Morning running: The advantages and rewards of rising early
As the old saying ‘the early bird catches the worm’ goes, there are many advantages to starting your day early. Research has shown that rising early eliminates rush (moreover stress) and boosts productivity.
Though hauling yourself out of your duvet to go for a run first thing in the morning, may not sound particularly appetising, it can be incredibly motivating and rewarding, once you get your body used to getting up and moving.
The choice is yours. That extra 20 minutes in bed? Or a dose of endorphins to start your day off right?
Why not change up your daily routine, give exercising in the morning a try and see if you like it!
Here to provide you with a little extra encouragement and motivation, are keen morning runners within the Run4It team, Gayle, Mandy and Chiara, who tell us what they love about morning runs, to help you get up and out the door.
Start your day on a high
Mandy, Gayle and Chiara will all agree on this: running or working out in the morning makes you feel alive. It will fill you up with positive energy for the whole day! Whether it’s urban running, trail running or gym-going, the feelings and the emotions are the same.
Gayle, Run4It Visual Merchandiser ~
I love the feeling of getting home to a sleepy house after a great run or gym class knowing what I’ve already achieved that day. Whether it be a 3 mile or 10 mile run it always feels good. The motivation for me is definitely knowing that I’ve made the time available for me to do my class or run that day regardless of how early it is, as if I’m training for something then I’m always committed to my training plan!
I definitely love a sunrise and enjoy starting out in the dark and watching it get lighter as I progress through my run. I especially love watching the sunrise from the Forth Road Bridge!
Mandy, Run4It Bridge of Allan Shop Manager ~
I love the quietness and the views. Nothing can beat a good sunrise and the great feeling at night that your session for the day is done. I mainly train on the hills, so waking up early also means that you get the hills to yourself.
Chiara, Run4It Edinburgh Maybury Shop Manager ~
I am definitely a morning person! I am good to go as soon as I open my eyes in the morning. I love the feeling of climbing a hill while it’s still dark and look down at all the people that are still asleep in the city. I love being rewarded by the sunrise, and feeling my senses are aware of the beauty of nature around me.
Also, I like getting my run done early so I can spend the rest of the day concentrating on other things of life and the evening stretching and relaxing.
Make happy memories
There are moments you’ll always keep a mental picture of. You can witness some spectacular and stunning scenery on a morning run. Moreover, if you have a running buddy, sharing a morning run can become chat-filled, joyful and treasured part of your week.
My best memory of a morning run definitely has to be when I was training for my ultra marathon. I was up at 5:30am on a Saturday for breakfast to start running by 6am for an 18 mile run. It was nice to start on a crisp fresh morning running on quiet streets and finish just in time for my family making a start on the day so this training didn’t totally affect my family life. For me this is important as weekends are for family time, but my running is just as important to me as it’s “my time” so it’s a win win to squeeze it in early!
My best memory of a morning run is a run up Ben Ledi. It is the highest mountain in the Trossachs and stands at 980 metres. We beat the sun to the top: snow was on the neighbouring mountains and it was like a dream! The breakfast at 7am in Callander was pretty special too.
I have a lot of memories of stunning morning runs during my long distance races. However, one of my best morning training memories is the day I decided to run an ultra on a Sunday morning before work. I set out at 5 am and finished at 9.30 am. It was January and I did the ‘7 Hills of Edinburgh’ by running to the top of the hill and back from a point I had chosen in the middle of the city. It was great fun! There was snow and the moon was still up. It gave me a high for the rest of the day.
Take time for yourself
Running or training in the morning is about the time you take for yourself. There’s so much we can do before work or before starting the day. Rise and shine!
I would train early mornings approximately 6-6:30am due to the demands of a busy family life. If I’m going to be running in the dark at night then I feel I’m better running in the dark in the morning as I’ll see the sunrise and I definitely have more energy in the morning. Summer morning runs are the best as it’s always a great start to the day listening to the birds and (if I’m out early enough) watching the sunrise.
I’m usually out at 6am because my energy levels are higher. I work full time and have kids so lots to do! It is great to get training in before bringing the kids to school and going to work at 9am. This is less pressure for the end of the day knowing that the training is done and that I’ve already had time for myself.
An early morning run is perfect to get the day started. It makes me feel alive and energised. Most of the time I am out at 6 or 6.30 am. I love it as I feel privileged to have all the trails to myself, and be on the move while everyone else is still asleep. Before taking up training for specific events, I used to go out running at sunrise – I simply love it! However, this means it could be at 9am in the winter but also at 3.30-4am in the summer in Scotland!
Diversify your training
The extra motivation to exercise in the morning could be to try
something new. There’s maybe a gym class you always wanted to attend? Or sport
you’ve always fancied taking up? Take the leap and go for it!
I would regularly run anywhere from a fast 5k, interval sessions, hill reps or 10k runs. I also attend a strength and conditioning class called Rock Your Body Fitness in South Queensferry where it can be boxercise, kettle bells, circuits and weighted training sessions geared towards my goals. These 6am classes are well attended by women like me training prior to their children waking up and before the rush of the day!
I do most of my train on the hills/mountains. My morning routine is usually an 8 mile run from Monday to Friday. I add a 20-30mile run on a Sunday, as I’m presently training for a race in the Alps and an ultra later in the year.
I do training sessions of different intensities throughout the week. It keeps things interesting! On a Monday or a Tuesday, I could be doing intervals or a tempo run in the Meadows. Project Awesome on a Wednesday which is a free weekly group workout every Wednesday at 6.30am at Calton Hill). On a Thursday at 6.30 am, I could be doing a sprint session up and down the steps of the Royal Mile in Edinburgh or hill reps. On a Sunday morning, there is nothing better than getting the long run done first thing before enjoying a good coffee or starting at work in the Maybury shop.
What to eat before a morning run?
Once you’ve made a decision to run in the morning, this is the first question that pops into mind. Whilst there’s no one-size-fits-all answer, read our What to eat before a morning run? article next for some easy-to-digest options and sound advice from nutritionist Hannah.