Heading out for a run first thing in the morning is a great way to wake up your mind and get you energized for the day. Give yourself a thumbs up for setting your alarm and getting it done while much of the world snoozes, but be sure to avoid these common mistakes.
- Not setting your alarm early enough: If you set your alarm for 6 a.m., roll out of bed, slip on your sports bra and sneaks, and are out the door by 6:10, that doesn't leave any time for a quick snack. Since eating in the morning gives your body enough fuel to work out, improves your endurance, and can also jump-start your metabolism, make sure you allot enough time to eat a little something. Getting up 15 to 20 minutes earlier should do the trick. Aside from not exercising on an empty stomach, it'll also give your brain a little extra time to wake up, which can help prevent injury caused by stumbling.
- Not reaching for the water bottle: Besides food for fuel, you also need water to keep you hydrated. Definitely don't down half a gallon before you hit the gym because too much water can cause cramping, but make sure you sip a short glass of H2O first thing in the morning. Keep a water bottle on your nightstand so when your alarm goes off, you can sip it while sitting in bed.
- Skipping the warmup: Rolling out of bed, getting dressed, and grabbing a snack doesn't exactly do much to warm up your muscles. To avoid pulling a muscle or other injury, be sure to spend a solid five minutes (or longer) doing some brisk walking or another warmup before beginning your run.
- Heading straight to the shower afterward: Mornings are often rushed, but skipping the stretching session to save time will only hurt you in the end. Spend five to 10 minutes stretching your hips, hip flexors, hamstrings, abs, back, and shoulders, and it'll help prevent sore muscles and pain caused by tight muscles that can sideline you from running altogether. Here's a yoga sequence to target those tight areas.
- Not refueling soon enough: Eating after your workout is essential, too, so be sure to grab breakfast within 30 minutes. Enjoy a combo of protein needed for muscle recovery and growth as well as carbs to replace the energy you used up. Here are some high-protein breakfast ideas that contain at least 20 grams of protein.