"SWEET CAROLINE... BUM, BUM, BUM!" - That's the sound of my construction worker dad, who was used to waking up at 3:30 in the morning, singing at the top of his lungs on weekend mornings as my brother and I started waking up in our beds... It was usually 7:00am at the latest. My brother would yell out the classic response "I'm trying to sleep!" in which my dad would yell even louder "it's go-time!" So maybe it’s a genetic predisposition, or it’s the early morning environment he created in our home that led me to believe morning is a time to thrive rather than wish away. But, I can't help it... I love mornings.
No surprise this genetic predisposition led me to be a full blown morning runner. Someone who is always running through a city that has yet to wake up.
Here are my official secrets of a lark...
Adopt the sleeping habits of a retired elderly person.
My ability to go to bed by 10 at the latest in college was typically attributed to me being a business major (I get it, I know the stereotypes) that being said I also did track and worked two jobs so it wasn’t like my “super easy schedule” was my secret weapon. Guess when I got a lot of things done? In the morning… after my epic run… when everyone else was still sleeping (it's a wild concept). Go to bed early and you will actually feel ready to wake up when your alarm goes off. Don’t be surprised when your momentum leads you to take on other tasks!
Colorado birdcampers getting in a few sips of pre-run coffee
Set your alarm 10 minutes before you actually want to wake up.
We are all human, we all have a weakness when it comes to the snooze button. Let's be honest smart phones did us no favor with that easy-to-use swipe up snooze feature. I like knowing when I hear my first alarm go off that if I need a little extra lounge time, it's not going to derail my schedule. Even better, if I get up the first go-around I either get a head start on my run, or I get more time walking around my apartment to help wake me up. But remember, you get one - I REPEAT ONE - time to hit the snooze button. Anymore beyond that you are only getting low quality sleep and missing your window to run.
32 degrees and still going strong, hello morning layers!
Lay out your running clothes the night before.
Have I ever woken up and said I can’t run because I couldn’t possibly find a clean sports bra? Yes, yes I have. Typically, during an early wake up your mind is primed to fall prey to excuses. Easiest excuse to get you to lay back down in bed? Having your morning brain overwhelmed by clothing options. If your clothes are laid out, half the battle is already over.
Hype up your breakfast.
If I’m doing a standard training run, I may be lazy about putting some food in my stomach before heading out the door, but if it’s a long run or a workout I usually have part of a bar or a piece of toast with peanut butter. However, the real meal I love is my post-run breakfast. A big satisfying breakfast is an early morning runner’s best friend. It can be the thing that gets you running back to home faster. When you get back from your run and you’re sitting their beaming with pride that your day started off strong, prep a breakfast that makes you feel just as proud as your run did. Look at that! you’ve turned this whole running early thing into a lovely morning ritual to look forward to.
David post-run. Internal thoughts being "crushed it".
Remind yourself that you are a badass who will be done with a workout before others have even started their day.
The first few steps of the morning run are awkward as your legs feel slightly unfamiliar to the act of movement. But, my favorite part of the morning run is looking at my surroundings, knowing I’m cold, or tired, or a little sore, but that I still made the choice to get out there. I have quality time with the city before anyone else and as I return from my run, seeing my boyfriend still asleep in bed I think to myself “sucker” (just kidding that’s terrible). Yet I do give myself a little pat on the back knowing that I for sure accomplished one thing today.
Now, life does happen and morning routines can be altered or challenging (insert kids with their own morning routine, a demanding work schedule, or sudden schedule changes). But if it’s possible, try to incorporate more morning runs into your schedule... let those legs fly. Have a street, path, or trail all to yourself - just wait you will feel something special.
It’s the feeling of freedom.
It's your go-time.