Getting a Sweat in Before the Sun Rises

Hope the first half of your week has been great so far!

My alarm was set for 6am yesterday morning, as I had 7 miles to fit in before work. I had an event after work, so it was either get up early and run or miss the workout. I followed the same routine this morning, but ran 6 miles easy.


Just a pretty drone pic of our New England fall last month! @imnotquitejack :)

To be honest, I am not a morning person. I’m not a night owl either- I just love my sleep!. Getting a workout in before work is something I only do as necessary. I am working on making it a permanent habit though!

There are a million tips out there to help facilitate exercise before work, and here are a few tips that have worked for me:

  1. The night before a run, I mentally decide that the run will happen– that I have no other choice. If I fall asleep to this thought, I will usually wake up with the same exact thought.
  2. I place my alarm clock away across the room so it is harder to snooze!
  3. I get my entire running outfit ready and lay it out before bed. This includes all of my gear, including: layers of clothing- down to my socks, as well as my keys, phone, headphones, ipod, Garmin, etc. Much easier to have the items ready to go instead of scrambling in the morning! I also check the weather the night before so that I am prepared with the best clothing.
  4. I drink a glass of water when I wake up, and try to eat something before I head out. I usually opt for a banana and a handful of my favorite trail mix from Whole Foods, Hodgepodge Harvest. If I am running longer than an hour, I will take GU or other fuel along with me. If I am feeling hungry in the morning, I may eat a small bowl of oatmeal. I try to do this before I stretch to allow for some time to digest!
  5. I do some light stretching—always with a foam roller and some basic quad, hamstring, and calf dynamic stretches (as opposed to static stretches). Dynamic stretching is a good way to warm up the muscles and extend the range of motion of your muscles, as opposed to passive/static stretching. Several different drills, forward lunges, squats (two legs and single leg), bending down and touching the toes with repeats are just some of the dynamic stretches that are part of my routine. Stretching post-run is even more important than pre-run. I make it a habit of foam rolling post run, and can feel my muscles ache if I don’t foam roll.
  6. Just thinking about how good it will feel to get this run in before my day starts/how I won’t have to worry about fitting it in later, will inspire me to get out the door.
  7. Recruiting a running buddy has helped me get those miles in before work. It is harder to coordinate, but definitely worth it if you can make it work.
  8. Lastly, I try to get to bed early! I feel that once you get in the habit of working out before work, you will get into the early bedtime routine and your entire day will shift a bit. Life will be easier once this routine is set!

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Any other tips and tricks you have for running or workout in to start the day?

Do you prefer running in the morning or evening?



    1. That’s a good tip– I didn’t add coffee in there since I try to get out and go as soon as possible, but I think coffee is a great addition to a morning workout. I always have coffee before a race!


  1. I prefer running in the morning, but that doesn’t mean I don’t finf it difficult. I just can’t decide what’s worse: having to wake up early to run and get it in and risk being late, or having to do it after a long day of work and risk not being able to sleep because the body temp. is too high.
    Rationally, I love running in the morning: it get’s the run done before anything else, I have the afternoon free, I’m relaxed the rest of the day and my metabolism has a jump-start. I also have a legit excuse to shower before work (usually I shower in the evening, but lately I’ll feel weird if I don’t shower in the morning after sleeping).
    Your tips are all good. I would maybe add that for me, the extra cup of coffee after the run (or other, small reward) is motivating! I also make sure I have all the work I need to do for the next day done, so that I don’t feel guilty for going running when I should be working.

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  2. I would rather run in the evening; ideally 4 hours before sunset. My body seem perfect at that point. I do my long runs though early in the Mornings on Saturdays because normally run out of time later in the day dealing with kids and honey do’s – Sundays were my only rest days until my doctor, yesterday, demanded that I do and least a active rest day every 4th day.

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  3. I prefer running in the morning but since I am already up by 3:30am there is no way I can get up an earlier during the week to get a run in! I save my long morning runs for the weekend and do my shorter runs during the week after work or early evenings!


      1. I am training for my first full marathon in May! So my “official” training doesn’t begin until January. For now, I am just trying to maintain some weekly miles as the temperatures begin to drop.


          1. Thanks! It’s the NJ Marathon! It’s local to me so I already know a lot of the course and it’s pretty flat. Definitely a plus!


  4. I’m going to try some of these tips tomorrow- even though, as you know, I am not a good weekday morning workout person. However, I miss running under the sun and since the since is setting at 4 when I am still at my desk, it looks like the only way I can (during the week) go running when it is light outside is to do it in the morning. I am trying to use the sun as motivation… I’ll let you know how it goes.


    1. I agree that it is so hard to get up early and work out, but I am finding that once you do it for a week it becomes more of a habit! It’s hard for night-owls, as you have to adjust your entire schedule to head to bed early and rise early. Try it for a few days and see if anything sticks! Good luck :)


  5. I prefer morning runs. Well, to be honest, I prefer sleeping, but I still get my butt out of bed early for a run. If I can just get going, I’m happy I decided to get up early. I feel so good after a run. I started out with evening runs then trained myself to run mornings. One thing that works for me is to get up at the same time every day whether I’m running or not. Also, I have an alarm clock app on my phone that gradually lights up a few minutes before the alarm. Simulating a sunrise. This way I don’t wake up in the dark and it makes it a bit easier to get up. It helps!

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    1. That is a great idea to stimulate a sunrise! My alarm is my phone, so I will have to check if there is an app for that :) Also think the idea of getting up at the same time each day regardless of whether you work out is great! Good luck!


  6. Hi Jane! Look at this funny situation. I passed by your blog after a comment on Aliontherun. I read your last post and saw that it is the same post I did on Sunday talking about runing early in the morning, things that work for me and how Im trying to make it a habit. (I’ve done it all November so far💪) Anyways, I kept reading and saw that you are running the Paris Marathon too!!!! So… Here is a new reader!!!! But I’m aiming for a PR in Paris! (Anything will be a PR-hopefully-, it is my second full lol)


      1. Hi!!!! I haven’t! I start the first week of December (so exciting!) this Sat I’ll do a half marathon at Griffith Park where I trained all October and November building a strength and a good base. Madness begins on December!!! 😁

        Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m self employed now so I have a bit more wiggle room. I really used to enjoy working out in the evening, so there wasn’t much talking myself into it. Mornings though? A whole other story. I used to just tell my flatmates and colleagues that I was running in the next day to give me some accountability!


  7. I love that you mentally decide to run before you go to sleep. That’s probably the hardest thing to overcome – actually getting out there in the morning.
    A running partner can really make a difference but can be so hard to organize and sync schedules.

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  8. There’s no way I have time to run before work (I can pick my schedule, but have to be in by 9, all my coworkers are in at 7:30, and I have a half hour drive to town) so I’m usually an evening or lunch runner. Since races are in the morning though, I run Saturday mornings during training. Definitely have to lay out my outfit the night before! And so many people recommend moving your alarm across the room, but I can’t believe I’m the only person who can sleep through an alarm if it isn’t by my head! :)

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  9. Fitting in a run as part of your commute is a good way to get a good workout done before the working day starts.

    Also, if driving you tend to miss the traffic if you leave early doors so you end up gaining more time anyway.

    Running first thing at the weekend means workouts don’t affect my family life too which is cracking.

    Agree with your pointers on not wimping out of an early run:

    Set the alarm and tell your brain you’re running. No ifs or uncertainties.

    I leave my running gear at the bottom of the stairs so I can literally fall into them.

    I use my warm up to wake myself up. I actually leave the house still asleep.

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  10. Beautiful post! I like both mornings and evenings – in summer, it’s just too hot to run after 8 am, or before 8 pm when things cool off again. In winter, it’s entirely weather-dependent, as there are only country roads here, no sidewalks, so if it’s too icy or slippery, it’s just too dangerous. Also, the days are short! I like the way running in the morning makes me feel for the rest of the day – but I run better in the evening.


  11. Jane, your tip about just mentally drilling into yourself that the run will happen in the morning is so true. When my alarm rings at 6:20am and I’m so convinced to just snooze, my mind tells me “Just do it.” And those three words are so powerful. I just do it. I just run.

    Thanks for the inspiring post!


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