Imagine how your life would change if you could get in an early morning run a few times a week. More energy, improved focus, and a more chiseled physique are just some of the benefits that this healthy habit has to offer.
However, when you decide to take the plunge and set your alarm for 6 A.M., getting out of your cosy warm bed and hitting the streets can seem like a lot of effort. We’re going to share some tips and tricks to help you turn your goal into a reality and enjoy all the benefits of that early morning run.
1. Have a Strategy
If you’re a complete beginner at running, it can be helpful to learn a little bit about how to do it correctly and where to start.
Consider Interval Training
Many expert runners will recommend starting with interval training, which involves alternating walking and jogging for certain distances and gradually increasing the distance of the jog. It’s common to find that with each new stretch that you’re going to run, you feel just a little bit stronger and can put more energy into it than the last one.
By starting out slowly, you can avoid going all out on your first day and paying the price later. Tell yourself “slow and steady wins the race” and you will be well on your way to a sustainable, long-term running habit. To prevent excessive aches and pains after your morning run, remember to always warm up at the beginning and to stretch at the end.
Plan Your Route
When you’re ready to start, you’ll need to plan your route. When planning your route, consider things like:
- Proximity to your house
- Amount of incline
- Air quality and scenery
By choosing a route that is close to your house, school, or work, you are more likely to have success in following through on your plan. By eliminating additional travel time, the time your run takes out of your day is minimised and you have the flexibility to head back sooner if need be.
Being aware of the amount of incline on your route will help you to control the level of difficulty in your run. Starting on a flat surface is less effort and can give you an immediate confidence boost. Once that’s comfortable for you, consider stepping it up with some gentle slopes or an easy mountain trail.
The distance you run should be calculated so that you can measure your progress and keep pushing yourself. There are apps and watches that can measure distances for you, or you can take a predefined track that tells you the distance at the beginning.
Air quality can have a big impact on your enjoyment while running and also affects the amount of oxygen you’re taking in. As much as possible, try to run in areas with clean air and beautiful scenery for maximum benefit and inspiration.
Finally, it’s important to think about safety when choosing your route. If there’s a track near your house that’s a popular place for runners, then that could be a good choice. If you prefer to run in more isolated areas where you can be totally alone, it’s wise to run with a partner or even organise a small group to run together.
2. Give Yourself Something to Look Forward to
Most of us need a little something to get us motivated. It could be a steaming-hot cup of coffee, a glass of fresh juice, or a refreshing matcha latte upon waking that will give you energy for the run. Another great idea for getting energized for early-morning exercise is to have a playlist ready to go with all of your favorite upbeat tunes. There’s nothing like music to get you moving!
After your run, consider building in a reward for yourself. A delicious brunch with friends is a sure-fire way to get yourself up and burning calories bright and early.
3. Get the Right Gear
If you’re serious about getting fit, then you’ll need to gear-up for a safe and successful running session. Some of the basics for running include:
- Quality running shoes
- Comfortable running clothes
- A supportive sports bra (for the ladies)
- A protective sun visor or cap in summer
- A light-weight water bottle
By having the right running gear, you will feel much more comfortable and prevent injuries and blisters. Some new athletic wear can also be a great motivator for putting in your best effort and running like a pro from day one.
4. Track Your Progress
Once you get started with running, having a way to track your progress keeps you focused and gives you accountability for pushing yourself further.
Some indicators that you might like to track include:
- Heart rate
- Calories burned
- Steepest incline
Some people like to write this data in a diary and others go for high-tech graphs. Whatever works for you, go for it! Not only will your improvement over time keep you more motivated to continue, but knowing where you’re at can also help you plan your fitness goals for the future. A 1-mile run can quickly become 2 miles, and before you know it, you’re signing up for a half marathon!
5. Find a Running Partner
The final tip for getting in that early-morning exercise is to run with a buddy. There’s nothing like another person for keeping us accountable, and when your running partner is knocking at your front door bright and early, it’s much harder to back out.
As well as keeping you honest and helping with follow-through, running with someone can help you to make faster progress. The distraction of socialising while you exercise can help you increase your endurance, and the need to keep up with your partner’s speed can pump up your own speed too.
How to Choose
When looking for a running partner, try to look for someone who has a similar fitness level or speed to you so that you won’t become discouraged and your partner won’t become frustrated. That way, you can grow together and keep setting yourselves new challenges and goals!
It takes some effort in the beginning to get started, but the results of a regular exercise routine are well worth it in the long run! For more motivation to start your morning exercise routine, be sure to check out these Surprising Ways Exercise Can Help You Embrace Your Body
Tess DiNapoli is a freelance writer and advocate for clean, healthy and balanced lifestyles. She writes about developments in health and wellness, along with natural skincare and beauty products.