When it's cold and dark outside and warm in bed, it can be the extremely hard to get up, put on your running shoes and go out for a run before work. If you have a packed schedule and many responsibilities, sometimes this is the only time you have for yourself. It takes time to make running a habit, but with a good system in place, you'll develop the discipline to make running as habitual as brushing your teeth.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Things you need
- Alarm clock
- Running buddy
- Low-calorie reward
Do not consume alcoholic or caffeinated beverages the night before your run, as studies show that both interfere with deep sleep. Try warm milk or chamomile tea and make sure you get a full eight hours of sleep before that alarm clock rings, or it will feel impossible to get out of bed.
Set a really loud, obnoxious, battery-operated alarm clock for 15 minutes before the run to allow for time to dress and drink some water. Put the alarm clock far away from your bed. Once you've got up to turn the alarm off, do not get back into bed. If you lack discipline, set another clock somewhere else for five minutes after the first.
Find a super-motivated friend or neighbour who will run with you. In the first two weeks of this new routine, it's very important that this person be completely reliable. Arrange it so that they come to your house and knock until you get up and go.
Enlist your dog. The best kind of running buddy is a hyper, at least 1-year-old puppy. Check with your vet first to see if your dog's breed can handle running distances. If there's a wet nose in your armpit, chances are you will get up.
Before the run, deny yourself a cup of coffee or tea. This will be hard the first few days and the run will be more difficult, but soon your body will adapt. You will crave the endorphins your body releases on the run to wake up instead of the caffeine. Reward yourself with a great cup of coffee or tea afterward, or, if you don't drink caffeine, a smoothie or fresh squeezed juice. Keep the reward healthy, though.
Tips and warnings
- Don't get discouraged by the difficulty of the first week. If you can make it through, the next week will be easy.
- Layer your clothing so you can shed layers when your body heats up from exercise.
- Always wear proper running shoes to avoid injury.
- Wear reflective clothing if it's still dark when you begin.
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