In Which I Accidentally Become a Morning Runner

At some point over the past few months, I accidentally became a morning runner.

I’d been trying for a while, with no success. I mean, I do <3 sleep.

But this spring, when I started skipping workouts because I was working later, I realized that had to change. I went to the gym a few times when I got out of work at 8, but it was usually miserable, and I couldn’t sleep well that night since I was so wide-awake.

I finally realized that if I was going to get my workouts in, I’d have to get them in in the morning. I’d read so many damn articles and blog posts about ways that I, too, could become a morning exerciser.

But just like I’d read 14 million articles about how to lose weight when I was overweight, and not internalized a damn thing until I was ready, I had to really want to become a morning runner.

It took a few days of workouts with friends visitingΒ to finally give me the momentum I needed to make this a habit. I’ve since struggled on and off (getting sick, going away), but it finally just clicked for me: if I work out in the morning, I have more time to do stuff after work, and I don’t have to worry about working out at 9pm if I get stuck late at work.

I usually feel like this when I get up and get out, but it usually gets better. (Not always, not gonna sugarcoat this.)

I had 4 “easy” miles on my schedule today, and I ran on my buddy, the West Side Highway path, up to 42nd Street and turned around. I’m already starting to get a little bored with my usual waterside routes, which is great, because it’s not like I have another 15 weeks of training or anything. I usually run sans headphones, but I’ve had to for some of my shorter runs lately to combat boredom. I recently bought a pair of Philips sports headphonesΒ (aff link) that I like–they stay in place and I can use the control to change the song/volume on my iPhone without waking it back up.

The interesting thing about morning runs is that you are definitely not quite awake for that first mile, and then you wake up gradually. When I hit mile 3, heading back to my apartment from the West Side Highway, I was a little surprised I’d already run 3 miles.

This view doesn’t hurt though.

Each mile ended up getting faster as I woke up more, for a grand total of 4 miles in 37:27.

Are you a morning exerciser? Are you a morning person or a reluctant morning exerciser like me?

43 comments on “In Which I Accidentally Become a Morning Runner

  1. Kimberly @ Healthy Strides

    I’ve been a morning runner almost since I started running and have to be now with this weather. I just like knowing that I’m done for the day (usually), and it also allows me the chance to brag to my co-workers. “Hey, I ran 7 miles this morning. What did you do?”

  2. Melanie

    I tried to run this morning but at 5.15am I just could not get my backside out of bed πŸ™

    Well done!!! I shall certainly keep trying!

  3. Martha Lilian

    Hey there! When I was running regularly, the morning was the only time I could run and still have something resembling a life in NYC. I have to seriously applaud you for being able to make post-work workouts happen – goodness knows I can’t.

    Do you find the Phillips headphones comfy? They stay in my ears but after a while they just plain hurt. My roommate borrowed mine and he ended coming straight upstairs to get a new pair because they bothered him so much.

  4. niki

    Good for you!! I need to start running in the morning because by the time I get to the gym at night, it’s just too late. There’s something nice about finishing a workout in the morning too. I am determined to become a morning runner, they will just have to get used to my wet bun hair at work πŸ˜‰

  5. Linda

    I’m trying to be a morning runner, but I have problems getting myself out of bed and running in the morning. Part of the problem is that for three days (but starting next week two days) a week I work out with my trainer in the morning, so then I get my miles in at night. That means I don’t sleep until later those days and then it’s hard to get up and out early the next morning. I’m thinking I need to just wake up extra early on those days that I have training and run BEFORE I work out with my trainer. I may fall asleep in my lunch, though. πŸ™‚

    1. Theodora Post author

      @Linda: Yeah, I’d have a really hard time getting in both running and something else in the morning, although I do hope to start adding a little weights action after my runs soon.

  6. Heidi

    i do like working out in the morning. It’s just that damn getting out of bed part that gets me down. I’ve started setting my alarm for the latest possible moment that I can wake up while still fitting in a good 45-60 minute workout in knowing that it takes me about ten minutes just to get out the door.

    that being said, i’ve been not doing so well with the morning running thing lately. I really need to jump back on that bandwagon.

    1. Theodora Post author

      @Heidi: Ah, same. I lay in bed for far too long, and also push the time I have to leave until the last possible moment. That I have to work on so that I have a little time to stretch/actually dry my hair.

  7. Cathryn @ My Heart's Content

    I became a morning runner this Spring and I love it – when I run in the evenings now I find I really struggle! The hardest bit, without a doubt, is getting out of bed. Once you’re out the door, it’s actually not that bad and I LOVE the buzz of getting home and having breakfast! I’m kind of dreading morning running in the winter though, and I live in the Bay Area so I have no excuse at all!!!

    And OH I am sick of my usual routes as well!!

  8. Dori

    I am a morning exerciser, although I do think I feel more comfortable/faster later in the day sometimes. I definitely feel more nauseous and stiff in the mornings, but being done with my workout for the day is usually worth it! I try to mix it up though. Thanks for the info on the headphones. Andy is going to try them out (love that you can control the songs from the headset) and I like when I try his on, I’ll get them too!

  9. Jen

    Haha I think I need running buddies to come kick my ass out of bed in the morning. My problem isn’t sleeping in- its going to bed at a decent hour.

  10. Samantha

    Definitely a reluctant morning exerciser. I have to get into a groove in order to stick to it, and if I skip more than a day or two, I fall out of it. I’m naturally a night owl and waking up early to squeeze it in is so unappealing to me. That said, I love when I actually do it. Maybe I should get a more uncomfortable bed?

  11. Lorena

    I’d prefer running in the afternoon, after my muscles have had a whole day of warming up. And I get to enjoy the beautiful sunset, which is always a plus.

    But because summers in SoCal valleys are rough by 9am and there’s a small window in the evening when it isn’t scorching, I am reluctantly having to run between 7:30-8:30am. It is quite possibly one of the toughest habits to form, but I’m not giving up!

  12. Megan@ The Running Doc

    I so badly would love to be a morning workout person, but the thought of getting up at 5 am is just so unappealing. And I don’t think my gym even opens until 6. So for now, I shall workout after work during the week and in the mornings on the weekends. Given, my weekends morning runs usually start around 8-8:30 so it barely even counts. πŸ™‚

  13. Shay @ Whine Less, Breathe More

    I love running in the mornings! Though I have had a hard time with it lately due to insomnia. But I will get back to my routine, darn it! I agree about being half asleep the first mile or so. It’s great how the body just operates on auto pilot! And then I feel so energized the rest of the day. And then ready to crash at 9:00 PM so I can do it all over again!

  14. Janice from Fitness Cheerleader

    I’m a lunch time runner because I solo parent very frequently and can’t see waking my kids up at 6 to ride their bikes beside me while I run (I also don’t own a dreadmill because my niece practically scalped herself on my MIL’s and Mike Tyson’s daughter was accidentally killed by one). Running at lunch helps to wake me up and get through the afternoon with better focus, as well it seems to work as a natural appetite suppressant. When I occasionally miss that lunch workout I find I eat more in the afternoon – coincidence?

  15. Newlyweds on a Budget

    I much prefer to workout in the morning, but I start work at 7:30, so I have to get up at 5:30, 5:15 to get a short morning run in. However, I ALWAYS feel amazing when I run in the morning. Although getting out of bed sometimes takes two snooze sessions, after the run and for the rest of the day I feel pretty damn good. Nothing beats that : )

  16. fiona

    Very reluctant morning exerciser. I’ve slept through more workouts than I care to admit, but now that I’m in full training mode, there’s no more room for error (sleeping through alarm).

  17. Betsy Fisher

    Was a morning runner until I had a hysterectomy. Now? I can’t seem to motivate to get up and go. My running has been affected all the way round. πŸ™

  18. Christy

    Nice job! Teach me. I need to at least do my long runs in the a.m. to train myself to fuel like in a race, when I haven’t eaten two meals already that day. I love sleep too.

  19. Shay

    People say I am crazy to wake up at 530am to go to gym for 645 or 7am classes. I do this almost 4 times a week. Some days are harder but overall it gets easier. I love being able to have time for classes, working late, meeting friends after work and feeling frustrated that I don’t have time for myself.

    Typing this while commuting to the gym. πŸ™‚

  20. Beckett @ Birchwood Pie

    I became a morning weight lifter 6 months ago. Mon, Wed, and Fri I give myself 10 minutes to make coffee and then get to it. I never miss a workout and always feel awesome afterwards. Somehow this inspired me to find productive tasks on my off days, so Thurs AM became dedicated house cleaning time. I’ve never really taken to morning running, but after reading this post and the comments, I’m inspired to try again.

  21. Nicole

    I love working out in the AM–it’s cooler in the summer, it gets you out of bed and moving in winter, and always means you have more time after work.

  22. Ashley @ My Food N Fitness Diaries

    i go in phases with my workout routine. i used to wake up at the butt crack of dawn to get my workout in, but lately sleep has been a lot more important to me so i’ve been doing some of my workouts in the evening. i find that i generally feel more motivated in the morning. i think it’s because i don’t think about it as much, it wakes me up, and it feels nice to have it done with before i start my day.

  23. Stacy L.

    I laughed about the 3 miles going by quickly – I sometimes joke that I black out a majority of my morning runs. It’s so true though – the mornings are never easy. It’s about mentally overcoming that post-alarm hurdle and simply getting your ass out of bed. Once you do – and once that becomes a habit – you’ll forget what it was like to ever not work out in the AM. Moreover, you’ll be cranky when you don’t.

  24. Jenny @ The Little JBird

    I wish I could get myself to work out in the morning consistently. The few times I do that I feel great afterwards and enjoy my free time later in the day. I just don’t always feel like I can push myself as hard first thing in the morning because my stomach can act up. But as hot and humid as it has been I’m going to have to bring back the morning workouts. πŸ™‚

  25. Sam @ Better With Sprinkles

    I’m not really a morning person, but I do my workouts in the mornings. I’d rather get it over with as soon as I wake up than by thinking about all day – plus if I make plans later I don’t have to worry about trying to squeeze a workout in.

  26. Katie H.

    Morning runs really do become addictive! Even during the summer, when I don’t have to, I will get up around 6 to get a run in before it gets too hot, before breakfast, and so that I can justify laying on the couch for the rest of the morning πŸ™‚

  27. Clarissa

    Good for you! I am at my best when I get my exercise done in the mornings too however I’ve fallen off the consistency wagon lately. I’ll try again and hope for the best. You reminded me that it really does just take a little bit of effort to make it a habit.

  28. Liz

    I used to hate morning runs, but with the extreme heat this summer I have been forced to do them regularly if I want to get my runs in. I have surprised myself by actually enjoying them!!

  29. Laura @ sweatingforit

    I’ve been a morning runner forever. My problem actually is that if I miss a morning, I pretty much give up on running at all that day. I started going to an evening running group once a week to try and break me of my “mornings or nothing” habit.

  30. Alana

    I am not currently a morning exerciser… I used to be as a competitive rower for five or six years, but then I decided I had spent enough early mornings exercising for one lifetime. I’m starting to realize though, as you said, that morning exercise is going to be better for my schedule overall. Need to kick myself into gear and try to get out there before work I think.

  31. Amanda N

    I’ve tried becoming a morning runner but it isn’t easy haha I do run in the morning a few days a week but I dread it. I always have a really easy time running in the morning on the weekend though, but maybe that’s because I don’t have to get up as early! Awesome that you’ve been able to become a “morning” person!

  32. Becky lodge

    I find that runs are harder for me in the morning but I have little motivation to go out to run at night. I also have the same problem as everyone else- getting out of bed, especially in winter! I find thinking about going out for a run last thing at night helps me wake up raring to go- also the thought of breakfast when I get back!

  33. Glenn

    It is so much better to get your run or workout out of the way early in the day. This way, if anything comes up, your exercise won’t suffer. My wife used to enjoy morning Central Park runs. She would often pass Bill Cosby.


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