Becoming a Morning Runner

Summer training in New England for a mesomorph like myself will require a bit of an adjustment. I tend to overheat. I sweat more than almost any person I’ve ever met. It’s only May, and because we’re experiencing a bit of a warm spell, I’m already starting to freak out a bit about running this summer. The options for dealing with the heat are basically:

  1. go to the air conditioned gym
  2. work out when the sun is down, preferably in the pre-dawn hour when it’s coolest.

Now, I’m a morning person – to a point. I’m not a person who likes to get up in the dark – true dark. It makes the whole day awful for me.  I consider 4:30 am to actually be the middle of the night – morning starts at 5:00 am.

I’ve read, and I’ve been told, that this early morning approach is really a better way to go about summer training in hot, humid New England than my typical approach of risking heat stroke or waiting until 9/9:30 pm  to run circles around my small neighborhood.

This summer, I’m going to try – gulp – changing progressing. I’m going to see if I can get my shorter runs done in the morning.

I have been hitting the snooze button since sixth grade, so this is a deeply-rooted reaction to early morning, obviously. I knew I couldn’t be the only person to ever face this hurdle, so I decided to read up on what the general internet running community has to say. I picked up a few good tips that I’m going to try. Here they are:

Incremental Change:

I think I have always tried to become a morning person with a “big bang theory” mentality. I’ll go to bed at 10:30 one night (early for me) and set my alarm for a time early enough to get a run in before work. I go to sleep thinking to myself how awesome I’m going to be as a morning runner – I’m going to crush it. Then, before I can finish my dream, I’ve hit snooze 4 times and I’m definitely going to be late for work. Also, I’ve missed my scheduled run, so now I’ve failed before I even get out of bed. This has historically been a stumbling block for me – very discouraging.

Many articles I read suggested getting up 15-20 minutes earlier each day for a week, then increasing it for the next week, and so on, so you gradually adjust your natural daily rhythms to an earlier overall time period.

Take Advantage of Natural Light

Another suggestion I found in multiple articles was to use natural light to your advantage. In New England, this isn’t an option for my time schedule during most of the year. However, I have a light box (to treat seasonal affective disorder) which would probably provide a similar effect.

I think I can combine these two suggestions. I can get up 15 minutes earlier and sit in front of the light, with my coffee, then run. My runs are fairly short right now, so I don’t have to get up that early to fit it in. I should probably take advantage of this maintenance phase to become a morning runner.

Are you a morning runner? Do you have any tricks that really make it work for you? I’d love some suggestions!

Either way, keep running!

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One thought on “Becoming a Morning Runner

  1. Great article! I’ve never considered a light box before, it seems like a great idea for those of us who need something to help with waking up in the dark. I’ve also found that morning runs help balance my body for the rest of the day. Instead of stumbling from the bed, to the shower, to the office, I now have a little time for myself and the exercise wakes me up and helps my body prepare for the day ahead. Thanks for the tips!

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