Wake up and run – your guide to early morning workouts!

September 04 2015

The alarm rings – it’s 5:00am and you can barely drag your arm out of the covers to hit the snooze button. The thought of a run at this unearthly hour is nauseating, but if you can manage it the benefits are plentiful, both to your running and your health. You will be more alert, energised and have evenings back to yourself because let’s face it, who wants to go for a run after a hard day at work? Here are some tips from Luke at fitness, lifestyle and money saving blog This Guy Can to help you get up in the morning and tackle that run!

kitPreparation

They say victory lies in preparation and here is no different. Having your gear out and ready the night before makes it a lot easier to get up and go in the morning. I have been known to sleep in my running gear on the odd occasion ready for the next morning! Try and get an early night to make sure you feel refreshed in the morning, if you aren't used to getting up early phase it in getting up 15 minutes earlier each time until it's more comfortable.


Turn on the lights

Being exposed to light is the best way to wake up the body, and it's why it's so much easier to get up in the summer as opposed to the winter. Flick on the lights or open the curtains to let the light in. This is more effective if you can gradually increase the intensity of the light, either via a dimmer switch or only partially opening the curtains at first.

fruit

Eat before or not?

You should be fine to exercise moderately for up to an hour without having to eat something beforehand, although you shouldn't push it too much. Ensure you eat well the night before and make sure your meal contains some slow release carbohydrates such as brown rice or pasta.

Remember that everyone is a little different; you may find that having something small like a banana before you run is helpful for you, or you may dislike it. Personally, I prefer to leave the eating until after.


salmon

Make it happen

Whether it's by promising a buddy at the gym to be their training partner or telling your partner you'll treat them to dinner if you don't keep to your regime, we’re much more likely to attend if we know that by not doing so we maybe letting someone else down or hurting our bank balance. I often find friendly wagers with my family and friends work best for me!


coffeesTreat yourself

Occasional treats are not a bad thing. If you have something nice to look forward to after your run you're much more likely to go out and do it. I find that the promise of a nice coffee on my way into work or a little breakfast treat always helps with my motivation. It's not about depriving yourself from the stuff you enjoy, just utilising it as a motivational tool and of course, enjoying it in moderation.


shake

Refuelling whilst you exercise

By refuelling whilst you exercise you can aid your recovery. For sessions less than an hour you should occasionally sip on a sports drink as this has been shown to enhance performance, just don't overdo it as this could be detrimental. If your session lasts over an hour you will need to take on more carbohydrates, this could be through a mixture of sports drinks and small snacks such as a banana.

Perhaps most importantly listen to your body, there isn't a one size fits all approach as there are so many different variables!

Refuelling your recovery

Contrary to popular belief you don't need to refuel the second you finish exercising. Though refuelling does occur fastest in the first hour, it actually occurs for several hours afterwards albeit at a slower rate. As long as you have a steady intake of carbs throughout the day, your muscles can refuel within 24 hours. If you have a full day to recover from your exercise or you've had an 'easy' workout, there is no need to obsess with refuelling immediately after.

Although it's tempting and convenient don't just grab a pure protein bar after your workout, whilst it will fill you up and help repair your muscles it won't refuel them. It's like restoring a classic motor and leaving a banged up engine inside. If you do want to have a protein bar/shake add some carbs with your intake. e.g. banana, brown rice or grapes.

I used to be someone who would pretty much down a sports drink after a workout. You hear various companies boasting about the electrolytes their sport drinks contain (these help enhance fluid retention and the restoration of normal fluid balance) to help recovery however quite often 'real foods' have a higher electrolyte level than these. Something like chocolate milk or orange juice is fantastic as a recovery drink. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with sports drinks, they are just more effective during extended exercise rather than after, as they are dilute.

Do you struggle to get out of bed and run in the morning? What tricks have you used to try and overcome this?