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How to Become a Morning Runner: 4 Tips for Early Morning Workouts

How to Become a Morning Runner: 4 Tips for Early Morning Workouts

Maybe you’re one of those people who loves to get up early in the morning and exercise. Unfortunately, the vast majority of those who want to become a morning runner have great difficulty making the routine stick. You’ve been there: You work out early for a few days, and you love the way you feel. But, something happens and you’re thrown off your routine for a few days. Before you know it, you’re back to square one.

Sound familiar? Don’t be ashamed! Even those early-morning warriors who get up before the crack of dawn sometimes struggle with getting their morning workout in. So, how do they do it? They’ve discovered some tips that help them get out of bed and to the gym or on their run, even when they don’t feel like it. Consider these four tips to help kick-start your early morning routine.

1. Check your priorities…and your bedtime

The first tip may sting a bit, but it’s the most important. You need to ask yourself how much you want to become a morning runner. Most likely, the answer is “very committed.” That’s why you’re reading! So, if that’s the case, you’ll likely have to change your priorities a bit to make sure you can achieve your goal of being an early riser and exerciser.

How to Become a Morning Runner - 4 Tips for Early Morning Workouts

Exercising in the early morning will mean you’ll likely need to turn in earlier each night. Most adults need between 7 and 8 hours of sleep nightly. However, a recent Gallup poll shows that less than 40% of Americans (and likely, the rest of the world) get the recommended amount of sleep each night. Simply put, if you don’t get enough sleep each night, you won’t be able to kick your exercise routine into high gear.

You may have to decide between an earlier bedtime and your favourite TV show. It could also put a damper on your social life. However, take some time and consider what is most important to you. Then, start taking steps to make those plans a reality.

2. Prepare the night before

If you’re trying to get ready for your morning workout after you wake up, you’ve probably already lost the battle. In the fog of waking up, you aren’t likely to remember everything you need. Even more likely, you’ll just roll back over and go back to sleep so that you don’t have to deal with getting ready. That’s no way to become a morning runner!

Race Day Breakfast

The best way to overcome this problem is to have everything prepared before you go to bed the night before. This way, when you wake up, you can quickly get ready to leave without having to think too much. Here’s how to get your evening routine in order:

  • Charge all of your electronics. Make sure your phone is charging before you go to bed. Check your fitness tracker to see if it needs to be plugged in as well. If you don’t use your phone for music, make sure your MP3 player is at full charge (with your earbuds already plugged in!).
  • Lay out your clothing. Get your outfit ready for the next day. Have your shoes out as well. If you’re running outdoors, make sure you take a quick look at the weather to make sure you have the proper clothing.
  • Have food and/or drinks prepared. Have your water bottle filled and ready in the refrigerator. If you need a jolt of caffeine in the morning, have your coffeemaker completely prepared so all you’ll need to do is push “brew” to get the perfect cup. Prefer a smoothie? Have as much of it ready in the fridge as possible, so all you’ll need to do is pull it out and blend it before you go out the door.
  • Pack your bag. Depending on your routine, have your bag packed accordingly. Make sure any equipment you need, like a yoga mat, is ready to go. If you’re going to shower at the gym, don’t forget toiletries, your towel, and a change of clothes. If you aren’t going to have a heavy workout, or if you’ll be exercising outdoors, some moist towelettes can make you feel fresh if a shower isn’t available.

RELATED: What To Pack For Trail Running: The Essential Guide

3. Accountability is a key

Why is accountability so important? Because without it, you can roll over and go back to sleep without any consequences. Building accountability into your morning workout routine is key to getting out of bed, even when you don’t feel like it.

How to Become a Morning Runner - 4 Tips for Early Morning Workouts
Photo by Capt. William Carraway

Exercise with a friend or join a group that works out together. Fear of receiving a text from your workout partner at 5 am asking you where you are may be just the motivation you need to get out of bed. You can also find the earliest class you’re interested in at your gym and sign up for it.

Prefer to exercise alone? That’s okay, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t have accountability, too. Look for groups on social media that can help you. If you’re looking for something more personal, create a small group of your friends where you can share post-workout pictures and stats. If you have a fitness tracker, you’ll likely find accountability programs built into its mobile app. Whatever accountability looks like in your situation, utilize it and don’t go it alone.

4. Reward yourself

Who doesn’t like a reward? If you’ve been faithfully getting up early and following your exercise regiment, and ultimately become a morning runner, then you should find a way to treat yourself. A little bit of indulgence (in moderation, of course) is not a bad thing.

How to Become a Morning Runner - 4 Tips for Early Morning Workouts

When rewarding yourself, however, be careful when making food your treat. Remember that your main goal is optimal health. A special meal once in a while is not a bad thing. But, eating a high-calorie, high-fat breakfast daily after your workout isn’t a treat, it’s a trick! Having a brunch with friends once a month as a reward isn’t a bad idea as long as you have the willpower to settle back into your regular eating habits at the next meal.

RELATED: The Best Real Food for Trail Running

Rewards that aren’t food related tend to be best. How about purchasing something you’ve had your eye on for a while? What about bingeing several of your favourite shows on Netflix? Whatever the reward, it’s totally up to you. Just make sure you enjoy the fruits of all your hard work. You deserve it!

Got some tips of your own?

If you have some extra tips to help others become morning runners, please stick them in the comments below 🙂

Carl Turner
Carl Turner
Guest Author for Trail & Kale. Carl Turner is a Los Angeles-based personal trainer and freelance lifestyle writer for industry leading fitness companies like Revgear. With over 10 years of experience, he has trained many clients and has helped them to reach their personal fitness goals. During his free time, he enjoys kayaking, hiking, and reading.


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