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5 foolproof steps to running in the morning

By Henry Howard

Even though it is getting colder and darker in the mornings, it is still my preferred time to run. It’s a great way to ensure that work, family or other life commitments don’t interfere with the run.

It can be a daunting challenge to rise out of a warm bed to the cold outside. What I have found works best for me is to plan out all the details and limit the decision-making in the morning. I’ve written previously about my conversion to a morning runner. And it did not take me long to adapt and make a habit out of early runs and workouts.

Here are some tips to become a morning runner:

1. Plan your routine. Before you go to sleep, you should have a plan for your morning run. Roads, trails or treadmill? If roads or trails, what route will you be taking? How many miles, and what type of workout? What do you need to wear or bring with you? Get all the basics covered ahead of time so you can be on auto pilot when you awake. If the weather looks questionable, then determine your backup plan ahead of time. For example, if the forecast calls for snowy or icy conditions, will you try to run later in the day or opt for a treadmill?

2. Prep the night before: You’ve got your plan, now prepare as much as you can. I routinely lay out my running gear the night before, as well as options for nutrition and/or hydration. For my weekday runs, I leave out a Honey Stinger waffle in case I need a few calories before or during the run. I generally don’t have coffee before my shorter runs but usually have a little before my weekend long runs. If you’re planning on having coffee before running, prep your coffee maker the night before or get one with a timer to brew it when you want.

3. Go to bed early: Don’t stay up late. This may take some time if you are a night owl, like I was. In time it will be habit forming, and you will be wanting to get to sleep earlier. If you are having trouble, set a bedtime alarm as a reminder to shut off the screens and go to bed. Also limit caffeine consumption later in the day.

4. Get some fuel and water: Remember that snack you sorted out the night before? Have a quick bite of something that’s small and easy to digest. And remember to hydrate, too. Even if it is colder out, your body will thank you when it’s well hydrated regardless of how long you will be running.

5. Warm up: You’ve made it out of the rack, popped in some calories and are ready to go. Awesome! Don’t forget or neglect to warm up. You may be tempted to cut corners or save time by forgoing a warmup. But that is increasing your risk of injury. Take a few minutes to do a dynamic warmup, then be on your way!


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