On Becoming a Morning Runner

When I started working out regularly about 5.5 years ago, I’d drag myself to pre-work training sessions with Joel, sometimes going back to sleep after.

To say I was not a morning person is an understatement.

If I had nighttime plans, I’d try really really hard to make it to the gym before work or for a run, but it wouldn’t always happen. Or, never.

A few years ago, I went to Vegas with Ashley. I realized she got to work way earlier than I did AND still worked out in the morning. So, um, what was my excuse? Right, none.

And then I was freelancing, and I could design my own schedule, and so running in the morning was easy and worked.

And…once I started a new job a few years ago — it stuck! Between staying later at work and having more events (personal, professional, volunteer), it was much easier to get it out of the way in the morning and have a little bit of peace before a chaotic day. 


See, total morning runner.

Yesterday morning, I had plans to run with Jen, although neither of us have slept well lately so we both reserved the right to cancel. She canceled before I even woke up, and I woke up at 7 making every excuse in the world. My calves are tight. I’m tired. I don’t want to. I knew better. I knew if I just got out and did something, I’d feel better — less lethargic, less cranky. But my couch! It’s so comfy. And so I screwed around for nearly 1.5 hours doing quite honestly ABSOLUTELY nothing but trying to decide if I should work out / what I should do. 

I don’t have to be at work until 10, so just before 9, I decided to get my act together and at least be early for work and get a few errands done, which I did.

I got to work, and as much as I usually love my coworkers to death, I hoped nobody would talk to me and ask how I was. 

Thankfully, I work at a fitness company, and I asked if anyone would be willing to work out later in the afternoon. Of course the answer was yes, and we did a 50-minute kettlebell workout.

But I spent all day thinking and worrying about if I’d have enough time to work out, and just generally feeling out of sorts.

Morning workouts? I walk into work as happy and calm as I can be and know I checked my workout off my to-do list and the night is mine: for fun or working late. Glad I spent the first 6 years of my career being super crankypants in the morning.

Are you a morning exerciser? 

23 comments on “On Becoming a Morning Runner

  1. Chrissy

    I love the morning to exercise! As a VP at a middle school, I am responsible for calling substitutes and haven’t been as faithful to the morning run as I’d like.This fall, we’re changing to an automated system and I couldn’t be more happy. Running sets my mood for the day and often times I’m too tired to run after work or something comes up. I’ve seen some bloggers setting their alarms for 4 or 4:30am and I always admire their dedication. That’s not a morning run, it’s still the middle of the night!

  2. meredith @ Cookie ChRUNicles

    I have always been a morning person and a morning runner. It definitely starts my day off right, puts me in a great mood and gives you that peace before the craziness begins. And, it makes squeezing in a workout that much easier if it is done before the day even begin. I used to try evening workouts after work years ago but I never good at night for running, working out and sweating. I am much more effective in the morning.

  3. Lauren @ Beautiful Plant-Based Life

    I go through phases of being a morning runner/yogi. On my days off, I generally start my day with a workout. However, as a teacher, I need to be at work by 8:15! Like you, I feel amazing when I squeeze in a workout before work. I think I’m going to give it another shot. Starting next week… 😉

  4. Katie

    I was totally with you, now I can get up for morning classes or a swim, but I still can’t make myself be a morning solo runner. Eventually it will have to happen. But for now I’ll keep with my couple mornings a week of teaching.

  5. Beckett @ Birchwood Pie

    I switched to morning workouts in grad school because it was either that or no exercise at all. Sometimes I’m a little slow/tired, or crunched for time, but it really sets the tone for the rest of the day. Since it happens first thing, I rarely miss workouts, and I have more time for fun stuff at night.

  6. Shawna

    i became an early morning runner/worker-outer spring 2012 and haven’t looked back. i love waking up and jumping immediately into workout clothes and out the door. gives me a great start to my day, puts me in a good mood, and has become such a part of my daily routine that i get annoyed with myself on the days i sleep in. def an adjustment, though, and i go to bed fairly early.

  7. Steph

    This is something I continue to struggle with and probably will forever. Although, on Tuesday morning, I woke up and did an 8 mile track workout and since Wednesday is my rest day, it felt amazing to not have any run commitments between Tuesday morning and tonight, when my next run is. It felt like 3 days off, but was really only 1. So, yeah, maybe I need to run in the morning more often. It’s always such a relief when I can leave work and have no workout commitment waiting for me when I get home.

  8. Gianna @ Run, Lift, Repeat

    I’m USUALLY a morning person but lately I have gotten lazier. At the end of the day though I am always mad that I slept in.
    Last year which was the craziest for me work wise, I was up 4:30/5 every day and working 10-12 hour days 6-7 days a week. That is insanity and I have no idea HOW I did it!
    But seriously nothing better than that morning rush of endorphins 🙂

  9. Jacquelyn @justjacq

    I’m so not a morning person… or a night person. I’m at my best around 11 am and 2 pm. And my bed is waaaaaayyyy too comfy so I never want to get out! I think I need to get a horrible bed and some nasty sheets so that I’ll actually wake up in the morning. The few times I managed to consistently get up and workout in the morning I feel so much better. But I can’t get my brain to remember that when I’m laying in my ridiculously wonderful bed.

  10. Emily @esquaredsouth

    I switched to morning workouts too and did it by having a scheduled appointment with a personal trainer twice a week. My work/social life was crazy and I loved how I felt all day knowing my workout was out of the way. I still prefer to workout in the mornings, although it is tougher since I have to be at work earlier now, and I have a cute husband who I have to leave in the bed because he doesn’t like getting up early to workout with me.

    Speaking of early workouts, you’ve mentioned the November Project before. It’s headed to the West Side tomorrow morning. It will be my first time going, and I’d love to meet up with you if you’re going. (Workout buddies are the best!!)

  11. Valerie

    Just wanted to say thanks for this post! I read it just when I needed it most last night. Sadly, I’ve been in a slump with running and healthy eating (!) recently. With a marathon next month, I’ve been freaking out a bit. I planned on running this morning and when I read this post, that sealed it. Thanks for the reminder on all the benefits of early morning runs (besides sporting my rad headlamp, obviously). Five good miles before work this morning and I’m feeling better already.

  12. Ginger K

    Jealous! If I did not have to be at work until 10 AM I would ABSOLUTELY be a morning exerciser. As it stands, I have to be at work PROMPTLY at 8 AM and morning exercise means getting up at 4:30am at the latest. Functioning before about 9 AM is completely impossible for me, so I try to work out immediately after work.

    But I envy your start time. It would be perfect.

  13. Liz

    I get up at 5 (or a little before, eek) to get runs in during the weekdays and it is really hard. I wold LOVE LOVE LOVE to be able to get up at 7 to fit them in, but unfortunately I have to be out the door at 7:15!

  14. Christine

    I have to be at work by 630am so not too many early workouts, but I wish I could do more. I feel so much better the rest if the day!

  15. Ariana

    I usually prefer working out later in the day if weather and my schedule permit it. However, I will do morning workouts when it works out, but I always feel more tired in the morning (I’m working on trying to get more sleep…but then again who isn’t??). I also eat healthier throughout the day if I know I have workout later on; whereas, if I already exercised, I will allow myself to eat that afternoon cookie since it won’t (directly) affect my workout.

  16. Theresa

    I’ve always brisk-walked in the morning. I don’t think I can do it at any other time of the day, especially when I think (rightly or wrongly) that pollution would be more during the latter part of the day.


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