How I Turned Myself Into A Morning Runner

This past week, I’ve been surprising myself so hard with my early morning runs that I swear I turned into someone else. In which case, I bring you this helpful blog to help you get your ass up early and keep me accountable and because, well, I’m still in so much shock of the change it has to be documented. Because for as long as I could remember, I’ve been a night owl. There’s something kind of wonderful about working late into the night on something you are passionate about, knowing nothing is expected from you… like at all. But that had to change.

The night owl schedule wasn’t working for me since I have a 9 to 5. I wasn’t thriving, let alone surviving, on little sleep. I desperately wanted to become a morning person so that I could workout in the mornings and become the productive person I’ve been reading so much about but to no avail. And, I was exhausting every life hack you can imagine. I kept hitting the snooze button and telling myself I needed to rest and not run. I was getting to bed way too late the night before. I was eating dinner late and didn't want to go straight to bed with a belly full of food. I was making every excuse in the book.

Then, my awesome friend Tony and I were talking about running and shedding some extra weight we put on this winter, well, because we fucking love food. He asked if I were serious and my eyes lit up, “Yes, I am fucking serious!” I told him I posted to Facebook months prior asking (pleading) for a running buddy but no one responded. I thrive in my own life when I have to help someone else, when I am obligated to someone else. I was so excited that I couldn’t sleep the night before. I thought to myself, “OMG. THIS was the thing I was waiting for.”

The night before our first run, I took his phone and put not 1, but 4 alarms, 15 minutes apart all with different sounds. I wasn’t fucking kidding, I needed this as much as he did. The next morning, I ran to his place about 1 mile away and picked him up at 6AM. We did interval training and then I ran back home: 3.5 miles down. I’ve been on a runner’s high ever since.

However, I should note. I am not a fast runner. I repeat: I am not a fast runner. And, I don’t think I will ever be. It may be because of the way I am built but I am pretty sure it’s because of my arthritis. Basically, every run hurts and my first two miles are my slowest and most painful. But, by some miracle, I keep going. While I am forever grateful to Tony, there are other things I have to do in order to keep this up. I hope these tips help you out as well.

  1. Find the one thing that motivates you, that you cannot say no to: For me, it was someone depending on me for motivation. Plus, the photo ops during our runs to catch the sunrise haven’t hurt either.

  2. Sleep is queen: You need sleep. Everyone does. I literally had to block out a time in my calendar titled “Wind down” where I tidy up, do the dishes, put my running clothes out, take a shower, and, if possible, read a book or listen to a podcast. Everyone needs a transition period to prepare for sleep, at least good sleep. Stick to it and see what works for you.

  3. Set multiple alarms: About 10-15 minutes apart and customize them. Mine say: 1. Get ready, you queen! 2. Ok, now you’re pushing it. 3. Last warning… 4. Get the fuck up, girl!

  4. Put your running clothes out where you can see them: Mine are like 3 feet away from me, looking straight at me when my eyes open in the morning. This saves me time when getting ready and buys me more time to sleep.

  5. Play music while you get ready: I made myself a playlist appropriately titled, “Get The Fuck Up, Cindy!” so that when I finally open my eyes and see that I’ve successfully put on my running clothes, M.O.P.’s “Ante Up” is slowly getting me amped.

  6. Keep yourself accountable: Whether it’s by telling friends and family, writing it down or letting the world know on Instagram or Snapchat that you’re doing the damn thing.

  7. Ask yourself why: Is it for weight loss? Hang up a bikini where you can see it. Is it for good health? Stick a post it note in the kitchen. Is it to stay sharp at work all day? Tell your co-workers why you’re laser focused. When you find out your why, and you may have to ask yourself multiple times (try 5 times!), and post it somewhere you can see. Write it down, with a pen on a piece of paper, and watch shit get real.

  8. Finally, the pep talk: Your self talk in the morning when you are all comfortable in bed is the most important part of changing your morning routine. You won’t always WANT to get out of bed early, but you will do it because you said you would. It helps to remind yourself what you gain from doing this, instead of focusing on what you lose, like sleep for example. For me, I gained more free time after work to draw, write or just chill. 

What else did I gain? I’ve been eating healthier and, most importantly, wanting to eat healthier. I have more energy throughout the day, meaning no need for that second cup of coffee to get me through the day. My body feels lighter and just overall good. I’ve been laser focused at work. I am not anxious about leaving work at a certain time to have to haul ass to the gym. I’ve been sleeping like a baby, naturally shutting down around 9:30/10pm so no need for melatonin or Sleepytime Tea. And, I’m happier. Just so damn proud of myself for making this change.

Believe me, this was not easy. Yes, my attitude while writing this is all good vibes but there were mornings when stabbing my eye with a fork seemed like a better option than waking up early. It was difficult but it’s been so damn worth it.

There is something about doing something for yourself first thing in the morning that sets the mood for the entire day. This probably goes without saying, but it is impossible to pour from an empty cup. Once you give to yourself wholeheartedly in the morning, you are ready to give to others.

Good luck.