9 Ways to Have the Best Morning Run of Your Life

All those annoyingly chipper people posting on Facebook about their "epic morning run" must be on drugs morning people, right? Most of us can barely find the shampoo in the shower let alone polish off a five-miler. Busy schedules make breaking away for a workout impossible, and if we do, our workouts end up feeling rushed. Waking up early to have some time to yourself, before any demands of the day begin, can set you up for a calm, less stressful day. Plus, getting your workout out of the way means you won't have to worry about squeezing it in later. Here's the key to waking up and having an amazing run.

  1. Start the night before: To have an epic morning run, you need to plan ahead. Before going to bed, lay out all your gear including a matching pair of socks, your headphones, and your sunscreen. Get to bed early so you can clock in at least seven hours of sleep; you'll wake up feeling refreshed instead of like you got run over by a train.
  2. Nosh and sip: Getting up crazy-early can make your stomach feel a little sick, but it's still important to eat and drink a little something. Half a banana and a small glass of water will do the trick; enjoy them while you're getting ready.
  3. Warm up: Seriously. This is important before a workout at any time, but especially when you exercise first thing in the morning. Your body feels so tight and slow-moving that doing a few Sun Salutations to get your blood flowing, Circling Three-Legged Dogs to open tight hips, and this knee-in plank warmup to stretch the lower back and hamstrings will not only feel amazing, but it can also help prevent injury.
  4. Oh, this is new: Every morning is a new day and a good reason for a new route. It beats boredom, keeps things exciting, and also works your muscles and cardiovascular system differently. Run somewhere that inspires you: along the beach, on gorgeous farm country roads, or in the woods.
  5. Out and back: Keep things simple if your head tends to be foggy by doing an out-and-back run. This means running to a halfway point, turning around, and running home. That second half of the run is guaranteed to fly by since you know you're almost done and about to enjoy a shower and an amazing breakfast.
  6. Slow and steady: No need to start running eight-minute miles off the bat. Ease into your run by keeping a slower speed. As you feel your body and mind waking up, you'll naturally feel inspired to pick up the pace.
  7. Outside motivation: Use whatever you need to get you excited for your run. A new kick-ass playlist like this or listening to an audiobook can take your mind off the physical demands. You may even run an extra five minutes so you can listen to that one favorite song or that last exciting chapter.
  8. Misery loves company: Arrange for a friend to meet you at 6 a.m., and once the conversation starts going, you'll finish running a few miles without even realizing it.
  9. Nothing wrong with a little reward: You deserve more than a pat on the back for getting up while the birds are still snuggling in their nests. Knowing you have a little something special to look forward to when you get home like a new flavor of coffee or a tasty smoothie recipe is sure to put a smile on your beet-red face.