Early Bird Special

I’ve reconnected with my old love of running.  Back in the day, I used to run half/full marathons for fun (seriously) and I would wake up super early to run countless miles without hesitation.  I totally burned myself out and left running all together and focused more on yoga.

Early this year, I began taking short runs to be outside and break a sweat while getting some Vitamin D.  And then my husband decided to sign up for his first full marathon.  As I began to get him encouraging books from the library and talk to him about the best training programs, etc., I noticed a shift in myself.  I was feeling the running bug again. So, we made a pact to wake up at 5:30am to exercise.   Even though we both had been down this road before, we’d become quite lazy and the thought of doing anything that early in the morning was daunting.  But after trying it one morning, I felt a serious surge in energy. I thought for sure that I would be tired later in the day but it never happened.  My mind felt clear and I was ready to tackle the day.

Now don’t get me wrong, there is some sacrifice with our bedtime and in order to feel fully rested we have to be in bed by 9:30-10:00.  But after a few days of waking up early, my body was begging for sleep at that time.  By the weekend, we were ready to go bright and early.  It’s like we flipped on our early bird switch and reconnected with our circadian rhythm. 

If you are thinking of starting a workout routine in the morning whether it be running, yoga or maybe joining a gym, here are some tips that have helped me:

  1. Get your clothes/equipment ready the night before.  This simple action gets your intention set for the next day and helps get you mentally prepared to wake up early.
  2. As soon as the alarm goes off, sit up in bed and do some easy stretches (neck rolls, wrist/ankle rolls, knees to chest) anything to get the blood flowing.  Ease into it.
  3. Drink a full glass of water.  As I mentioned in my last post, you need to hydrate from fasting all night.
  4. If possible, exercise outdoors. It gets a little tricky since it’s dark in the morning but try to find a well-lit path or purchase a head lamp with reflective gear.  If you have a patio or balcony, take your yoga mat outside to practice.  Connecting with nature, breathing in fresh air and listening to the sounds of the early morning enhances your experience.  Seeing the sun rise is also a cool bonus.
  5. Set an intention.  I always like to dedicate my run or yoga practice before I begin to something I’m working on personally or someone who needs some positive thoughts sent their way.  Getting out of your head in the morning frees up space to just be in the moment.
  6. Bonus tip: a little goes a long way. Don't get so hung up on doing 30 minutes or more. If you are first starting off, just put in 10 or 15 minutes.  Be easy on yourself. Eventually you will work your way up. 

If you Googled why you should exercise in the morning, you will find that there are numerous studies/articles to support the benefits.  Not only will it help you physically, but your overall demeanor and mental strength will improve as well.

I hope this inspires you to start you own early morning routine.  If you already exercise in the morning, what are some of the tips you use to get moving every day?