That is the only secret.
People often tell me that I'm "disciplined" to start nearly all of my runs at 5:XX a.m., but I'm really not. I love running and I go to bed by 9:30 p.m., earlier when I can swing it. That's all it takes!
You're welcome for the lengthy and ground-breaking post.
But, seriously, if you want to get up earlier - and actually want to want to run when your early alarm goes off - you need to start going to bed earlier. I used to think I wasn't a "morning person", but it was because I wasn't going to bed early enough to be one. You can make adjusting your sleep/wake times an easier gradual process by pushing back the time you go to bed and in turn the time you get up by just 10-15 minutes a day (or even every 2-3 days) until you get to your desired times. Then you need to keep doing it consistently, and it really will become easy after a few months. Don't get up at 4:30 a.m. some days and 7:00 a.m. other days! You need to get up at the same time every week day, and on weekends don't sleep more than an hour later. Your body will thank you and will also get used to the time you wake up. Mine wants to be up at 5:00 a.m. even if I don't set an alarm --- and you bet it also wants to be in bed at 9:00 p.m.!
You also need to schedule your bedtime and make it a priority. There are always going to be things to do around the house, but triage them; take care of the urgent early, and leave anything non-urgent that isn't done by your bedtime until the following day. Your body and your training schedule will thank you!
Other things that can help, but that aren't as important as step 1 are:
- Prepare prepare prepare on weekends. On Sundays I lay out my work outfits for the week and Albani's school clothes for the week. I meal prep so my weekday breakfasts and lunches are taken care of. I also try to do whatever else I can do that is time-sucking if left until weekdays (e.g., laundry, cleaning, groceries, list-making, paying bills, etc.), because as a full-time working mom, I am never going to have extra time for anything during the week. I am an obsessively organized person who never watches television, and that sure helps.
- Prepare your running gear the night before; especially in the winter when a lot more gear is required!
- Keep the items you use on every morning run in the same place every day (e.g., Garmin, shoes, headlamp). Getting these should be mindless!
- Establish a routine. Get up, go to the bathroom, drink a glass of water, brush your teeth, get dressed, etc. - do it all in the same order each day so it becomes auto-pilot.
- Multi-task. I do a standing glute-activating exercise each morning while brushing my teeth, sometimes while checking Facebook.
- Set yourself up for success. Don't try to transition to early morning running in the dead of winter when it's 10* and pitch dark. Summer may be the best time to do it, as you will also be rewarded by the coolest temperatures of the day, plus it is light at 5:00 a.m.! Also just use common sense; if you're an accountant, it's probably not a good idea to start during tax season; if you're a mom, it's not a good idea to start when you have a sick infant on your hands.
- Stop thinking it's optional. If your alarm goes off and you hem and haw about running or not, you have a chance not to. Just get up and do it. Even if your run is sub-par, you got it in (and 80% of success in running is just showing up day after day!). I have a specific training schedule, and missing one day or pushing my run to later in the day would screw up the whole week, so I never consider skipping it. You may be sleepy when you start, but you'll feel much better after a mile!
- Meet training partners. If someone else is depending on you at 5:00 a.m., it's really not optional! I know I will get out the door regardless, but on mornings I'm meeting friends I usually get ready faster.
Note: I am not of the opinion that early morning running is a must for every runner; in fact, I think you should run whenever you're most likely to get it in day after day, and based on what works with your non-running life. For me, the optimal time is absolutely early morning!
Any other tips from early morning runners?
Any other tips from early morning runners?
|Sometimes, races start before sun-up too!|
|Pre-dawn excitement is real when you consistently go to bed early!|