The runners I know fall into two groups, those that are early risers and get up at the crack of dawn (or earlier) to put in their miles or those that are sunset runners who wait until the end of the day to pound the pavement. What I’ve noticed as my peer group has gotten older is the sunset runners have become more challenged to find the time to run with kids, work and life crowding out their schedule.
Becoming a morning runner is one of the best ways to make running a lifelong habit.
If you’re looking to become a morning runner, I’ve tried many methods to make it a habit with some failure but more success; below are the 6 ways that have worked the best.
These methods fall into two categories, those that provide external accountability and those that provide internal motivation and inspiration.
Morning Running Partner
This is probably the most effective way to become a morning runner; having the personal accountability to another person who, in turn, has personal accountability to you will help get you out of bed like nothing else.
Knowing that Jane or John has set their alarm, put on the coffee and gotten dressed for their run and out the door will push you to do the same. In addition, the motivation you provide each other before, during and after t
Don’t worry about pace either, running together at the same pace is a bonus but the value really comes to play before and after the run so don’t worry if your pace differs from your partner.
Join an Online Running Group
Not everyone can find a local partner to run in the mornings, but everyone can find an online running group and these groups can provide similar accountability; especially if you find a few people in the group who either or are want to be morning runners.
While you won’t have your partner waiting for you at the trail, knowing you’ll be accountable online to an individual can be a powerful motivator.
At FunRunBox, one of the benefits of membership is being able to join an exclusive running community of like-minded runners to motivate and inspire one another; you can find a partner there in your effort to become a morning runner.
While this method doesn’t have the one on one accountability, it does have an element of group accountability you can use to help become a morning runner. While there may be some downsides to social media (it can be a time suck, for one) but it also helps make our society and individuals more accountable.
If you don’t believe the article, feel free to try it out yourself; post your goal of becoming a morning runner on any of your social media platforms, ask for them to hold you accountable and see what happens if you miss one day 😊.
All kidding aside, find a platform of supportive friends or followers and use it hold yourself accountable.
Dress for Success
This one has drawn chuckles when mentioned in public, but yes I’ve gone the route of laying out my running gear (shoes, socks, calf sleeves) and actually going to bed wearing my running shorts and shirt and I have to admit not having to change clothes made a difference. No kidding, for whatever reason knowing I had started the process already made it easier.
Others lay out everything, but there is just something about the commitment being made by wearing your running clothes to bed.
You may laugh but try it out and see if it doesn’t help.
Brew a Cup
Are you like me, does the simple smell of coffee help wake you up? I know when I hit the coffee shop in the morning, the aroma itself helps put a little pep in my step. In fact, there is a study that validates the mere aroma of coffee alone can wake you up.
If my alarm is going to go off at 4:30 AM for my morning, I’ll set the coffeemaker to begin brewing my coffee at 4:20 so the smell of the coffee has fully permeated my kitchen and, like the sirens of Ulysses’ time, calls me into the kitchen.
And, the coffee itself is a reward to add to the satisfaction of being done with my run by 6 AM.
Go to Sleep Early
This one seems to simple to mention, but it really is worth considering; many people, wanting to get up for an early morning run simply cut their hours of sleep. This makes the process of getting up harder than it needs to be and is bound to make the morning unpleasant.
If you sleep 8 hours, then make sure you go to bed early enough to get your full 8 hours of sleep still allowing you to get up at Oh-dark-thirty for your run.
Some of these may work for you, some may not but I’m guessing if you try out a few of these you will find a combination that works for you and you will become a morning runner.
Rich Flaherty is a middle of the pack runner and triathlete, whose only real claim to fame is his daughter Bekah Brooks qualified for the Boston Marathon in her first marathon.