I may be a morning runner, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have days — weeks and months, even — when I wake up without an ounce of motivation in my body.
(Thanks for the glamour shot, Noah.)
We’ve all been there; not burnt out, exactly, but in need of a few moment’s rest perhaps. If you feel comfortable in taking them, then by all means, do it. Rest days and weeks can wind up fueling you in the future.
But for those who feel like pushing through, these 10 tips are meant to get you going on those especially icky, iffy mornings — like today, in New York City — when all you want is to pull the cover over your head and press snooze again, and again, and again.
1. Play keep-away. There is nothing worse than the sound of your alarm going off in the morning. Except, that is, when your phone is across the room and out of your reach. While annoying, it can help to at least get you up — even if you get back in.
2. Snooze away. I’m not typically one for the snooze button, since it’s one of the best ways to accidentally get suckered into another hour of sleep. But sometimes, climbing back into bed just feels oh so right. If that’s the case, set boundaries. Allow yourself a snooze or three, depending on how long the lag is in between.
3. Don’t rush it. On especially sleepy mornings, forcing yourself out the door can result in a lazy run. Give yourself extra time if you need it. Make coffee. Drink a glass of water. Eat a couple almonds. Just don’t turn on the TV! Doing so might help improve the quality of your run dramatically, even if it’s for a shorter length of time.
4. Cut it short, not out. On Tuesday morning, I could have slept forever. But after pressing snooze a couple of times and slowly crawling out of bed, I decided that I’d feel better about myself over the course of the day if I squeezed in even three or four miles. It didn’t have to be the five I had intended before going to sleep the night before. Remember, just because you have to cut your workout short doesn’t mean you should cut it out entirely.
5. Dress comfortably. There’s nothing worse than heading out for a run you’re already apprehensive about just to experience frozen fingers and numb toes. One of my biggest peeves? Loose hair ties. Don’t give yourself a reason to back out or complain when you’re online on mile one. Have a bit of foresight, and dress comfortably, warm (in winter), and intelligently.
6. Choose a new route. Any reader of my glittery blog knows how much I love the lower loop of Central Park. Even gummies, Malbec and, yes, dirty chai lattes get old though; favorites won’t always be favorites if you completely wear them out.
On Tuesday, I turned right out of my apartment almost instinctively — away from Central Park. I didn’t want the same old route; I needed a change, even if it was ever so slight. Tuesday’s run took me along the East River.
It was cloudy…
…and I was forced to run along the squished pathway where bikers and runners collide.
But it was different. And at times, change is all you need to inspire you to push on.
7. Listen to new music. If you don’t listen to music, try it. If you already do, maybe there’s a new set from a band you love or a Pandora station you can check out. Nothing dampens a solid run like an old, worn-out soundtrack, so you can imagine the damage it can do to an already sucky workout.
On Tuesday, I turned to an oldie but a goodie — Martin Solveig’s Radio Smash from 2011, the set which got me through the Manhattan Half Marathon just about this time last year.
8. Take pictures. Okay, I’ll admit that not everyone runs with their cell phones — nor should they. iPhones don’t exactly yield PRs.
But taking pictures, or simply focusing on scenery and the world around you, can be a great way to transfer the focus from your tired legs to your active eyes. If you prefer to run hands-free, simply observe.
9. Remind yourself why you’re out there in the first place. We can get so lost in the idea of breaking a sweat that we forget to remind ourselves why we set the alarm for the crack of dawn in the first place. Some do it for nature (I love the fresh air). Some like the sweat (it makes the rest of the day worthwhile). And some like to feel their heart racing only minutes after rising out of bed (well, maybe this one doesn’t apply to me; I’m pretty lazy).
Regardless, remind yourself why you’re doing what you do best. On Tuesday, as I ran northward on the East River promenade, I thought about how good I’d feel all of Tuesday.
10. Reward yourself. Physical rewards like new gear, special coffee drinks and ice cream sundaes are great. But I’ve actually found that giving myself a mental pat on the back can be just as satisfying too. As you walk back into your home, sweaty and glowing (who am I kidding; I’ve never “glowed”)…
…remember that you infused your life with miles of metaphorical positivity. And if that doesn’t work, there’s always Haagen Daz.
- What tips do you use to get going on those icky, iffy mornings?