6 Tips to Make Sure You Wake Up Early and Run

Every runner with a family, a job or any other daily time constraints will eventually have to decide when they’ll fit their runs into their schedule. For some of us, the 9 to 5 (or 6 or 7) workday prohibits us to fit a run in mid day. Running at night is an option, but for me there are too many variables. Between the uncertainty of not being sure of when we’ll actually get home to figuring out dinner to helping with homework, once all is said and done, running after 9pm isn’t my cup of tea.

That’s why I run in the morning. 

Running in the morning is a great way to start your day. After a good run, you feel alert and awake. It really can set the tone for your day and I always feel full of energy at work if I’ve started the day with a 5-6 mile run.

Whether or not you consider yourself a morning person, you can get up and run in the morning. Here are some tips I use to make sure I get out the door and run.

Don’t push snooze – ever

Pushing the snooze button does you no good whatsoever.

It’s not like you fall back into any type of meaningful sleep during the 9 minutes you’ll lay in bed  after pushing the snooze button – you’re only wasting valuable time. If there is any drawback to running in the morning it’s that my time between waking up and when I leave for work is finite. I have an allotted amount of time to get a run in, and if I don’t get out of bed when my alarm goes off, I cut into that time. 9 minutes could be the difference of a mile or so.

Put your alarm across the room

If you do this, it sort of negates step one, but it also gets you out of bed. You run the risk of waking your spouse by doing this, but that’s all the more incentive to get up.On the mornings when I run, I set my iPhone to go off on vibrate mode at 5:45 and if by some chance I’m not making progress to turn off my alarm at 5:45:01, I’m quickly reminded to get up by wife. Obviously this is something you’d want to clear with your significant other ahead of time, but the physical act of having to get out of bed can be pretty good at propelling you to get ready and out the door.

Set out all of your running gear some place other than your room the night before

I usually set everything up on the chairs at my kitchen table. It’s one mental step that prepares me for my run and generally makes me feel more prepared to get out and run the next morning.

Think about it this way: if you go to the trouble of laying out your shoes, clothes, watch, hat and whatever running gear you may use, it’s likely going to serve as extra motivation to get up and go. Conversely, if that is one more thing you have to do before you go on your run, it’s an easy excuse to stay in bed.

Put your run on ALL of your calendars

I don’t know about you, but if something is on my schedule, I feel pretty lousy if I don’t cross it off or have a darned good reason for not doing so. Not waking up isn’t a good excuse to not cross off your run.

A financial planner once told me that people should include paying into their savings account monthly as one of their monthly bills. The line of thinking is that you’re not going to skip paying your credit card bill or your electric bill and if successfully get into the mindset that your monthly savings deposit is bill you won’t skip that either.

The same goes for putting running on your calendars. You wouldn’t blow off a standing weekly meeting with your boss and by adopting that same mindset for your runs, you’ll eventually get to the point where you won’t skip those either.

Keep a running log

One of my favorite running accessories is my Garmin 405 watch. There are many things about it that are great, but one of the greatest features is the website where I can upload all of my runs. It’s fun to look at my progress toward my goal of running 1,000 miles in a year, but if I miss a run for any reason, that glaring hole in my running schedule shoots off the screen.

If by some chance I don’t meet my goal of running 1,000 miles, I don’t want it to be because I overslept or didn’t get out of bed one too many times.

Set a goal

It’s easy to let something slide if you don’t have a clear focus. Running without a goal is fine, but if you want some accountability to get up and at ’em, a clearly defined goal is a good way to go. To up the ante, let people know about it. Post it on facebook. Tweet about it. Send smoke screens – anything that will make your goal more than a passing desire or thought.

If you’re a just starting out as a early-to-rise runner, you can set some modest goals. You could set a goal to run one morning during the work week and build up from there. Signing up for a race also does wonders in the staying true to goals front. Everyone wants to be as prepared as they can be for any race they’ve already paid for, and the realization that your race will be here before you know it can be better than the strongest cup of coffee.

Becoming a morning runner

The great thing for most people about running in the morning is that once you get into a routine for about a week or so, it becomes relatively easy.  When I first considered running in the mornings, I talked to one of my good friends who is in the gym nearly every morning at 5am. He told me it sucked waking up like that every day for approximately one week. After that, he felt like something was missing if he didn’t get his workout in. It was about the same for me. It wasn’t easy that first week, but now if I don’t get three morning runs in a week, I feel like I should mark it as incomplete.


  1. […] This will take some getting used to, but waking up at 4:30 or 5:00 am is a great way to get a good 4 to 5 miles in before you head off for your first appointment. The trick here is getting some shut eye the night before. Instead of grabbing a beer at the bar or staying up to watch HBO, try to get in bed by 9:00 or 10:00pm. Bonus points if you’re traveling east to west. On a recent trip to California, the 3 hour time difference made waking up and getting all of my runs in a snap. For more on getting up early, check out a previous post I did on waking up early to run. […]

  2. […] blogs are labors of love for their authors and many of said authors write late into the night or wake up early in the morning to write. Most all of those people haven’t quite their day jobs, but sharing […]

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