Preparing for a Morning Workout

As an avid runner, I like to work out first thing in the morning before the sun gets too hot. Of course, that also means I have to wake up at a certain time so I can squeeze my workout in before heading to the office.

Too often, I’d find myself running behind, waking up late, or feeling too sluggish when starting my day.

There are two major challenges you encounter when you don’t prepare for your morning workout. Sometimes, you cut your warm-up routine short and don’t stretch your muscles enough before exerting them. They can tighten or cramp, which means possible problems during or after your run. It’s also easy to lose energy midway through your workout if you don’t take the time to prepare, which can delay you reaching your fitness goals.

But you can overcome the problem with a little more efficiency in your preparation. Following are some tips from top fitness coaches like Diana Fitts, who help motivate people to reach their fitness goals:

Prepare your gear the night before.

Do you spend a lot of time fishing for that pair of workout shorts you love, or untangling your headphones, or even downloading the podcast you want to listen to on your run? Instead of wasting precious morning time doing unnecessary tasks, try setting your clothes out the night before, so they are all in one place, along with your earbuds and running shoes. Download your podcasts and set up your tracking apps so that you reduce the amount of time spent on electronic prep.

Set your alarm five minutes later.

Instead of setting it earlier and hitting the snooze button, this is an effective way to get you moving in the morning. Waking up late means you are hurrying to get ready, which not only pumps your adrenaline but also encourages you to get moving.

Fuel up and hydrate.

Too often, we don’t prepare our bodies enough for a run. Drink plenty of water before you head out, and consider adding an electrolyte packet for the minerals your body loses through sweat. And instead of going on an empty stomach, try eating some fruit – like a banana that is rich in potassium and has sugar and carbs to keep you going. Sports gels are helpful too, and keep your body energized past the first couple of miles.

Stretch and work your abs.

Many runners have problems with their knees, but really, the issue stems from tight hips. To ensure that you don’t injure yourself in the long run, it’s good to stretch at least a few minutes before and after a run, especially your hips and glutes. It’s also a good idea to get your abdomen muscles ignited before a run. When you rely more on your abdominal muscles, it takes the pressure off your joints, which makes your workout more effective.

For those of you who workout where it can get cold, which makes working outs more difficult, you you may want to try out an online fitness service that you can use in the comfort of your home or join a popular gym.