Sure, logging early-hour miles alongside the sunrise may seem great in theory. But, morning person or not, waking up can be rough on us all. Even if you want to buy into the Case for a Morning Run, resisting the urge to hit snooze may simply be too much to ask.
Correction: It was too much to ask.
These ridiculously simple tips and tricks are shockingly effective and virtually undefeated against the gravitational pull of your pillow. So, read up, circle some strategies you like and start beating the early bird to the worm.
Lay Out Your Clothes1 of 21
Don't wait until your alarm goes off to consider what you're wearing. Always check the weather and piece together your gear—head-to-toe, including accessories—the night before. Not knowing what to wear can be an insurmountable stressor during your first few moments of consciousness.
Cold Water2 of 21
You don't necessarily need to start waking up to cold showers. In fact, that sounds terrible. But a splash of cold water to the face—or even just a glass of cold water to the throat—can prove to be just rejuvenating enough to get you moving.
Set the Alarm in a Different Room3 of 21
Any other room will do, so long as it's not the room your bed calls home. For best results, charge your phone overnight right next to your coffee maker.
Lights On4 of 21
Should you set your alarm outside of your bedroom, flip the light switch and close the door on your way out. The urge to return to your slumber will disappear if it means staring the unforgiving brightness in the face.
Chewing Gum5 of 21
Chewing gum increases alertness and improves reaction time—each of which your sleepy brain is in desperate need of. #Science
Write It Down6 of 21
With a calendar on your phone, you may look at those huge desk planners and wonder what they're good for. Well, dear runner, they're good for you. Plan your runs a month at a time, writing down the number of miles you're on the hook for each day. When you get to work, highlight the number in green—unless you skipped out, then it gets red.
Breakfast is Ready7 of 21
Whatever your jam, prepare your pre-run snack the night before. Overnight oats are particularly good for this strategy.
Wind Down8 of 21
Establish a bedtime routine that tells your mind it's time to relax and prepare for sleep. Turn the TV off, put your phone away, do some reading, whatever works. Just begin to eliminate sources of stimulation within an hour of bedtime.
Use Music9 of 21
Play something upbeat once you're out of bed—or set your alarm to play a specific song that you'll look forward to hearing. Disclaimer: The whole alarm-playing-a-song thing may also lead to an intense hatred for a song you used to like, so proceed with caution.
Set a Bedtime Alarm10 of 21
Late nights and poor sleep quality make waking up more difficult. Establish a bedtime, set an alarm and remain accountable to the time you choose. Try to get at least seven good hours of sleep each night if you can help it.
Enlist Your Dog's Help11 of 21
For some, this means including your dog on morning runs. For others, this could simply be consistently feeding Fido his breakfast immediately after you wake up. Either way, you can rest assured that Pavlov's dog won't forget what that alarm means.
Wear Red12 of 21
Why? Well, for starters, because red is a "power" color, so that should boost your confidence. But the color has also been shown to increase excitement, energy and circulation—which could explain this whole Alabama football dynasty, now that I think about it.
Coffee13 of 21
What more needs to be said? The nectar of the morning gods is the perfect way to get up, feel alert and hit the ground running. By the way, excuse the shameless plug, but coffee can actually make you a better runner.
Live in the Future14 of 21
Make a point to actively consider for a few minutes how great you'll feel once you've finished your run—and how cranky and guilty you'll feel if you skip it.
Schedule Your Back to the Wall15 of 21
Some flexibility is good, but too much flexibility breeds complacency and excuses. Take the dog out at the same time every day, see your spouse out the door, schedule a morning meeting or do all of the above. Create concrete reasons that you cannot have "just 10 more minutes" of sleep.
Set Multiple Alarms16 of 21
On one hand, you could simply set a dozen different alarms that eventually annoy you out of bed. Or you could purposefully set one alarm that gets you out of bed and over to the coffee, followed by a second alarm several minutes later alerting you to the fact that your brew has cooled and is ready to chug. Your call.
Pack Your Bag17 of 21
Running at the track or the gym? Pack your bag the night before with everything you'll need and place your car keys on top.
Peer Pressure18 of 21
Grab a running buddy or a join a running group. The shame of letting others down, making them wait or—worse—allowing them to get faster and stronger than you will be enough to get you out the door.
Make Dinner Plans19 of 21
Why are we talking about dinner? Well you can't justify skipping a morning run with empty promises of making it up in the evening if you have dinner plans, can you?
Save Your Podcasts20 of 21
Mornings are great for thought and reflection. Skip music on some days and save a podcast you've been looking forward to hearing for the occasion. That will add oft-needed elements of excitement and intrigue to your early wake-up.