Rise and Run – How to Wake Up Early to Run

Rise and Run: How to wake up early to run and enjoy it! | happyfitmama.com

Rise and run is how my body naturally functions.

I’m one of those super annoying people that can jump out of bed and be ready for a run no matter how early it is and what season. I think it’s in my genetic make up. Growing up, my dad would say the day was half over if you slept past 7 a.m. And no, I did not grow up on a farm. My son is following in my annoying early bird footsteps. He likes to wake up before the chickens every.single.day.  Even on the weekends.

Like I said – annoying.

When I went to college, I always chose the early morning classes. That was great for me but not so great for my roommate who thought an 11 a.m. class was early. Looking back, I think it was living with her that made me loathe the snooze alarm so much. I’ve never once touched the snooze button and never will. She would always vow that she was going to wake up early to workout, study or some other go-getter morning activity but then would proceed to hit the snooze alarm over and over and over and over again.

I had visions of throwing the alarm clock out the window of our 4th story dorm room.

But I understand that not everyone is like me. I mean if you asked me to run anytime after 6 p.m., I’d think you were nuts. My pajamas are most likely on at 6 p.m., especially during the winter. So the odds of a run happening in the evening for me? Slim to none. And when it does happen, I hate it.

Side note – I actually saw a guy running down my street one summer night at 10 p.m. He was legit going for a run – blinky lights on and everything – so I knew he wasn’t running from the cops or anything.

If you are a night owl, making the switch to early morning runs is going to be rough. I’m not going to lie – you’ll probably hate it. BUT if you make a gradual switch, you may find you will actually enjoy it. Maybe. 🙂

If you’ve been thinking about trying to make the switch to morning runs, now is the time. Sunrise is super early so it’s light out even at 5 a.m. And with summer running sneaking up on us soon (I hope!), the heat and humidity can really suck the life out of your run. (Find tips HERE on how to survive). When you run first thing in the morning, you can at least get a little bit of relief.

I’ve written about this many times over the years but it continues to be one of the things I get asked about most. Here’s what I’ve learned over the years:

Plan, plan and plan some more. Set out everything you’ll need for your run the night before. That means all your clothing, GPS watch, hydration, shoes, something to hold carry your phone, etc. Know the distance, pace and route of which you’ll run. To take it a step further, I’ve even slept in my running clothes just so I can get out the door quicker.

Go to bed early. Make sure you are in bed by 10 p.m. at the latest. Having a nightly routine will also help your body wind down and know that it’s time for sleep. I’m usually in bed by 9 p.m. where I’ll read for a bit.  Ron will usually stay up later watching TV but that does not bother me at all.  I can sleep through anything (thankfully!).

Do NOT hit snooze.  Let me say that louder for those in the back – DO NOT HIT SNOOZE!!!  That button should have never been invented in my opinion. Besides being the most annoying sound ever, laying in bed an extra 5 or 10 minutes won’t do anything for you. Seriously. Get rid of the snooze alarm.

Get dressed in the bathroom. Or at least away from sleeping family members so you don’t have any grumpy spouses or early bird kiddos who will throw a wrench in your plans. This is also good if you have a dog who really, really wants to go running with you (ahem, Max).

Find a fellow crazy awesome morning runner. If you know you are meeting someone, you are less likely to bail on the run. Also, having company on your morning run may make you feel more safe.  Even though it’s light out, there’s still not a ton of people out and about in the early morning. I’m so very fortunate to have found amazing early morning runner friends though the years. If you are looking for a company, ask around, put a plea out on Facebook or ask in your local running store.  That’s how I found all of my running buddies.

Enjoy the view. In the early morning, especially during the summer months, there is so much to soak in – birds singing, dew on the grass, the sunrise. If you run later, you’ll most likely be paying more attention to all the busyness of the day rather than the beauty. A perfect sunrise is always worth it.

Remember how you feel afterwards. I kind of get a kick of knowing that I started my day doing more than most people do their whole day. Yeah, I ran 10 miles before 6:30 a.m., what did you do?!?! Missing a workout or run in the morning makes me feel so blah the rest of the day. Getting a sweat session in first thing, sets the tone for the day. I’m more relaxed, yet energized. And I don’t have to stress about how I’m going to squeeze in a workout in between meetings, appointments and family obligations later in the day.

Be persistent. On average it takes 21 days to form a new habit. If you don’t fully commit to making this new habit, it won’t stick. The good news is that if you stick with it, you’ll see that it will get easier and easier. Since I’ve been waking up early for runs (and gym sessions) for years, it has become a part of my daily routine.  It’s normal to me.

Know your WHY.  I know for me, I run in the early morning so I don’t have to worry about squeezing it in at any other time in the day.  I feel more energized if it’s done so I can go about my business and get more stuff done. Your why could be different than mine but finding your reason will give you that extra push to rise and run.

And soon you’ll be another annoying morning runner. Welcome to the club!

What is your favorite time to run?

Are you a morning runner?  What gets you out the door?

Linking up with Coaches Corner.

16 comments on “Rise and Run – How to Wake Up Early to Run

  1. Oh, I’d love to be a morning person! Everything about it sounds great to me! But I am not.
    It takes me a good half an hour to wake up properly and turn into a lovely person. I do go for runs in the morning anyways since I live with a dog (great motivation as well) who doesn’t care if I am half sleepwalking.
    But I constantly have to work on sticking with a wake-up time and it doesn’t come naturally to me.

  2. You know I’m on your plan and love to wake up early, even if I don’t head out the door to run until the boys are off to school. I’ve also always been a morning person and it’s when I have the most energy. I’m also in my pjs by 6pm 🙂 It’s a great way to live, right? And you are right that NOW is the time to start since the sun is up early too. I love how light it is at 5am!! Now if we could just get our kids to sleep in…hmmmm.
    Allie recently posted..The Rundown – Pain + SufferingMy Profile

  3. I used to be a get up and out the door kind of runner! Something has changed for me over the past year or 2. Now I like to sip on my coffee and wake up slowly before I head out. I guess since I’m not in training anymore, it’s ok for me to take a more laid back approach to running.

    1. The funny thing is that even when I’m not in training, I still like to get out the door first thing. I wonder if that will change when my kids are older? Maybe?

  4. I am SO not an early morning runner but I love doing my other workouts in the morning (4:15am even!). Weird, I know. lol I prefer to run mid morning or afternoon when my body is more awake.

  5. I’m that annoying morning person also. My dad always told me the day is half over with by 9, and now I rarely sleep past 6:30 am. Although I do like to work and have some coffee before a run – my ideal run time starts at 6-7 am.

  6. I have always been a morning run and I generally hate running any later than say 8 am (unless I’m still running, ie, a long run). I’m not sure how I’ve made it through three Ragnars (and loved them). My habits have changed a bit over the years, though, mostly due to my husband and running partner. Where I used to get up and get out the door, these days coffee and dog walks come first. And yes, today I managed six miles before 6:30!
    Debbie recently posted..Smart Summer Running: 8 Tips to Keep You Strong, Healthy, and HydratedMy Profile

    1. I’ve slacked off a bit on my early morning criteria in the past couple years. Sometimes my weekend runs don’t start till 8 (or later) but the extra sleep feels really nice!

  7. I am a morning runner on the weekends. My work day begins at 6:30am. It is still very enticing to be a weekday morning runner…but for now, waking up at 5am is good for me. 🙂 Just the other day, my boyfriend asked me “are you opposed to starting your run in the double digits?”. He is not a runner, so he does not completely understand, but on the weekends, I mostly like to “get ‘er done” early for one reason you mentioned….not having to squeeze it in between other activities.

  8. I love that you always rise and run. I used to do the early morning thing when I was a rower but since I had kids the early morning thing is just not my jam lol. I do wish I could get my butt up though to see the beautiful sunrises!

  9. I can run before school if it’s a short, easy run or I can wait until after practice if I have a longer run to do. I do love the crispness of a spring morning – 50s and the sun is just peaking up!
    Marc Pelerin recently posted..The Best Of…My Profile

  10. I hate morning runs. When I wanted to run but hadn’t really started yet, I thought I HAD to run in the morning because that is when “they” tell you that you should so I’d tell myself I’d get up and go. That lasted one day usually and the next I’d hit the snooze button too many times. It wasn’t till I gave my permission to run after work that I finally continued to do it. The few times I’ve done it now (because I knew I couldn’t later, or the temperature was going to be too high) I am only able to motivate myself once or twice in a row. I’d rather run on a treadmill with a fan blowing on me than run in cooler weather in the morning.
    My favorite running time is actually 10am, but since I work 8-5 M-F, that only happens on the weekend. I think that sometimes newbie runners or exercisers feel that they are supposed to run in the morning. I don’t think it matters as long as you do it.

    1. Before I had kids, I never ran or worked out in the morning. I always did it after work in the evenings. But with kids, I soon realized the morning was the only time that was going to work best for me. I don’t think it’s the best for everyone. My husband is not someone who can work out first thing in the morning. He thinks it’s the most awful way to start the day.

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