There’s hardly anything more satisfying than fitting in a morning run, shower, and healthy breakfast before your day even begins.
Knowing that you are squeezing in your daily miles while the rest of the world is still asleep creates a well-deserved sense of pride. Not to mention the feeling of immense peace and tranquility that comes with seeing the sunrise, running when no one else is outside, and having some time alone to start your day.
Runners are known for their dedication, consistency and will power. When others envision their runner friends, they often bring up words like crazy, motivated, or downright impressive.
Quite a few runners have discovered the benefits of implementing a morning running routine into their days. We see these runners on the streets as we open our blinds, drive to work and begin our days.
But although some runners regularly embrace the mornings, many of us struggle to create a morning routine. While we fully understand the benefits and satisfaction of fitting in a morning run, we struggle to make it happen on a regular basis.
The temptation of turning off the alarm for an extra hour of sleep wins out more often than not.
No matter how many times we hear about the amazing benefits of morning running, we fail to find the motivation to create a routine ourselves.
If you’ve struggled to stay consistent with morning runs but are still hoping to create a long-lasting routine for the future, here are a few strategies to try. While setting the alarm across the room or getting your clothes out the night before may be enough to motivate some, many of us require a bit more to get going.
Creating any new habit is most challenging in the first few days. Once your body is used to the routine of waking up before the sun, getting motivated becomes exponentially easier. But sticking it out through those first few weeks of morning running is often more challenging than we expect.
Try all or some of these 20 strategies to get out of bed each day and become the morning runner than you’ve always known you could be. Once your routine is set, you’ll never look back!
20 Ways to Become a Morning Runner
1. Start out simple: set your clothes out the night before.
Having easy access to your gear will help reduce the decisions you need to make when your brain is still waking up in the morning.
2. Prep your breakfast and make as much of it as possible before bed.
Program the coffee maker to start on a timer, leave your banana on the counter, premeasure any ingredients you will need, etc. Plan a breakfast that is simple, easy and delicious to keep you motivated.
3. Get ready for bed 30 minutes before you want to be in bed.
And be in bed at least 15 minutes before you want to be asleep.
Heading to bed 5 minutes before you’re counting on being asleep will set you up for frustration once you discover than not only are you not in bed when you want to be, but you spend more than 30 seconds falling asleep each night.
4. Put your alarm clock on the opposite side of the room.
Another simple strategy that is proven to at least get you out of the bed. Forcing yourself to walk across the room in order to stop the alarm from going off is a great way to overcome that first hurdle without making any excuses.
5. As soon as your alarm goes off, turn on a light.
Many of us open our eyes when the alarm goes off with the best of intentions, but fail to remain awake for long. Turning on a light helps wake your brain up and quickly forces the transition from nighttime to day.
6. Change into your running clothes immediately when you wake up.
Lingering in your pajamas with a cup of coffee only extends the period of time that you are able to make excuses. Changing into your running clothes as soon as you step out of bed helps establish the mindset of a morning run and reduces your chance of backing out.
7. Ease into early mornings by creating an experiment.
For example: “I will wake up at 5:30 am every day for two weeks”. Do not make any excuses or skip any days for this time period. Knowing that there is an “end time” to this process may help you stay motivated to stick it out in the beginning.
Once you hit the end of your experimental time, morning running will likely have begun to feel less torturous and more of a routine. If at the end it does not seem reasonable to continue, adjust your time so it is.
8. Mentally commit.
Understand that you are not going to make excuses; it is going to feel challenging (especially in the beginning), but no matter how difficult – you are going to do it. You know the benefits and are going to become a morning runner.
9. Develop a morning routine.
Plan out what your morning will involve and how long each activity will take before you start. If you need to have coffee to get going in the morning, factor the extra time into your routine. Plan some time for recovery, a shower, getting ready, eating breakfast, and anything else you need to accomplish in order to start your day.
10. Find an accountability partner.
Whether it’s your spouse who shares the bed, a friend you text every morning, or child who wakes up with you – tell someone your plan so they can motivate you when you struggle.
11. DO NOT hit snooze.
Not even once.
12. Drink a glass of water before heading to bed.
Having a full bladder when you wake up will motivate you to get out of bed. Once you are out of bed, staying awake will feel significantly easier.
13. Time your alarm to coincide with 90 minute intervals of sleep.
Your body’s REM cycle lasts roughly 90 minutes, so try to avoid waking up in the middle of a REM cycle (as it is much harder to quickly awaken during this cycle). For example, aim for 6 hours, 7.5 hours, or 9 hours of sleep each night as opposed to 8 (which would have you waking up in the middle of a REM cycle).
14. Maintain your morning routine every day – even on weekends.
This may sound dreadful, and I get it. But maintaining the same morning schedule every single day is crucial during the initial period of establishing a routine.
Becoming a morning runner is much more challenging during the first few weeks, so make a point to continue your routine for the first few weekends of your transition. Once you have established a regular morning running routine, you’ll be able to adjust your wake up times to suit your morning schedule.
Related: 5 Ways to Make Running a Habit
15. Plan a way to reward yourself for success.
Remind yourself of this reward each morning. Even something as simple as reminding yourself that if you work out in the morning, you will be able to watch an extra 30 minutes of television after work since you won’t have to exercise in the evening may be enough to keep you motivated as you begin.
Plan your favorite breakfast, a little extra downtime before work, or a night out with friends in the evening. Having a purpose keeps us motivated to become the morning runner we’ve always hoped to be.
16. Incorporate some sounds into your morning routine.
Sitting in silence is tempting, but adding some soft music or even just the noise of an exercise machine or shower first thing when you wake up will help you resist the urge to head back to bed.
17. Make falling asleep quickly at night as easy as possible.
Dim the lights 1-2 hours before bed, put away all screens 30 minutes before bed, and incorporate some relaxation into your nighttime routine (reading, meditating, journaling, etc).
18. Use positive self-talk.
Remind yourself that becoming a morning runner is going to feel challenging no matter what you do – but remember all the benefits you will gain from it. You are choosing to create this new habit.
19. Troubleshoot your current morning routine.
Where are you currently failing or struggling? Is it getting out of bed right away or staying awake once you get up? Determine the factors that make this difficult for you, and do what you can to minimize them or change them.
20. Track your progress.
Create a daily checklist for yourself so you can cross off each day you successfully woke up early, or simply write down the time you got out of bed on a white board in the kitchen. Use whatever method works for you to find a way of tracking your progress.
Having a way to visually see your progress may be motivating once you have completed a morning run for multiple days in a row, and it may help remind you that even a little progress (running 5 minutes earlier each day) really adds up.
Becoming a morning runner is a challenging feat. None of us expect it to be easy, but we often underestimate the willpower it takes to conquer the hurdles of the first few days.
Luckily, once you’ve established a habit of running in the morning, each day will begin to feel easier. Fitting in your run before the rest of the world is awake brings a feeling of satisfaction unlike anything else.
Start your day with a morning run and you may be surprised what else you can accomplish.
More morning running tips:
- How to Start a Successful Morning Workout Routine
- What Happened When I Worked Out at 4:30 am Every Morning
- The Surprising Lesson I Learned from an Extra Hour of Sleep