Mornings suck. There, I’ve said it. We all know that it’s awful to pull yourself out of bed in the morning, especially when it’s cold and dark outside. All I ever want to do is roll over and get just five more minutes sleep…
There are lots of studies which say that the best time to exercise or go for a run is first thing in the morning. Not only does it help wake you up and give you energy for the rest of the day, but it also means that it’s out of the way and done first thing. You don’t have to worry about running out of time in the day because you have to work late or something comes up, because your fitness commitment for that day has already been ticked off. It’s very satisfying to know that you have the rest of the day to do as you please without having to squeeze in the run you were meant to do at 7am.
I spent the first week in France feeling guilty because I wasn’t getting up early and going for a run. The problem is that in Paris, the sun isn’t rising until 8:42am at the moment. To me, that’s really late. I’m not keen on starting and finishing my run in the dark, particularly in a new city I don’t know well. In addition, my body just needs more sleep: if it’s dark outside, it wants to stay in bed.
Thankfully my French classes are only in the afternoon, which means that I can fit my run in later in the day (tends to be ~11am) without shirking any responsibilities. If you work, though, you probably don’t have this luxury. Here are some ideas for how to deal with the morning suck.
Go for runch
Runch is the new brunch: aka a run at lunch. Rather than running before work, use your lunch-break time to go running. Book a slot in your calendar so that others can’t schedule a meeting, lace up and go. It’s guaranteed to be light outside and probably warmer than in the morning, so conditions are already favourable. A runch works particularly well if you have a shower in your office, but if not, you’d be surprised what the miracle combination of dry-shampoo and wet-wipes can do for you!
Optimise your environment
There are a number of things you can do to make the morning wake-up a little easier. As humans, we are programmed to be awake when it is light, so keeping a curtain open overnight to let the sunlight naturally wake you up in the morning can help. Conversely, having too much light in the evening can prevent you from falling asleep, so it’s recommended to avoid using any screens for the last few hours before bed. Another trick I like to use in the morning is to keep the alarm clock far away from the bed, so that you have to get up to switch it off. The only thing then it to avoid crawling back into the warmth…
Organise to run with a friend
If the only time you have is first-thing before the sun wakes up, running with a friend can be a great motivator to get out the door. Find someone close by and schedule to meet them for a morning session. The guilt of breaking a promise will be enough to make you crawl out of your nice warm bed and get out into the cold. I definitely find that I’m more likely to do a morning run if I know Sye will be coming with me too, and vice-versa. Plus, it’s good to have someone to complain to!
Do you struggle with morning runs? How do you cope?