min per mile slower than your usual pace when you first make this change. If you does not happen to you, you are an outlier.
It took me 6 months of running to be able to overcome this “pace” barrier. I now feel the same on the morning runs as the evening runs. Your body adapts over time. Be patient. Running slower on your easy days is not going to make you a bad runner.
7- Make sure you know where bathrooms are 😉
Chances are your body is not used to “emptying the tank” completely at this time of day. You might find that you need to stop to use to restroom during your run so plan out a run around port-pottys or circle around near your house at first if you anticipate problems. If you are at a gym, this is not as big of a deal.
8- Don’t Give up
It takes a LONG time to fully adjust to a new routine. Even if after 2 months, it still feels hard don’t give up! Eventually it will get better!
What should I drink before my run?
Me: I drink a 12oz water and a hiball energy water or coffee 10-30 min before my run
What do you normally drink in the morning? Do you think this is something your stomach could handle on a run? try it out.
What do I eat before my run?
Me: If I wake up hungry I will eat something small like a protein bar or half a bagel 10-30 min before my run. If I don’t wake up hungry, I don’t eat anything unless I am running for over 2 hours then I will force myself to eat something small just to prep for “race day”
What do you normally eat in the morning? Do you find that you are starving within 30 min of waking up? Can you run after eating? try it out.
What should I eat after?
I like to recovery with a protein shake 30-40min after my run then I will eat my breakfast I packed about 1 hour later at my desk.