Saturdays with Steph: Becoming a Morning Runner

For as long as I can remember, I have preferred evening running; the setting sun serving as my cue to lace up my shoes and hit the road. Recently, I started training with a friend, who favors running in the morning. Therefore, in order to appease my friend, I have slowly transitioned to a “morning runner.” While I have not completely traded in my sunsets for the sunrise, I have come to appreciate, and somewhat enjoy, running in the morning. Here are some of the things I’ve discovered along the way:

  1. Fueling first – For me, the hardest part of running in the morning is figuring out how to properly fuel beforehand. I’ve found that I don’t need to eat anything for shorter runs (anything less than 10 miles). But for longer runs, if I fail to fuel pre-run, I struggle through the last few miles. This means waking up a bit earlier than my scheduled run to eat something small; bananas, dates, and oatmeal work best for me. Nutrition post-run is also an important consideration. After completing a strenuous morning workout, it’s tempting to let myself indulge a bit throughout the day. Instead of snacking on sweets and treats to reward myself, I keep myself nourished with healthy foods post-run.
  2. Toilet time – Another huge adjustment for me was figuring out my pre-run bathroom routine. I have learned (the hard way!), that I need to allot a little extra time before my morning runs to take care of business. This ensures that I’m not desperately searching for porta-potties half-way through my run.
  3. Sleepy runner – Without the caffeine from my morning cup of coffee coursing through my veins, it often takes me a few miles to feel fully awake. This makes completing certain speed workouts especially challenging in the morning. To accommodate for this, I give myself ample time to warm-up before speed-specific and tempo workouts.
  4. Chilly weather – I have also discovered that morning running often means cooler temperatures. While this is ideal for summer months, in the winter, the idea of getting out of my warm bed to run outside in the cold seems especially dreadful. To help with this, I lay out all of my running clothes the night before. If I have to think through what I’m wearing, it’s easier to psych myself out of a chilly morning run.
  5. Accountability partner -In the beginning, all of my morning runs were completed with friends. Knowing that I had an obligation to meet other runners kept me accountable. Now that morning running is less daunting to me, I am more inclined to run in the morning on my own.
  6. Worth it – The absolute best part of morning running is that it ensures that the rest of my day is incredible! It affords me time to collect my thoughts and goals for the day. And most notably, there are very few things that compare to the feeling of productivity that ensues after a hard run!
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