How many of us go to bed each night with the hopes of waking up early and squeezing in some miles before the day begins? And how many of us, even with the best of intentions, end up hitting snooze and then pushing that run until later in the day? Although pre-dawn runs come naturally to some, you might have to work to become a morning runner.
The good news is that it takes three weeks to make something a habit. By adopting these tips for the next 21 days, you could turn yourself into a morning runner!
Say Goodbye to the Snooze Button
One of the biggest obstacles to waking up in time for an early-morning run is the snooze button. It's a tough habit to break, but it can be done! If you currently set multiple alarms for the morning, get in the habit of just setting one. Without a backup alarm for later, you'll have no choice but to wake up the first time around.
A bonus tip for those serious sleepers: Plug your phone or alarm clock in across the room each night. When your alarm goes off in the morning, you'll actually have to get out of bed to turn it off. Once you're out of bed, you're much more likely to head out the door for a few miles.
Prepare the Night Before
No one wants to wake up in the early morning and scrounge around in the dark for running gear and matching socks. To make the mornings go a little smoother, prepare as much as possible the night before. That might mean programming your coffeemaker so a hot cup of coffee is waiting for you each morning, or it might mean putting overnight oats in the fridge at night before you head to bed.
It's also a good idea to set out what you're planning to wear the next morning for your run. Having everything from your favorite running top to your FlipBelt to your socks laid out means you'll be ready to go right away each morning.
Stop Dreading the AM Run
Another great tip is to reframe how you think about those morning miles. If you go to bed dreading them, you're not going to wake up positive or enthusiastic. As your head hits the pillow at night, spend a few seconds thinking about why you're excited to run in the morning. Need some suggestions? Once that morning run is done, you'll have the whole evening to relax! Plus, it feels great to know you crushed your step goals for the day before most people are even out of bed.
Track Your Progress
Those gold star stickers aren't just for kids! By tracking your progress on a physical chart, a piece of paper or even on an app, you can see just how far you've come. If you wake up four days in a row for an early run, you won't want to break that streak of success. Keep track of how many days you plan to run early and how many days you achieve your goal. You might find yourself with a little extra motivation to get out of your warm bed tomorrow morning.
Start Winding Down Earlier Each Night
Although becoming a morning runner is a great goal, it's not worth losing sleep over - literally. If you want to enjoy those peaceful early-morning miles, you'll also need to get to bed a little earlier each night. Although that's easier said than done, winding down earlier is a great place to start. Aim to be in bed 30 minutes before you need to fall asleep. Journaling or reading are ideal activities that get you ready for some quality Zzzs overnight.
Find a Morning Run Buddy
If you've tried all the tips and tricks above and you still struggle to run in the morning, try finding a buddy to run with. Not only is running with a friend more fun, it can also hold you accountable. Although you might normally press the snooze button, you can't leave a running friend waiting. Knowing that someone else is ready to run alongside you in the morning is an excellent motivator.
You don't have to run in the morning to be a runner. However, getting your run done first thing in the morning does offer a lot of benefits. These suggestions can get you out of bed and out the door. Before you know it, you might even start thinking of yourself as a morning runner!