Whether I'm in the middle of marathon training or just running in the so-called "off-season," there's one thing all my workouts have in common: they're completed first thing in the morning. Getting your runs done before work is the No. 1 tip I give any new runners seeking advice on how to get started. My motivation levels are the highest they'll be in the mornings and I know that they're only going to wane as the day goes on (particularly in the evenings, when all I want to do is eat dinner and lounge on the couch watching TV). Not only that, but no matter what time of day I exercise, it kick-starts my energy levels, so it makes much more sense to have it be the first activity of the day rather than the last. Here are five more reasons mornings are where it's at when it comes to pounding the pavement.
It sets the stage for a more productive day.
For me, one of the best parts about running first thing in the morning is that it awakens the mind in addition to the body. While running, I can go over all of the things I need to do that day (or week) and can find myself ready to tackle it rather than stressing myself over it if I were thinking about in in bed after a late evening workout.
It allows me to see the sunrise.
How can this not put you in a good mood before you have to go to work? Depending on where you live, the time of year, and the length of your workdays, the morning hours can be the only time that you see the sun. Getting a taste of the sunrise can do wonders for your mood, especially if you've managed to get high on some endorphins in the process.
The crowds are perfect.
Safety is always a top priority, and in my personal experience, I've found that there are more people out and about in the early morning hours, which gives me more peace of mind, especially if the sun hasn't totally come out yet. Dealing with a wave of angry drivers all fighting to get home in the evenings is also a surefire way to send your heart rate up, and not in a good way.
It allows you to enjoy your evening plans (or make spontaneous ones) guilt-free.
I don't know about you, but I've had many a friend show up to postwork happy hour swearing that she's going to get her workout in later that night. Personally, I don't think I could ever make that happen. What fun is it to have that looming over your head, regardless of whether you get it done or not?
You'll beat the worst of the Summer heat.
Eighty degrees with 100 percent humidity is typical for my Summer morning runs here in Houston, and it is often admittedly miserable. But the temperatures rise pretty quickly, and before I know it, it's in the 90s and lasting well into the evening hours. With some strategic planning (choosing shaded routes and carrying a frozen mini water bottle), a morning run can be much more tolerable than the alternative.