When starting on your running journey or any exercise journey it is always best to work out a schedule for when you are going to perform these running sessions. Finding your morning run motivation can be a big factor holding you back.
Although I generally do my harder training session in the evening, I like to get up early and do a run followed by a swim in the ocean. I find when starting out the day with this ritual that my mindset for the day is much better with a happy, clear focus.
Along with getting your day off to a good start physically and mentally, it gets your daily physical activity ticked off early, which ensures that you get it done opposed to so many circumstances that may arise and hinder your intentions.
As your brain is working slowly when you first wake up it is best to have as many things prepared the night before as possible. If your brain starts thinking of all the tasks ahead it soon becomes all too hard and you roll over and that is the end of the run.
Setting Yourself Up for Success
The following are some ways to ensure you get out there and embrace the day and stay off the snooze button.
Prepare all the things you need the night before:
- Running attire out and ready
- Nutrition organised (if needed)
- Put electrical devices on charge (watch, headlamp, phone).
- Set the alarm and place it where you’ll need to get up to turn it off
- Get to sleep to ensure you get your 8 hours in before the alarm goes off
Keep the momentum going after you turn the alarm off:
- Since you have strategically placed your alarm out of arms reach it is time to get up and turn it off. Once this is done you have entered a pivotal moment where the easiest thing is to lay back down.
- Carry straight on to the bathroom and splash some cold water on your face! Don’t be beaten at this crucial stage.
Have a run partner who is meeting you at a specified time:
- When you form a morning routine that includes an “accountability buddy” your chances of success increase exponentially.
- Don’t be the one who lets the team down.
- Having a friend to run with will help you focus on getting out there even when you don’t feel like it.
- The fear of receiving a text at 5am asking “where are you??” might just be enough motivation to get you up and out the door
- A crucial aspect of this is having similar goals and finding the right person who will follow through with action just like you intend to.
Use Strava as another motivator: another accountability tip and also a great conversation topic is to follow each other’s accounts and check on each other’s progress through the week. You can encourage each other to join new challenges and set new goals.
Cold weather tactics: In the colder months it can be most tempting to retreat back to bed. A trick of mine is so put my running clothes down near my feet or beside me under the blanket so they are warm in the morning. You could even sleep in some clothing. It’s these little things that you put in place to set yourself up for success.
Programming Your Body
I find it much easier to get up early of a morning when I do it most days of the week. The first week when you start out will be the hardest as you have to program your body that has been used to sleeping in, to now get up earlier.
Once you conquer the first week and definitely by the end of the second week it will suddenly start getting a lot easier.
You will soon find yourself waking just before the alarm because you have rewired your body clock. This is providing you are having the correct amount of sleep by getting to bed on time the night before.
Now if you think you are going to lock in this schedule and have 100% success rate that is a great mindset. However, things will sometimes get in the way of your concrete plans and that is fine – that’s life. The important thing is to be able to get back on track when you do veer off course. Start the next day, or next week fresh. Put it behind you and carry on.
Think Long Term
After my early run and rejuvenating ocean swim I feel so motivated for the day ahead. I never return from this outing wishing I had stayed in bed.
One of the key elements in this becoming a regular routine is to embrace the idea that this is a life routine not a temporary one. I’m not just doing it while I train for a certain goal. I’m doing it because it makes me feel great, banks away some training I wanted to do anyway and sets me up for a productive and focused day. It improves my life in many ways so why wouldn’t I want to make it a daily and lifelong occurrence?
Instead of looking at the big picture and thinking an early morning running routine is too difficult to fit into your life, try to break it down and keep it simple. Give yourself a chance and say “ok, I’m going to try this for three weeks”. If you hate it you can stop.
Three weeks is the perfect amount of time for a routine to become a habit. In this time you will have time to adjust and will know if the benefits outweigh the dread of getting up early. I have a strong inclination you will find yourself continuing with your newfound energy giving routine. Of all the amazing benefits to your health and lifestyle the number one has got to be because it makes you feel great!
If you have any other tips for getting the best start to your day I would love to hear them! Please leave a comment below.
As always, happy running!