How to become a morning runner
People often ask me… “How do you get up to run at 5am? I want to be a morning runner, but can’t get myself out of bed. What advice do you have for me?”
It’s tough, especially on dark, cold mornings, to get out of bed for an early morning run. I struggled with this for a long time, but here are the tricks that help me get out the door for a 5am or 5:30am run:
1. Wear running clothes to bed.
I really don’t like stumbling around my cold, dark bedroom at 4:30am, trying to look for my socks, sports bra, running shorts, long-sleeve tee, etc. I prefer to just wear these close to bed, like pajamas, so I save myself the time in the morning having to change. Plus, when I wear my compression socks to bed, I get some pretty interesting dreams. ;-)
2. Put your alarm clock outside your bedroom door.
I used to have my alarm next to my bed. However, it didn’t do much good, as I would just hit snooze button and go back to sleep. When I force myself to get up and turn it off, because it is outside the room (or on the other side of the room), it forces me to get up. I’m less tempted to stay under the warm covers, because I need to make that BEEEP, BEEEP, BEEEEEEEEP-ing noise stop.
3. Put a treat next to the alarm.
Yes, that’s right… if it works for dogs, it can work for you too. Put a cookie, fruit snacks, or a piece of chocolate next to the alarm, and ONLY allow yourself to eat it if you get up and going. This totally worked for me! After a few weeks of doing this consistently, I found it easier and easier to get up in the morning. Positive reinforcement, baby!
4. Meet up with a group, to hold yourself accountable.
Probably the biggest motivation to get up early and run has been joining my running club, Santa Barbara Running and Racing. We meet meets 3 mornings per week at 5:30 or 6am. Now I don’t want to miss workouts and geeking out with my running buddies!
5. Sleep in, so you have to do your run on the
I’m not going to lie… some days I miss my morning run, and have to run later that night on the dreaded treadmill. And every time that happens, every time I have to run on that mind-numbing machine, I am so bored out of my mind, that it gives me extra motivation to get myself up early and go running outside.
There you have it. My best advice for being coming a morning runner. These tips may not work for everyone, so I’d say the best thing to do is experiment with a few tricks, try them out consistently for a few weeks, and see what works best!
What gets you up on early mornings?
2012 Boston Marathon: Flashbacks
The summer heat is here, and every time I’m out on a run, I find myself having flashbacks to the 2012 Boston Marathon. Like many runners, it’s taken me some time to come to peace with what happened that day…Now, three months later, I’ve accepted that racing a marathon in the heat is not pretty. It is far from it.
Even in the most heart-breaking conditions, you can still make lasting, positive memories for yourself. This race had MANY lessons learned. If you find yourself racing a marathon in 80+ degree whether, here are a few of my recommendations based on this experience:
1. Stay hydrated, focused, and relaxed. Every water station stop for electrolyte drink (i.e., Gatorade), and water, and another cup to dump on yourself. Run through hoses, sprinklers, and hydrants. You need to cool down, so just do it.
2. Ice in the sports bra could help too. Pack ice. Seriously. This will cool you down so much. Go to your ice machine, and fill baggies with ice. You will put them in your sports bra, your hat, your shorts, believe me anywhere will fill good. Start your race with the ice, trust me, it won’t last long.
3. Thank each one of those volunteers and spectators helping you along. SO GRATEFUL for the Boston locals. They were all out w/hoses, ice buckets, water bottles, etc. Couldn’t have done it w/o them!
4. Know that days like this make you stronger. The heat was a real bummer, but grateful my husband and I walked away healthy (well… hobbled). :) It was brutal. Grateful my husband and I had no medical tent visits. Hope future races are in MUCH cooler temperatures!
5. Wear as little as decently possible. Before the race started I made the smart decision to ditch my racing bib, and race in my sports bra. Best. decision. ever. Wear a hat and sunglasses. I wore a hat, but forgot the sunglasses. I was straining the entire race.
6. Adjust your goal pace. 20 seconds slower BUT DON’T LOSE FOCUS. Use a mantra, choose something to focus on. Break down the miles into quarter or half miles. Do whatever it takes… play a game with yourself… ride out a few more miles at your goal pace. Don’t give up. I lost my concentration in the race, and thoroughly regret it. Tried hard to hold onto those 7:25-7:30s, but I kept slowing- losing my focus and concentration… I hung on the best I could, drinking at ever water stop, passing as many people as I could. Happy to finish with 3:23, a new PR (previous PR was 3:27), but really bummed it wasn’t a 3:15 day.
7. Have some cannoli in the North End, I beg you. Any time a record is broken, its time to celebrate. We had RECORD HEAT for marathon Monday - the hottest Boston Marathon ever! Jess ate a cannoli the night before the race, and ran a 3:12 PR. I opted to eat mine after the race, and I was ALL OVER those cannoli. Proof:
What was then biggest lesson I learned in the heat? Maintaining focus and concentration is a problem for me, especially in the heat. Looking back at my previous marathon races, I noticed that I’d hit these patches when my times would slow down. I really think that if it wasn’t for running the Boston Marathon in 80+ degree heat, I wouldn’t have learned that I need to find ways to stay in the game, especially in hot conditions!
——————————-The Nitty Gritty Race Details——————————
Here are my splits and thoughts I wrote down from that day:
1- 7:42 - “Oh, man it’s hot, are we all headed to a water slide?”
2- 7:44 - “Sweet, right on pace.”
3- 7:49 - “Oh no, four seconds off. It’ll be ok.”
4- 7:47 - “Oh no, I’m off again. Meh, at mile 5 I’ll really pick it up.”
5- 7:49 - “Alright time to pick it up.”
6- 7:40 - “We’re only 6 mi in?!!”
7- 7:23 - “Not bad. Loving these down hills.”
8- 7:33 - “Natick where are you?”
9- 7:29 - “Ugh. It’s getting hot.”
10- 7:30 - “Come on Jill, focus.”
11- 7:35 - “Uhhghh.. its so hot… spray me down!!”
12- 7:31 - “Where am I? Who are these girls screaming at me?”
13- 7:46 - “Halfway done yay!!”
14- 7:38 - “Hey that looks like Deanne! Maybe we can run together.”
15- 7:47 - “Oh no, quads don’t like these downhills.”
16- 7:35 “Getting dizzy. Need water dumped all over me.”
17- 7:54 - “Can’t wait to see Rusty.”
18- 7:48 - “Where’s Rusty?”
19- 7:41 - “Oh man it MUST be in the 90s. SPRINKLER TENT!!”
20- 7:42 “I think the asphalt is steaming. Have we hit Heartbreak hill yet?”
21- 7:55 - “Where the *** was Rusty!!??”
22- 7:31 - “Well, I guess heart break is over. I feel like I’m running in slow motion.”
23- 8:04 - “Oh my goodness. It is HOT. This is so not healthy.”
24- 8:02 - “When is this thing going to end!?”
25- 7:33 - “What the heck? A second wind? I’ll take it!”
26- 8:09 - “Yeah, that didn’t last long.”
.2- 6:35 -“Boylston, I love you.”
I also created a marathon highlight video to celebrate getting through that day!
9 Tips to Running the Race of Your Life
6. Know the last two miles before the finish… backwards and forwards. The last 2 miles, it felt harder and harder to keep the pace. Felt like vomiting, the lactic acid was setting in, I was t-i-r-e-d. I wanted to stop, and had no idea when the end was coming. I wished I had studied the course better, or walked the end of the course… I was so grateful for that 1:30 pacer… Just tried to stay ahead of the 1:30 pack. Gotta love those pacers!! I used my new mantra: “Suck it up buttercup.” :-) I was definitely tired, but my legs were fine.
We made our final turn for the home stretch, and I heard the 1:30 pacer say, “Almost there. You are going to break 1:30.” I couldn’t believe it, I was sort of in shock. I was gritting my teeth, hurting in pain, but didn’t want to miss breaking 1:30 because I gave up. I sucked it up, and picked it up for the last 300 meters or so. I turned the corner and sprinted to the end. I couldn’t believe it! 1:29:23!!
I saw Doug and started jumping up and down. He gave me a BIG HUG. Love that guy so much.
Four more lessons learned from this race:
5. Be patient with your threshold training. It will take time to build up, but enjoy it. It will pay off… I paced a marathon at 9min pace, and it brought me strength. Run 26.2 as a fun run leading up to your next race. You’ll be surprised how much fun you have, and how much it will help you improve.
6. Don’t eat beats the day before the race. I didn’t mention this part during the post, but we ate beats with our pasta the night before. I didn’t feel sick until after the race. I DEFINITELY don’t recommend it!
7. Run with a mantra. I’m surprised how well this worked for me. Focusing on one quote, saying, proverb, verse… it can really help you make it a reality. Tell yourself to “Suck it up, buttercup,” or “it wouldn’t be a marathon if it wasn’t hard.” Google them, pick one, and write it on your hand. You’ll be glad you did.
8. Run with music. If you haven’t done this yet, you really don’t know what you are missing. Every time a good song came on, I felt like dancing. Pick music that has a good rhythm, beat, and/or makes you want to dance. I normally feel distracted by the music, but it really helped me relax. When I wanted to slow my pace down, I told myself to just keep moving my legs to the beat of the song, and it really helped. Songs came on that I LOVE to dance to… it felt like a dance party out there!
9. Suck it up buttercup. You will feel tired, but for a half marathon… if you have been putting in your long miles, don’t worry about burning out. You’ll be fine, you won’t hit a wall… Or at least you won’t hit it until nearly the end, so you won’t have to run too long on tired legs.