You have every intention to squeeze in that run before work. But then the alarm buzzes, you crack one eye open and turn off that familiar chime.
As for that run? You’ll get it in later…or will you? Sure, we’d all love to knock out our workouts first thing, but not all of us are that motivated in the mornings.
We asked regular pre-dawn runner Dorothy Beal, a 26-time marathoner and author of the popular blog Mile Posts to fill us in on her tips for logging miles in the morning.
Lay it Out
Before you go to bed, prep everything you’ll need for your run: From your hat to your shoes to your watch, lay it out on your bedroom floor so everything’s ready to go as soon as you step out of bed.
“It’s hard enough getting up early,” says Beal. “Fumbling around in the dark trying to find what you need wastes time and makes you more likely to skip your run.”
You may want just five more minutes to sleep, but avoid the temptation to smack that snooze button.
“Hitting snooze means you are more likely to oversleep, leaving less time for your run,” says Beal. “Or you may accidentally turn off your alarm and miss your run all together. Besides, once your alarm has gone off, the time you sleep in between each snooze isn’t fully restful.”
Her advice for waking up right? Set your alarm for the precise time you need to wake—not too early, not too late. When it goes off, get up.
Shift your Mindset
Morning runs—or any runs for that matter—shouldn’t be a burden. So instead of lamenting about your pre-dawn date with the pavement, meet it with a positive perspective.
“Don’t think about how you have to run first thing in the morning,” says Beal. “It’s more that you get to run. Get rid of the negative thoughts. As silly as it seems, tell yourself, ‘Wow, this is going to be great. I love getting up while most people are sleeping!’ Your mind will believe it.”
Get Your Zzz’s
It may seem like a given, but getting up early is exponentially easier if you get a solid night’s sleep. Shift your schedule so that you’re still getting plenty of sleep despite your morning plans.
“Whatever time you want to get up, count 7 to 8 hours back and attempt to go to sleep at that time every night,” suggests Beal. “I’m in bed most nights by 9 p.m. It makes getting up at 4:15 that much easier because I am still getting a full night’s sleep.”
Embrace the Morning
There’s something pretty magical about the stillness and quiet that an early-morning run offers. So once you’re out there, soak it up.
“I love seeing the stars and listening to the sounds of the birds chirping,” says Beal. “There’s a huge sense of satisfaction when I return home and have finished more miles than most people run before most of the rest of the world is even up.”
Don’t go it alone: By planning to meet up with one of your running buddies or even a group, you’ll be much less likely to bail.
“I didn’t believe I could become a pre-dawn runner. It all seemed too dark, too cold, too early, too scary,” says Beal. “Then I had a friend who drove to my house a couple of times a week for a month who helped me establish my early morning running habit. Plus, the miles pass faster if you have someone to talk to.”
Track Your Runs
Stay motivated to run early by logging your efforts.
“Buy yourself a cheap wall calendar and mark off the days that you wake up to run. The more you see the on the calendar the more you’ll want to do it,” says Beal.
Above all? Stick with it so that morning runs become routine, like brushing your teeth. Says Beal, “Make it something you do right when you get up and there is no option not to do it.”
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source: Active By Sarah Wassner Flynn