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How to wake up early to run: 5 tips to make getting up early a little easier

Five tips to make it a little easier to get up a little earlier to run

Since I graduated college and started working full time, I’ve gotten up nearly every day sometime between 5:15 and 5:40 to run or to work. (I do my best work early in the morning so I wake up early even if I’m not running!) So, that’s 13+ years of consistent, early wake-up times. While I sleep in 1-2 days a week, “sleeping in” still means a 6:30-7:00 wake-up time. And that sleeping in is done intentionally to get extra sleep to help with recovery from hard workouts.

One of the most-asked questions I get on Instagram is something along the lines of “How do you get up so early?!” or “I want to be a morning person! How do I do it?” or “How do you get out of bed?” or “I want to be a morning runner! How do wake up early to run?” My short answer is, I JUST DO IT. That’s the bottom line – you just HAVE to do it.

I do have five tips that I think help, but when it’s all said and done, it comes back to this: don’t hit snooze, get UP when your alarm goes off, and don’t get back in bed. Sorry folks. No magic potion (well, coffee is kind of magic) and no secrets. But, how about some tips that make it little easier to get up early, hm?

5 tips to make getting up early a little easier

how to wake up early

1. Go to bed and get up at a consistent time

If you go to bed and wake up at drastically different times, your body doesn’t really know what to expect. And your body likes a routine. It will start to produce melatonin (which makes you sleepy) at the same time every night. Your body will also get used to waking up at the same time, and while you may still need an alarm (I do!), it will be easier because your body is used to it.

There’s all sorts of science behind that (so google if you’re interested in more detail), but know that there are chemicals/hormones in the body that will work in your favor if you let them.

2. Set your alarm and leave it in another room

I use my phone for my alarm, and I leave it in the bathroom after I finished my nightly skincare routine and brush my teeth. If it’s next to my bed on my nightstand, I will hit snooze. So I removed that option. I have to physically get out of bed to shut it off. And, since I love my husband and I’d like to him to keep loving me, I can’t just let it keep going off for 5 minutes.

3. Put a visual reminder of WHY you are getting up next to your alarm

I put my current training plan and running clothes for the next day (or my planner, if I’m working instead of running) next to my phone so when I turn off my alarm, I have a visual reminder of why I want to get up (rather than hitting snooze and getting back in bed, which I’ve done a couple times – it’s never worth it). That visual cue helps a LOT. And it’s also part of my evening and morning routine, which leads me to…

4. Follow a routine at night and in the morning

I think people talk about an evening routine a lot as it relates to making it easier to fall asleep, but I think it’s important to help you wake up early as well. And I also think a morning routine is just as important as an evening routine. Your body and mind are very likely tired first thing in the morning and if it can go through some things on auto-pilot, it helps.

I usually head up to our bedroom to wind down around 9:30-9:45 and start my nighttime routine. Electronics keep me up and TV especially gets me worked up so it’s super important for me to get away from that about an hour before I want to fall asleep. (Tommy, on the other hand, gets sleepy watching TV so he stays downstairs to wind down.)

My evening routine:

  • take out my contacts + wash my face
  • floss + brush my teeth
  • get my running clothes out + plug in my Garmin
  • set my alarm, plug in my phone and leave it the bathroom
  • read for 15-30 minutes
  • drink a little water, put my mouthguard in, earplugs in and eye mask on (YEP, I’m that person)
  • turn my lamp off (sometimes Tommy will stay up later to read, but the eye mask makes that a-okay 🙂 )

My morning routine:

  • get up, drink a full glass of water, put on my glasses, get my phone, carry my running clothes downstairs
  • get coffee (Tommy preps the coffee the night before and it starts on a timer 10 minutes before my alarm so it’s ready when I get downstairs, or I just pop in a Nespresso pod)
  • sit on the couch for 10-15 minutes, easing into consciousness
  • put on my running clothes while eating a pre-run snack
  • go upstairs, put in my contacts, pull my hair back and kiss Tommy goodbye (who is usually getting up as I leave to run)

Nearly every single morning starts the same way. See the pictures below for proof. 😉 And I honestly look forward to mornings because I’m not forcing myself to get dressed right away or head out the door in 10 minutes to run. Yeah, that means I have to wake up earlier but that to me is less brutal than needing to function immediately upon waking up. (I had a MUCH easier time waking up and getting out the door to run in 15 minutes when I was in my early-to-mid 20s! No more!)

how to wake up early

5. Have a WHY that’s important enough to you

This will be personal, but you need to identify WHY you want to get up in the morning. For me, it creates more time in the evenings to spend time with Tommy, relax, run errands, walk Maizey, and cook dinner. I also know that my most productive time is in the morning so if I have a lot of work to do or a blog deadline, I take advantage of my magic morning hours where I can crush work. I also really love the peace and quiet of the mornings, where no emails or messages are coming in, so I can actually get a little caught up. And I really, really love watching the sunrise.

Whatever your WHY is, identify it and then create a visual reminder, whether it’s your running shoes, a sticky note with a written reminder that you put on your alarm, or a picture of your family. Then, when you’re tempted to hit snooze, you’ll be reminded of WHY you’re doing it. And for me, that’s enough.

how to wake up early



When I polled people on Instagram if I should write a post about how I get up in the morning, I got this response. I couldn’t agree with Jenny more.

instagram dm

Another helpful resource for creating healthy habits can be found here!

The bottom line is, you just have to do it. No one can do it for you.

Okay, your turn: what are your tips to waking up early, whether to run, work or anything else? 



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  • Kim

    I needed this! I’m SO guilty of snoozing.. and even getting up, grabbing my alarm, and going BACK to bed. I need more discipline!

    Kim .. How to find THAT Brooklyn spot..

    • Teri [a foodie stays fit]

      Oh man, I’ve done that myself – snooze and back in bed. (I did that today actually since I didn’t have to run – ha!)

      I hope these tips have helped you get up more easily!

  • Joan

    Good info. 2 things that help me. 1) I heard on a podcast about morning workouts where the guest says she makes the decision the night before whether to exercise or not then sticks to it. She doesn’t allow herself to change the plan when she gets up.Granted that’s a lot of determination 2) I’m the type of person motivated by consistency. If I have too many off days it’s a slippery slope. Therefore I vowed recently to not go more than 1 day in a row without some type of exercise.

    • Teri [a foodie stays fit]

      1) I like that – make the decision in advance and you can’t change it! 2) TOTALLY agree with consistency! It’s hard to get back to it once you’re off the train.

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  • Tara

    I have been trying to motivate myself to work out in the morning for weeks and your right-I have to just stop snoozing and go! Thank you for this post!!!!!

  • Leslie

    I wrote a post recently about how I’ve started waking up early for a workout because I’ve always been such a night owl. But the biggest thing I’ve told people who is ask me is that you just do it. You stop making excuses and do it. It sounds like “duh” but it took so much willpower the first few weeks because I had my “why” and I had worked out my night routine and made it easy for myself but without the just do it mentality, it wasn’t going to happen!

    • Teri [a foodie stays fit]

      It’s so true! You have to have a compelling “why” and also set yourself up for success with routines and tricks!

  • Kellie

    Great post. I’ve been doing one workout at 6 AM and want to increase this over the next few months.

  • Lots

    yes i can totally relate. At the start of uni I got up every morning at 5am to do my workout for 2 whole years. Last year when i got back from Germany i struggled so much getting my bum out of bed and it took me really long to get used to getting up early again. I think its a habit thing

    • Teri [a foodie stays fit]

      I totally agree that it’s a habit thing! The more you do it, the more normal it seems to wake up that early! 😉

  • Siobhan

    Thanks Teri, I needed this! I’m a runner but NOT a morning person. Thanks for the practical tips and a little kick in the butt as well. I’m also training for a marathon but finding it hard to get my runs in after work during the week. I’m going to try leaving my phone in another room and setting my coffee maker the night before. Can’t wait to track you in Boston, I’ll be out there cheering!

    • Teri [a foodie stays fit]

      I hope these tips have helped you!!

      And yay!!! I hope we can somehow find each other at Boston to say hi!!

  • Julie

    I too am a morning runner/workout person. I always put my clothes out the night before on a bench we have in our bedroom. One of the things I do is on Sunday I decide which says will be workouts indoors or runs (always outside!) Based on training schedule, time and weather. If I know I cannot get my morning run in, I may plan at afternoon run with a friend. So basically have a plan or plan to fail!

    • Teri [a foodie stays fit]

      I love the idea of planning the workouts on Sunday and identifying when you’ll be inside based on weather! I do that the day before but love the idea to look at a week!

  • Mina

    I treat it like work. I can’t not go to work just because I’m tired or want to lay in bed more. During the week I’m laced up and out the door by 5:15. All I do is brush my teeth and get dressed (running clothes already in the bathroom). I feel so much better and my day is so much better so that’s motivation too. Not running sucks way more than getting up early 🙂

  • Mimi

    Also included in motivation: get a puppy! Puppy annoyingness = early mornings that grow into early morning snuggles. Maizey looks like the best part of your routine 🙂

    • Teri [a foodie stays fit]

      hahaha SO TRUE. Puppies and old pups both force early mornings!!! Maizey IS the best part of my routine!! <3

  • Jenny

    Interested in any ideas anyone has for those who work off shifts on a variable schedule?? My life has no consistency and I’d love to create some!

  • Kim

    I am new to running so really finding it a struggle to get into a proper routine. However, I recently took my running gear with me whilst away on work business and went for a short run, normally I would have enjoyed the extra half hour in bed not having to do the commute! I always make sure to have my running gear ready, but putting the phone across the room will definitely help me to stop snoozing!

    • Teri [a foodie stays fit]

      Glad to hear the tip to put your phone across the room helped!! And love hearing you ran while traveling for work – that’s one of my favorite ways to explore a city when traveling!