For most of us, there is no question as to which type we are, and no reason to fight it. Sometimes, however, a switch is necessary, whether it’s due to a work schedule, weather forecast or some other obligation that is out of your control. That switch is most often required of the night runners, for the sole reason that conflicts tend to arise in the evening…not so much during the predawn hours.
The morning runners are a special breed, but it many ways it seems as though they have it figured out. For one, things don’t “come up” at 5:30am – morning runners get their run in without any concern for conflicts. The roads are open and quiet. Not only is this good for the soul and your safety, but the run actually takes far less time without the delays that traffic and traffic lights cause later in the day. These runners get to enjoy that post run “glow” all day long, not just for the hour or two before bed. Their metabolism is kick-started, and they don’t have to worry about planning their meals around an evening workout. In the summer, they get to finish their run by plunging into Barton Springs, free of charge and full of like-minded athletes.
So why wouldn’t you be a morning runner?
Maybe because it means getting up really, really early.
If you are a night runner that needs (or maybe even sort of wants) to be a morning runner, there are ways to make it happen as smoothly as possible. Consider the following tips to help you get up, run your run and get on with your day:
Lay it out. Before you go to bed, lay out your running clothes, running shoes, socks, every single item that you will need for running. Then lay out your work clothes, work shoes, socks, every single item that you will need for work (or whatever it is you do all day). It won’t matter how fuzzy or indecisive you might be when you wake up, because you won’t have to think. Just grab, dress, go.
Pack it up. Make and pack your meals the night before. This might mean getting into the habit of cooking multiple meals at once, making extra servings of dinner to take for lunch or using Sunday as a day to “cook ahead.” Find the system that works for you, and do it. The ability to grab and go in the morning will save tons of time, and will prevent the inevitable decision to grab fast food “just this one time.”
Outlaw the snooze button. All that the button does is delay the inevitable, and it’s not like you’re actually getting extra quality sleep in those 8 minutes. As soon as you get up, take a few steps and turn on a light you will wake right up, so just do it already! It will become habit faster than you think.
Go to work early. Does your place of business have a shower available, or a nearby gym that you attend? If so, consider running from there. You can drive there well before rush hour begins, enjoy your run, shower at work and have plenty of time to enjoy the breakfast that you packed, rather than sitting in traffic.
Find a running partner. This rule applies to morning and night runners alike – if you have someone waiting for you, you will go. Accountability is a huge factor in remaining committed to any sort of training schedule – this is why the coached group set up is so successful at Rogue. Have someone that you run with on the days that you don’t meet a group – when you’re tempted to stay under the covers, just picture that person waiting for you in the dark. You’ll get up.
Not everyone has the ability to truly prefer morning running over night running, but these tips will help make it happen. Now go and enjoy all of that free time you’ll have tonight!