Everybody says running in the morning is good and blah blah blah. But why do you need to run in the morning when you can run in the afternoon or evening?
1. With the rise of the sun, the air outside is fresh and crisp.
2. A workout in the morning liberates and energises me for the whole day.
3. Morning, also, offers fresh and clean air and less traffic.
4. Time to ponder on ‘things’, do stuff like read, write, plan, meditate or exercise without any distractions.
5. As the body goes in a fasted state, carbohydrate level is depleted. So, when we workout in the morning, body uses fat as a source to produce energy.
Now, early mornings hold some kind of a magic. The bed seem to have a magnetic pull. But as seen above, to reap the benefits of a beautiful morning, you need to wake up on time. Let me give you some tips to get up early to run.
Before going to sleep
There are few ‘things’ or I will say rituals which I follow before I go off to sleep or even before I hit the bed. A word to mention here is that I am a sound sleeper and have had no issues with falling asleep.
1. Early to Bed
The age old saying of “Early to bed and early to rise makes…blah blah blah….wise” is true. Hitting the sack early and getting a shut eye of at least 6 hours will help you wake up fresh. Tiredness upon waking up can be related to inadequate sleep. So, plan your evenings well and try to finish off your work to sleep off early.
Make changes slowly and gradually. Shift the time of waking up every day by 15-30 minutes. Don’t make drastic changes suddenly. Prepare the body and mind slowly to wake up early. If you get up at 8 AM, then wake up next day at 7.45 AM or 7.30 AM.
2. Make your aim clear
What is your aim to workout? Is it to lose weight or to stay healthy or prepare for some race or slimming down for marriage? If it is one of these or any other which I have not covered, then probably it will motivate you to work hard to fulfill your goal. In addition, it always helps to further refine the goal to make your resolve to get up early stronger. For example, you want to lose weight, then ask yourself as to how much and how fast. This will help you conquer the morning gym blues to a great extent effectively.
3. Exercise Clothes
I follow this habit religiously and it helps. Trust me on this. Lay out your gym clothes the previous night. It helps you visualise that you are going to run in the morning and going to achieve your goal. Also it helps in cutting down time to get ready.
From my personal experience I have realised that the night I drink, I don’t wake up fresh the next day. So, now I try to avoid alcohol on the week days, hence avoiding extra calories and looking forward for the weekend to really enjoy the drinks.
Alcohol actually slows down the metabolism and increases lethargy. Those who drink at night and can’t get up in the morning can try avoiding it one night. I bet you will wake up early and that too fresh. Incase you can’t avoid alcohol, have a glass of wine to promote good sleep.
5. Alarm Clock
Ah, the dreaded alarm clock, which upon ringing is put on snooze repeatedly. The trick of waking up with the alarm clock is to keep it out of your reach. Put it across your room or keep it on a dressing table. The point is that to switch it off, you have to leave the comfort of the bed.
The power of visualisation to too good to be true. I have tried this and maybe some of you can benefit from this. Before I sleep, lying on the bed, I visualise myself getting up at, say, 5 am and waking up fresh. I also visualise the alarm clock going off at 5 am. More often than not, I have woken up just a few seconds before the alarm went off. It is amazing but it works. Try it.
7. Dim lights before sleeping
Dim the lights of the bedroom an hour prior to hitting the bed. Less light will help release melatonin, a hormone which signals to the body that it’s night and time to switch off.
8. Read before sleeping
Read your favourite book before sleeping. Reading tires the mind and promotes deep sleep. And that means no reading on your iPad or iPhone or Kindle or whatever electronic book reader you have as there is always an option of switching to some other text or book.
9. No electronics in the bedroom
We have this rule in the house of ‘no tele in the bedroom’. Bedroom is a place to sleep. Make it your sanctuary of retiring to a peaceful place. Also don’t browse the internet on mobiles or tablets before sleeping. The bright light alerts the brain and causes delay in dozing off.
On waking up
Everybody on waking up moves like a zombie. Getting the mind and body to move is a task in itself. Here’s my routine after waking up.
1. Switch on lots of light
On waking up, I switch on lots of lights to shock my brain and wake it up nicely. Except the bedroom light or my wife will kill me.
2. Brew tea or coffee
Caffeine is a known stimulant to alert the mind and body. I generally brew some tea before I head for morning ablutions.
3. Check some motivational videos
I watch some motivational videos on YouTube before I head out of the door for running. It is a great booster to get charged up for the workout.
4. No time for grooming
I don’t like to groom before I finish my run like I don’t brush or shave(good idea to stay away from me in the AM). It is a time waster for me. I just like to crap, wash my face and put on my running gear before I head out.
1. Get a training partner to force you to run in the morning.
2. Follow the practice of waking up early for atleast 21 days as according to researches it has been proved to be the minimum time to form a habit.
3. Avoid heavy dinner before hitting the sack.
4. Avoid caffeine at night.
5. Limit afternoon nap to 30-45 minutes.
6. Follow a running schedule so that you know what kind of run you will do next morning.
7. Stretch your whole body on waking up.
Waking up in the morning is not such a big deal. Having a right frame of mind and preparing accordingly will help you pulling yourself out of the bed successfully. Enjoy the freshness and beauty of the morning and keep exercising.
Till then stay fit and keep running.