The Secret to Becoming a Morning Runner


This weekend we had a blast of summer-like heat. Temperatures in the 90s, high humidity. Just a preview of what’s to come for summer training.

For the first few months of my distance-running life, I trained in the evening after work. As summer rolled in, I found the heat from the asphalt below and the rays from the sun beating down from above to be too uncomfortable and decided to start running in the morning before work instead. Even on the hottest days, running before the sun allowed me to escape some of the heat that was unavoidable later in the day.

As the weather cooled, I stuck with this schedule. I found that one of the biggest benefits was having my evening open to spend time with my husband, cook a nice dinner, or just watch TV. I didn’t feel rushed after work to walk the dogs, run, and then cook dinner.

So often I have been asked something along the lines of, “What’s your secret to getting up so early?”

Today, I’m going to tell you my secret.

There is no secret.

Yeah, sorry about that. There is no secret to getting up in the morning to run. My post title was total click bait. I’ve seen countless blog posts about tips for getting out the door for a run in the morning. Ironically, I’ve also seen many of those people quickly abandon training completely.

Laying your clothes out the night before may make getting ready faster, but I can promise you that laying your clothes out the night before won’t somehow have you delightfully jumping out of bed before the sun. Making plans with a fellow runner to meet up for a run doesn’t mean the other person will actually follow through. In theory, these are all great ideas, but ultimately, if you’re not a morning person, then you’re probably not going to suddenly transform into a morning runner by following some quick tips.

Here is a “secret” I will tell you about getting up early to run. Many mornings I don’t want to get up. My pillow is just right or my dog is snuggled up with me or I just want one more hour of rest before the day begins. Some days it’s really difficult to get out of bed. I’ve been running in the morning for almost 4 years now. Sometimes I don’t get up. I juggle around my training schedule or do a rare evening run. Somehow it seems that those that don’t run in the morning think that those of us that do run in the morning jump out of bed whistling. We glide around getting ready with ease. We head out into the morning, take a deep breath, smile widely, and run. There are birds chirping around us as we whistle a tune like something straight out of a Disney movie.

Nope, nope, nope. My morning goes more like this: Hit snooze. Check the weather. Turn off the alarm. Groan to myself about having to get up. Try not to wake up the dogs. Realize I forgot to put aside this or that and have to dig it out of the drawer/closet/etc. Go outside. Curse my Garmin for taking forever to connect while I do warm up drills. Run. Whine inside my head about being up so early. It isn’t until mile 3 or 4 that I start to get in a groove, my mood improves, and I start to feel better. Sometimes someone else is out for a walk or a run and it’s so nice to see a sign of life.

When I’m back from my run I am always so glad I went out and got it done before the day really starts.

The spring and summer do make it way easier to get up early for a run. The air is warm, the birds are chirping, there are often a lot more people out taking advantage of the day.

When it comes down to it, it’s really a decision every morning to get up and go. What do I want to do after work that day? Do I want to have to run, or do I want to be able to have my evening free? I’ve found that running in the morning gives me energy and helps me focus for the work day. Running in the morning is what works for me, but it’s not what works for everyone. You’re not less of a runner if you’re not up with the sun getting in your daily miles. Again, if you’re not a morning person, then trying to become a morning runner probably isn’t right for you.

The one tip I will give about running in the morning is to go to bed at a decent time each night, that includes nights that you’re not running the next day. Every Wednesday this past fall/winter, my BFF would ask me if I watched This is Us the night before. Every week I would tell her the same thing, “No. I was in bed. I’ll watch it on Hulu tonight.” I’m not huge into TV so this isn’t asking much of me to skip the 9 or 10 pm show and get some shut eye instead. At this point, most of my family and friends know that I go to bed early. My husband even makes fun of me sometimes, joking that I’m up past my bedtime if I do stay up a little later one night.

Stick with what works for you – but if you do decide to become a morning runner, keep in mind that it’s normal to not feel like getting up!

4 thoughts on “The Secret to Becoming a Morning Runner

  1. Hanna @ minimal marathoner

    Lol. Seriously though, who are these people that actually morphed into bonafide morning people just by laying out their clothes the night before and putting their alarm across the room?

    Our society favors and caters to morning people, and that carries over into the running culture, hence why there is a proliferation of articles with recycled tips about how to run in the morning and why so many morning runners won’t let us forget that they’re morning runners. I’ve run/trained in the morning, and it’s great – there are many things I really love about it. But I have to fight my nature to do so, thus I’ve found that it’s just not sustainable for me year-round. I can really only do it when I’m training for something, because I’m motivated and it feels necessary.

    What it comes down to is – either you want to run in the AM, or you don’t. If you want to, get up and do it. If not, that’s perfectly fine! Don’t do it then. It will always be hard, but if it’s constantly a struggle against both the alarm clock AND your nature, you might find that energy is better put to other use. Just my .o2

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree that it seems morning runners are favored/celebrated more. To me, it doesn’t matter what time you run. Just get out there and get it done whenever it works best for you!

      Like

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