If you chronically hit the snooze button on your alarm clock, the thought of running in the morning might seem dreadful. We get it. It is hard to leave a cozy bed, lace up your running shoes and hit the road for a morning workout before starting a busy day if you’re not a morning person. But with the proper preparation and discipline, running in the morning will not only benefit your fitness but will boost your workday and lead to healthy habits.
Getting out and running in the morning before the daily rush instills discipline and leaves you feeling accomplished. There are plenty of proven benefits that make the case for running in the morning from health benefits to building better habits that will translate into other areas of your life. Plus, an evening run can potentially disrupt your sleep patterns.
Increased Energy and Productivity
Getting up and running before the day will give you an endorphin and adrenaline boost that will power you through the day with more focus and energy, according to the American Council on Exercise.
Lower Blood Pressure
Working out in the morning consistently has been proven, by a study conducted by the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia, to decrease diastolic blood pressure and improve overall cardiovascular health.
Running in the morning improves sleep? Sounds counterintuitive, right? Working out in the morning actually does promote better sleep habits, which will lead to more deep sleep cycles leaving you more rested and rejuvenated. In the words of Ben Franklin, “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise”.
Morning Quiet and Cooler Temperatures
If you live in a busy area, enjoying a peaceful run without the business of traffic is rare, and the best way to avoid the rush is to get out before the rest of the world does. The morning can be the quietest time of day. Depending on the season, morning runs can also help to beat the heat, making for an all-around better workout experience.
Now that you are aware of the perks of running in the morning, it is time to make a plan to best approach early morning running. To get the most out of your run, you should properly prepare by following these steps.
The Night Before a Morning Run
Mornings will be a lot easier if you take a little time to prep the night before. Lay out the clothes you are going to wear. If your morning run will be dark make sure to take safety precautions by setting out reflective gear for high visibility. Make sure you do not forget the small things like socks, a charged watch, headgear, and your running shoes.
Plan Your Running Route
To avoid getting bored with your runs, frequently change-up the route you take. If you have a workout, understand the paces and distances.
Find a Running Buddy
Set a meeting location for the morning. Having somebody to run with holds you accountable to getting out the door in the morning. Make sure to agree upon a time and place for your run the night before to save time in the morning.
Prep Your Meals
If you are running before work or a busy day, meal-prep the night before. Have your lunch packed and the coffee machine ready. Know what you will change into after the run to make the routine as seamless as possible.
Once you’ve taken care of the preparation for when the alarm goes off, you can go into “auto-pilot” for pre-run nutrition, activation, and warm-up. Be sure to factor in enough time depending on how long your run will be on a given day.
What Should You Eat Before Running in The Morning?
Figuring out pre-run nutrition before an early morning run can be tricky and might take some trial and error. Blood sugar levels are low when you first wake up, so it is important to get some sort of light food in before heading out the door. Try a half-banana with nut butter, or a small granola bar.
Some prefer running on an empty stomach in the early morning, especially for short or easy runs. If you are planning on doing a harder workout, wake up earlier to give yourself enough time to digest a normal pre-workout meal, as running fasted will limit your body’s ability to perform and recover. Eating before a hard run is proven to improve performance, according to this study on performance nutrition.
Be sure to drink plenty of water both the night before and the morning of a run. If you are a zombie without coffee, try drinking half-of a cup or enough to get a caffeine boost without ruining your run with bathroom breaks.
Activation and Warm-up
Even if you are groggy in the morning, it is essential to not overlook a pre-run routine to avoid injury and get your blood flowing before starting a workout.
Give yourself enough time to get moving. Use a foam roller to stretch out and follow this dynamic stretching routine to make sure all of your muscles are firing. Follow this easy 7-minute running warm-up to ensure a smooth transition from bed to running:
You might struggle with the transition from evening running to running in the morning, but with the right preparation and the right get-after-it attitude, you may just become a morning runner. By working out early, you will free up your evening, improve your productivity, and get to enjoy the peace of getting out on the roads before the rest of the world.