Have you ever scheduled a morning run the night before, only to hit the snooze button ten times, then run straight to the coffee maker rather than the trail? If you’re anything like me, or the 45% or so of us who are not early birds, you understand completely. It’s not that we don’t love running, or that we’re lazy, after all, sleep is important. However, there are many benefits to morning runs to consider. Next time you’re lying in bed wanting to hit snooze think of the acronym GREAT to help you jump out of bed and start running.
Goals – Posting your goals somewhere you will look every day is important. Try posting them on a sticky-note near your bed or alarm clock. Every time you see the note it will remind you that your goals are more important than your 10 extra minutes of sleeping.
Routine – Create a consistent morning routine that you follow even on mornings you don’t run. Although it may be tempting to sleep in late those days, it can really throw off your whole schedule and keep you up at night. Routines will also help you stay on schedule with your daily tasks, and running early has the benefits of extra hours of free time. Finally, when race day comes, you’ll be used to this, and won’t be that person yawning on the line.Eat – When we sleep, our bodies store energy in our liver to keep blood sugar consistent and help our heart and lungs keep working. By the time we get up to run, this storage runs out, and according to Dr. Dan Benardot in his book “Nutrition for Serious Athletes”, our bodies must then create glucose from protein. If we don’t eat before exercising, the body uses protein from our muscles to create the sugars it needs, and according to Benardot, “You break down the very muscles you’re trying to improve with exercise…therefore you don’t benefit from the exercise.” To prevent this, remember to energize your morning run with a small snack such as a granola bar, banana, or a slice of toast.
Attitude – The most important thing to bring on your run is a positive attitude. Think of all the benefits to getting started early. Remind yourself of how this run is helping you. Most importantly, even if you feel unmotivated, don’t ever think a run is going to be awful before you even start. Many races are run in the morning. Using your morning runs to practice keeping a positive attitude will help you maintain positivity when you toe the line of your next race.
Temperature – Morning runs are most advantageous in the summer months. There’s no greater feeling than finishing a run before it gets too hot. Use this as motivation to get out of bed and save yourself some sweat.
So next time you are tempted to keep sleeping, just remember to follow these easy steps, and you’ll not only have a “good morning” but a “GREAT” run!
About the Author: Amanda Winslow, is a junior at Florida State University, and a member of the Seminoles Cross Country and Track & Field teams. She enjoys long runs on the sandy trails of Tallahassee, as well as creative writing, photography and painting (see original artwork above).