Have you ever stopped and thought about your morning ritual before a long training run? What does it ACTUALLY consist of? For many, it’s built up of a snooze button, another snooze button, a quick bite to eat, followed by a manhunt in the attempt to locate the right clothes and shoes, all while dashing out the door to begin running feeling both overwhelmed and rushed. Sound familiar? But, fortunately when you discover the power of a morning routine, and commit to making it non-negotiable, your morning run will change quickly ultimately leading to a training run of much higher quality.
The bottom line is this- you need to take control of your mornings or most likely the mornings will take control of you. Here’s the good news – there’s an easy way to put more energy into your morning run by putting a morning routine in place. Would you rather have a slow and sluggish start or one of high energy, focus, and control? If your answer is the latter then you’ve came to the right place! So, without further ado, here are 10 steps to supercharge your morning long run.
1. Alarm Setting Strategy
Did you know that 57% of people in the US admit to using the snooze button? It’s tempting to clock out for those few extra hours of sleep on the weekend especially when deciding from a sleepy, near unconscious half asleep mindset. So, what’s the trick for waking up promptly on the morning of a training run? Easy. Set your alarm and place it somewhere across the room. Whether that is your phone or clock, this small yet effective process will force the issue and have your body up out of bed before your mind even knows what hit it.
2. Brush Those Teeth
I know what your thinking- this step is a given. Why wouldn’t I brush my teeth before a run? But, you’d be surprised at the number of people who tend to forget this daily ritual before a run with my self included. So, once you’re out of bed and have shut off the alarm, go straight to the bathroom and brush those teeth. This will provide an immediate sense of rejuvenation and create a higher level of awareness for the morning run.
3. Water Is Life
We literally have trillions of cells inside our body. So, it makes sense that the quality of our life comes directly from the quality of our cells. With that being said, the question becomes this: What do cells need to be able to survive and thrive? Yes, you guessed it, WATER. Well, water as well as oxygen and the ability to eliminate waste. But, WATER is the most abundant substance in our body and we need to rehydrate after a long night of loosing water through breathing. Therefore, be sure to head on over to the kitchen for a glass of water. Drink it all and drink it fast. Dehydration can create exhaustion within the body, so, it’s imperative to consume water first thing in the morning when preparing for your run ahead.
4. Cold Water Blast
Looking for the ultimate wake up call? Jump in the shower and turn on the freezing cold water! Try to hang in there for at least 10 seconds and then jump out. The cold shower treatment is known for being more effective than the alarm clock and morning rooster combined. If you were tired before the cold shower, chances are your energy levels have sky rocketed. In addition to feeling alert, cold water stimulates blood flow ultimately preparing the body for exercise. Furthermore, studies show that cold water triggers many mood-boosting neurotransmitters that ultimately make us feel better. Positive thoughts will in turn create a more positive running experience. Not to mention you are pushing yourself to perform against the minds better judgement. Sound familiar? Isn’t this similar to pushing our selves in running? Forcing yourself to GO when the mind tells you to STOP. If we take control of our mind than we take control of our run, period.
5. Preparation Is Key
Most elite runners will tell you this: Lay out everything the night prior including your shoes, clothes, etc. having them ready to go. When we lay out EVERYTHING we tend to remember EVERYTHING. On the other hand, when you grab everything the morning of, it’s common to forget multiple items, which can lead to completely forgetting something of importance. Ever leave your gels behind or forget to apply an anti-chafing product? I’ve forgotten my credit card on a 30-mile run and found myself on all fours drinking out of someone’s front lawn sprinkler. Preparation is the key to a successful training run and ultimately a successful race day experience.
6. Eat Don’t Feast
Breakfast is served! Eat whatever causes you to feel most energized but keep it light. We all know our own body, so, eat what ever will increase performance level and that doesn’t make you feel heavy. Personally, I fast before every training run and race. I only drink 1 cup of water and sometimes a coffee or tea depending on the day and the length of my run. Over time I’ve trained my body to metabolize fat most efficiently. The body’s true potential energy is amazing. If you want to learn more on this, check out my post on creating a high fat runner lifestyle. This way of eating can benefit every runner at every level and once your burning fat more efficiently you will feel like a brand new person and the benefits go well beyond running. But for most runners, sugar and carbs are the go to, so, eat something that digests quickly and get moving even quicker.
7. Breathe Walk Breathe
Yes, breathe in and breathe out and not in the meditative way, although morning mediation is an incredible practice for keeping the mind in the present during long runs. Deep breathing has many benefits, it detoxifies, relaxes the mind, and it improves posture just to name a few. Also, it strengthens the heart, the lungs, and the immune system not to mention the positive effects it has on our nervous system. But, for the sake of this discussion, deep breathing has been proven to boost energy levels and improve stamina. Mix that with how it can relieve unwanted tension and you’re on a direct path to one incredibly vibrant run. So, what’s that pattern of breathing? The most popular is the 3:2 ratio with inhaling on three strides and then, exhaling on two strides.
Did you know that most adults only use 2/3rds of their lung capacity? The key is to breathe deep into your abdomen, not just your chest. If you’re a parent, then, you may have noticed your child breathing in a similar fashion. If you look closely you’ll see their stomach rise with each breath. Breathing through the abdominal is our natural form and promotes the use of our lungs at full capacity. Continue this breathing exercise for 5-10 minutes while walking and you are just about ready to begin your Run.
8. Gratitude Motivation
Hold on… before pushing on that gas pedal let’s take a quick minute to remind ourselves of how fortunate we are. No matter what health issues you face TODAY you have the strength to run in THIS MOMENT. Appreciate your health, your strength, and the people in your life. Appreciate your drive, your determination, and your persistence for training. For life, for love, and for whatever else you can think of. When you’re in a state of pure gratification you can ONLY feel great and that’s the difference between a decent run to one of astronomical proportions.
9. Music Is Motivation
If you enjoy music make sure you have a playlist that moves you. Music can be magical in a way, let the right word hit at the right note while catching your emotions at the right moment and feel a burst of explosive energy immerse from within as you take down even the toughest of terrain. In addition, if you’re playing music from your mobile phone, then, consider listening to a motivational YOUTUBE video. You can literally type “motivational speeches” in the search bar followed by “workout music” and I think you’ll be surprised at what you find. The morning is the absolute best time for a dose of motivation. What you absorb first thing in the morning sets the standard for your whole day, all beginning with your supercharged morning training ru
10. Run Baby Run!
Now that you’re awake, ready, and in a great state of mind, it’s now time to run. So, Run baby Run! Get those feet moving forward starting at a slow pace while gradually increasing speed. Once you catch that groove, CONGRATULATIONS, you are now in control. Take your run to whatever the level you wish taking advantage of your newfound energy and with your mind hungry for the mileage to come.
So, there you have it, 10 steps to a morning routine that will supercharge your long run. There’re many circumstances that can hurt our run, however, we do not have to be victims of those circumstances. By putting a process in place we take control of our morning that gives us control of our run. Remember this, we expand by demand, so, when we feel at our worse we must push ourselves at our best. Here is where opportunity for growth is found. So push through that morning routine, make it a habit, and watch your weekend long run transform into an epic voyage.
REMEMBER … take control of your mornings!
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