Use these five tips to make it a little easier to get up a little earlier to run.
Lots of people are focusing in healthy habits in the New Year and doing morning workouts is one of the most popular. While I worked out in the evenings in college, once I graduated (ahem, many years ago) and started working full time, I’ve woken 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 or doing morning workouts.) So, that’s 15+ years of consistent, early wake-up times.
(NOTE: all of this is totally different right now with a newborn, so I’m still referencing what life was like for the majority of my adult life. I’ll have to update this in a bit after I adjust to having a baby dictate my schedule! My routine has changed quite a bit over the last two years even pre-baby, going from working in Corporate America to working for myself. Now I’m up most days between 6-7am and run around 8am.)
One of the most-asked questions I get on Instagram for YEARS 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.
How to wake up early to run
5 tips to make getting up early a little easier
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 clock goes off, and don’t get back in bed. Sorry folks. No magic potion (well, coffee is kind of magic, even if I no longer drink 8 cups a day) and no secrets. But, how about some tips that make it little easier to get up early, hm?
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. This is pretty impossible with a newborn, which is part of why I’m not getting up quite so early right now!
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 you love your family members) and I’d like to him to keep loving me, I can’t just let it keep hitting the snooze button that’s going off every 5 minutes.
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 hours of sleep to help with recovery from hard workouts.
3. Put a visual reminder of WHY you are getting up next to your alarm
I put my current training plan (sometimes from my run coach) and running clothes for my morning run 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 night 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). Sometimes I grad a snack (I love toast and peanut butter).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. 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!)
I sure miss Maizey being a part of my morning routine.
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. Your WHY is a huge part of getting motivated. My why is that running early allows more time in the evenings to spend time with Tommy, Thomas 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. There’s nothing better than a run with a 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.
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.
The bottom line is I can’t make you an early bird, 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?