Getting started with a morning running routine can seem like an impossible hurdle. I remember how it felt when I first started out. I have learned a lot during these past 3 years of my journey as a runner, so here are three steps to follow to make sure you get up, get out the door and do the run you have been dreaming about!
Make all decisions the day before you plan to run!
1) Outfit: Decide what you will wear. Lay out your entire outfit before you go to bed. This means everything from socks to headband. Don’t just decide in your mind what you’ll wear and think you’ll go fumbling through the drawers the morning of your first run. Pull the clothes out of the drawer and lay them over a chair or somewhere visible when you open your eyes in the morning. Have your sneakers at the edge of your bed too so you practically trip over them as you wake up. If you plan to have any electronics (watch, iPod, heart rate monitor), charge them and keep them near your clothes as well.
You want everything sorted ahead of time so that when you wake-up there is no silly excuse that can delay you from getting out the door. You know your mind will look for any excuse possible. Don’t give it a chance to beat you down!
2) Decide where and how long you will run. Don’t feel you need to run 3 miles your first time running. Even if you’ve done it before. Start off with something attainable like 15 or 20 minutes. But make sure you decide before you go to sleep exactly where you will run (on the treadmill? around the block 3 times?) and for how long (15 minutes? 30 minutes? 10 minute walk and 10 minute run?). If you don’t decide before you go to sleep, it means there is a good chance you won’t do it in the a.m.! By settling your brain on what you plan to do the next day, it sort of stamps the notion in your head throughout your sleep cycle making it harder to not do it the next day.
3) a. Decide the wake-up time to set your alarm
b. When you’re tempted to settle for a snooze-fest, PAUSE! Before you smack that snooze button decide the night before that you will take 5 seconds to allow your ‘positive self’ to tell your nagging ‘negative self’ “The snooze will not take me to my goal. I will feel better once I’m up and out. Nothing about this snooze is going to make me feel better in five minutes like I will after my run.” I have never come home from a run (even the tough ones) and thought I should have just stayed in bed and snoozed away. This is the moment where you need to break that bad habit.
Breaking habits are hard and uncomfortable. You have to promise yourself to be consistent and disciplined. After a few weeks, the changed behavior starts to feel more acceptable and eventually it becomes a new, healthy habit. And you can’t imagine life any other way.