Why I absolutely love going on morning runs
Picture this: it’s 7am and your alarm goes off. You almost roll over and turn it off – but you don’t. Instead, you throw on your running gear, do your warm up stretches and bounce out the door for a morning run.
Sound like something from a fairytale? I felt the same. For years, I would scoff at those who put the miles in before they’d even had their breakfast, convincing myself that they were wired differently. But, a few months ago, I decided it was time to start ‘seizing the day’. I set my alarm for an hour I hadn’t seen in years and went for a pre-work run. It was oddly exhilarating, and now I’m a total convert. So, if you’re looking for some persuasion to get out of bed an hour earlier, here’s why I absolutely love going on morning runs.
You have more energy
While some people are self confessed ‘morning people’, I certainly don’t fall into this bracket. So, how can I enjoy morning runs? I’ve found that the worst part is actually waking up. My mind does absolutely everything it can to try and stop me, but once I’ve got out of bed the hard part’s over. And, when I’m out running, I’ve noticed that I have more energy than on evening runs. This is because our glycogen levels are restored during sleep, giving us energy needed for the day ahead (and preventing us from hitting the running wall). So, if you’re looking to achieve your PB, morning runs are the way to go.
Now we’re approaching the warmer months, it’s important to pay attention to the weather when planning your runs. Running in the midday heat can be pretty challenging and may even lead to significant health issues such as dehydration or sunstroke. Morning runs, however, are cooler in the summer, making them a better choice. So, runners training for a significant race such as a marathon should aim to get their miles in as early as possible to avoid feeling the strain of the midday heat. Don’t forget to stay hydrated and wear a cap or visor to keep the sun at bay, too.
It gives you motivation for the day ahead
I absolutely love morning runs because they give me a motivational boost. When I conquer a run in the morning I feel like I can do anything – even if it ended up being a shorter or slower one than I’d planned. What’s the reasoning behind this? Research shows that setting small goals and completing them regularly is a great way to feel productive. So, instead of saying “I’m going to run a 10K this morning”, if you say “I’m going to get out for a run this morning” and achieve that, you’ll feel more productive and positive. It certainly works for me, as I’ve noticed that I’m more enthusiastic about my working day when I’ve been for a morning run. And, morning runs are particularly great when you’re working from home because they ensure you get that much needed fresh air and exercise.
There’s something peaceful about running first thing in the morning. The sun is freshly set, the birds are tweeting and there aren’t that many people about. This means that there’s more space on the paths and you can have a calm and stress-free run without diving out of the way of kids on scooters or getting tangled in dog leads. You’ll also find yourself wanting to high-five any other runners you pass, because conquering morning runs makes you feel like you’re part of a strange yet satisfying elite club.
You sleep better
It’s all well and good promoting morning runs when you’re a great sleeper. And, while morning runs are glorious when you’re well rested, they can feel like a form of torture after a sleepless night. However, if you’re able to face a morning run after a bad night’s sleep, you could find that it actually helps your sleeping pattern. Research shows that doing intense exercise too late in the day can promote bad sleep because your body is still rushing with endorphins. But, if you run early in the morning you’ll feel more tired by bedtime and your body will be ready to switch off.
Tips for morning runs
Turning into a morning runner isn’t easy and it won’t happen overnight, pardon the pun. You have to be mentally strong and able to resist the warmth of your wonderful bed. Here are my top tips to make it as easy as possible.
#1 – Lay your clothes out the day before. This means you’ll spend less time faffing around looking for matching socks and can get out the door quicker.
#2 – Use a sleep tracker. Those with disjointed sleep will be worried about morning runs. A sleep tracker can provide insight on the quality of your sleep and help to assess your energy levels – I’d recommend a whoop.
#3 – Give yourself time. We all want to be able to bounce out the door in 5 minutes, but this isn’t feasible. You’ll need to go to the bathroom, hydrate and wake yourself up first. Set your alarm 15 minutes earlier than you might think.
#4 – Run with friends. The ultimate motivator to getting out of bed? Accountability. Find your morning running buddy and finish off with a coffee stop.
#5 – Watch your diet. As someone with ulcerative colitis, I know how problematic the gut can be when running – especially in the morning. Make sure you have a healthy and nutritious meal the day before and wait it out if your stomach is feeling restless.