Early Morning Runs

Avoid the snooze button and become a morning runner.


By Megan Harrington


Morning exercisers know the value of fitting in physical activity before the day gets away from them, but it’s not always easy to make it happen. Work schedules, family demands, and other stressors often make running later in the day really tough. The solution? Get those miles in by breakfast-time. If you and your bed are BFFs, check out our tips for getting up and at ‘em.

1. Go to bed earlier. Want to know the secret to waking up with energy? It’s all about getting enough z’s. If you have a tendency to stay up late, try setting a “bedtime alarm” as a reminder to hit the hay. If you’re a night owl, you may have to adjust your routine in small increments. Try going to bed 10-20 minutes earlier each night -- after a week or so, your body should adjust to the earlier bedtime (and wake time).

2. Wear your running clothes to bed. Sometimes it’s all about the little things; by removing a small obstacle, you’ll make it that much easier to get out the door. If you’re not keen on sleeping in spandex, at least plan out what you’ll wear and set it out near your bed. When the snooze button is calling, seeing your gear might be enough motivation to get out of bed.

3. Put your alarm clock across the room. If you’re the type of person who hits the snooze button without even realizing it, it might be time for a new strategy. Place your phone or alarm clock across the room or in another out of reach spot (just make sure it’s loud enough for you to hear!). When 6 o’clock comes, you’ll need to take that extra step to turn off the alarm. And once you’re out of bed, running will be that much easier!

4. Make a plan. Rather than vaguely hoping for a few miles in the a.m., make a detailed plan for your morning. How far will you run and where? What will the weather be like and what should you wear? Making decisions in advance will help you get moving -- even if you’re still half asleep!

5. Have an accountability buddy. One of the best strategies for early morning runs is to have a running partner. Ideally they’d meet you in person, but if that’s not possible, you can try creating accountability by calling or texting another runner friend. Check-in with each other when you wake up and report back post-run!

6. Reward yourself. Waking up before the sun, dragging yourself out of your cozy bed, and getting out the door isn’t easy, so it’s important to make the process as enjoyable as possible. Consider saving a special podcast or playlist for early morning runs, buy yourself some fun (and reflective) running gear, or end your run with a fancy coffee drink. Whatever it takes to get it done!

7. Remember that something is better than nothing. If you adhere to a rigid schedule, you’ll be setting yourself up for disappointment. If you wake-up late or feel extra tired some morning, it’s okay to modify things. Cut your run in half or do some simple body weight exercises like lunges and squats.

If you want to become a morning runner, advance planning is key. Doing a little prep work the night before will help you start the day on the right foot!

Megan is a writer, RRCA certified running coach, and new mom living and training in rural upstate New York. She competed in DIII track and cross-country at Wesleyan University and now focuses on the half-marathon and marathon distance.

Main Photo Credit: lzf/; Second Photo Credit: Andrey_Popov/; Third Photo Credit: Martin Novak/