How to Start Running in the Morning
Everyone knows that going to the gym or running in the morning is good for you, but few people actually do it because they’re too busy, uncomfortable with the idea of going “outside”, and they just plain don’t wake up early enough.
So then how do you start running in the morning? Like with any new habit, you should start small.
Here’s how you can start running in the morning to get a body like model Jessica Gomes:
“You can do anything for 20 seconds.” ”Suppose you’re thinking about going jogging tomorrow, or you’ve been told you shouldn’t eat that. That’s all 20 seconds of something you might not like.” ~Steve Prefontaine, gold medalist
Make a plan for the next day. Set aside 20 seconds the night before to lay out what you’re going to wear, where your sneakers are, what time you’ll go to bed, etc. This makes it much easier to get up in the morning.
Know Your Reasons
Before you start a running routine there are a few things you need to ask yourself. Do you have a goal? Would you like to lose weight? Do you like to challenge yourself? All of these are worthwhile reasons to start waking up early to run.
Waking up early does not always make for an easy routine to follow, but if you follow these 5 steps you’ll find it much easier to become an early bird.
Set Some Goals and Have a Plan
Start with a simple plan. Everyone has time for basic tasks on their calendar, so schedule some time to complete the four items below:
Purchase New Shoes
If you don’t want to wake up with raw, black feet, then it’s worth your time to buy some new shoes. Choose running shoes if you’re not up for a dedicated walking shoe.
Get a Good Pair of Socks
If you’ve already got a pair of running sneakers, then ensure that you have clean, warm socks. If there are ice patches on the ground where you’re running, you don’t want to freeze your feet.
Get a Comfortable Pouch to Carry Things
This is not just a running necessity if you’re going for a morning run. Runners need to carry energy bars, water, and other things in their pouches. Check out a few choices here.
Pick a Place to Go
Running loops in your neighborhood, finding a city park, or going to a park by a lake are some good options for your morning run. Choose once and stick with it.
Pay Attention to Your Sleep
The word “hygge” is a specific concept that is said to have originated in Denmark. It means that you are going to be comfortable in many aspects of life, including how you sleep.
For the most part, sleeping is the most passive activity that you can engage in from a physical standpoint. On the other hand, you need to pay attention to your mental state before bed.
When you get ready for bed, you should feel calm and relaxed. That means that you should put your day on hold emotionally.
If the day was good, think about some of the high points. If it was bad, don’t get bogged down in it. Think about the best part and move on.
If you’re trying to be an early bird, you should also avoid looking at your phone when you get in bed. There is nothing you need to know at night that can’t wait until the morning.
That includes your emails, your texts, and anything else because all you’re doing is training your brain to associate checking your phone with going to sleep. Your balance is a precarious thing and it can be easily thrown off by misaligned priorities. Once you start that habit, it’s hard to break.
Avoid Alcohol and Heavy Late Night Meals
Your first day of running will be especially challenging.
Curtailing alcohol and heavy meals after 9 p.m. will ensure you get the most out of your running routine.
Even the most ardent runner needs a full night’s sleep to recover and relax from a long run.
Replicate the Workout
If possible, go for a short run on the morning of the first day.
Pace yourself and do not stop pounding the tracks while you are concerned about the outcome.
Do not dwell on your speed or stamina.
Focus on your breathing, and when you get up, think of the running outfit you will wear the next time.
Get plenty of water and fresh air.
Go Slow and Don’t Rush It
You may be thrilled about starting the routine but it is important to remember you are not just trying to run from point a to point b.
Considering the fact that your body is not used to the movement, you will want to keep a slow pace.
The easy jog or walk will not give your legs much discomfort either.
If you take it slow and easy, you are less likely to pull a muscle.
Research has shown that running on grass is less taxing and less likely to inflict any serious pain on your body.
Get Your Clothes Ready
You may not need to pack as much as you think you need to. Don’t make the mistake of taking all of the clothes off of your bed and laying them out. You may not end up using half of what you thought you might.
Take your clothes and sort them into piles. Each pile should represent a different layer of clothing. I always start with sweaty clothes, because they’re usually the most uncomfortable.
Then I move on to non-sweaty clothes, which are flexible. The last pile is usually just one or two items to change into after a workout.
During this process, I’ll end up folding some of the clothes and putting them away, but I always try to get rid of the ones that are so dirty that I don’t want them near me while I workout.
Plan Your Breakfast
Morning people who have their lives in order will tell you that the key to being a morning person is waking up early and going to bed at a reasonable hour. Some people struggle with waking up in the morning because they’re not hungry and feel like their bodies aren’t ready. Your body doesn’t control your hunger. It’s all in your head.
In fact, breakfast shouldn’t even be your first meal of the day. The first meal should be lunch. Just like your cells need nutrient-dense food immediately after you exercise, they need a full meal even more urgently when your body is sleeping.
So how exactly does that work? When you wake up, it takes about 2-4 hours for your body to go from being catabolic (breaks down proteins) to anabolic (forms amino acids). You might be thinking, oh great, I have to wait that long in order to eat a full meal? Not really. Just like you need to eat protein within 30 minutes of exercise, you also need to eat complex carbs, healthy fats, and fiber with your first meal. You just can’t eat like you did pre-workout.
Try a Different Alarm
The first step to getting up early and running isn’t the hardest, but it’s the most important. You have to will yourself to change your sleeping habits to make it possible. Your body is used to waking up at a certain time every day. It’s an ingrained habit.
The goal of conditioning yourself to wake up early is to quit forcing your body to go against its natural tendencies.
Waking up early feels weird because your body is set to sleep when the sun goes down and rise when it comes up. First thing is morning, your body doesn’t feel ready to get up and run.
It’s important to understand that you may be tired for a few weeks, to give yourself time to adjust to this new schedule.
The first step is to start using an alarm clock. Many people rely on their cellphones, but your phone can be set to do a lot of other nice things besides buzz you awake.
Warm up Slowly
When you start out running, you should ease into it and go slow. Don’t immediately rush out and try to run at full speed.
Start off with some light stretches to loosen up your legs, and then do some very easy jogging. Run slowly, and take short, small steps. Do this for at least five minutes.
This will get your heart pumping and give you a chance to get a feel for how your body moves when you run. It will also prepare you for running at a steady pace.
Use Social Media to Your Advantage
If you currently have a Facebook and Twitter account, you can take advantage of them by posting that you are starting a running program. This will make you accountable to your friends, and they will be proud of you for doing it.
Go Easy With Your Expectations
I started my running routine when I was twelve years old, so I was excited when I hit the 3 mile mark after only a few days. That was when my older brother informed me that there were people who ran 15 miles every day. That was just a bit more than I could handle.
Regardless of the distance that you choose to run, it is completely realistic to start at a much slower speed.
There are also apps that will provide you with a pace tracker.
If you want to “run every day” as you start your routines, it will be much more realistic and fulfilling if you focus on the fact that you can do one mile every day, no matter how painful or difficult.
This way, you have the ability to start, and the ability to finish.
You will not feel at all bad if you cannot finish five miles on any given day. You can just push that day back one more day until you are able to do it.
Run With a Running Buddy
You need someone to encourage you to show up. Happily, a partner can really be an extra source of motivation.
To start running, the goal is to have a running buddy. They do not have to be a running buddy for very long. Not at all.
What matters is that you have someone in your life who is going to get you out of your door no matter what.
This one is extremely important. So make sure that you have someone in your life who you can ask, “Want to go running with me?”
They can be someone who you trust and you can ask them to help you.
Your aim is to run every day. You will face a lot of barriers. Having someone who can help you break through those barriers. This is the ultimate goal of getting a running buddy.
If your other half is not a runner, that is absolutely fine. If you have no one in your life you can ask to be your running buddy, you can join a running group online.
The important thing to remember is that your friend should be two things: sensible and nonjudgmental. You want someone who can be sensible while running, and you want someone who you will not feel bad to be seen with, even while you are covered with sweat. Make sure you are running with someone you feel comfortable.
Listen to Music
If you’re not a morning person but have decided to change that, start running in the morning. But if you can only get up in the morning to exercise, you may find it hard to stay motivated.
One way to do that is to listen to music while you run.
Music releases dopamine, which will give you a pick-me-up while you exercise. It can also help you adjust your mood to exercise in the morning.
If you hate getting up early but you love listening to upbeat music, this method will work for you.
In addition, your ability to sing and move to the music will bring about endorphins, which are natural antidepressants.
Plan a Suitable Route
If you can’t be bothered to set in motion the planning stages of your morning run, chances are you’ll put it off indefinitely.
If you don’t know where to run or don’t have a route mapped out in advance, you will use one of your precious minutes in bed the next day to figure out where to go. This is time that you could be sleeping or resting or eating breakfast.
This is when you need to plan your run the night before.
When you go to bed at night, pick a route that you know you’ll be able to find in the morning.
Set a specific time to start walking that route and start making preparations.
If you have a route that you walk regularly, you are better off using that route to run because you know the exact distance and you have an idea of how long it will take you.
If you don’t have a regular route, pick a point that is close to your home and see how long it takes you to get there and back. Distance is more important than time in any case.
Make sure you know the exact route you can take. A lot of people get lost and spend time in the wilderness when they want to be at work.
The key to the proper maintenance of any habit is to reward yourself. Each time you reach the “goal,” make sure that you recognize and appreciate yourself.
For example, maybe you want to lose 15 pounds in 4 months. When you reach that, make sure you give yourself a gift or treat that you would like to give to yourself, but didn’t have the money for.
Maybe you want to publish a book on Amazon. You could make the goal of writing 15 pages per day which will bring you to the amount needed in 4 months. Then,
Within 4 months, make a public announcement. Create an author page on Amazon with a title and cover for your book that’s coming.
Also, save your daily pages on a word document under the title of your book. When you reach the goal of writing 15 pages, share that news, and at the end of the month, announce that your book is published on Amazon.
And a Few More Safety Things
To Keep in Mind…
It’s a good idea to wear clothes that are comfortable and make sure to choose shoes that provide good support and cushioning. You might want to choose an extra layer of clothing to wear when the temperature drops in the mornings. You can also use clothing to cover up if you find the weather to be too warm as well.