Lots of people want to run in the morning but have the same problem. The dreaded snooze button seems to always beat them, and they go back to bed with an unfinished run. I used to give in to my snooze button and failed to run in the morning but after implementing some simple techniques I now spring out of bed, defy the snooze button and run. In this article, I’ll be sharing top tips to beat the snooze button and run.
Why do people want to run in the morning, anyway?
There are tonnes of benefits to running in the morning, which drive people to run at this time.
Enhanced productivity – Morning runs enhance your productivity because it wakes you up and gets your momentum going. After a run, you feel charged and ready to go.
Kickstarting your metabolism – When you run, your metabolism speeds up significantly because your body requires more energy (calories) to perform the activity. This is why running helps you lose weight. The increased metabolic rate lasts during and even a few hours after the run. This means you burn more calories when you’re not even physically active. A fantastic reason to run first thing.
Building discipline – Some people run in the morning because they want to build discipline. Maybe they’re lacking motivation, drive and passion in life and feel they are coasting rather than taking ownership of their path. Overriding the biological impulse to take the easy way out and snooze builds tremendous discipline and crosses over to other areas of life such as business and relationships.
Time limitations – Some of us lead such busy and demanding lives that the only free time for running we have is first thing in the morning. Before work, family and relationship commitments take up all your time. People choose to wake up an hour or two earlier to get their run in whilst the day is young.
Peace and quiet – Some desire an early run for the silence. Modern day life is stressful with so many different things demanding our attention. Commuting, a career, relationships, social media, news, studying, meetings and so on, all command our attention and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Running when most people are still in bed is the perfect quiet time and you can mentally prepare for the day, think about life and appreciate the natural sounds. It’s a fantastic reason to run early.
Improved mood – One of my favourite reasons for running early, an improved mood is a definite benefit of running first thing. When you run, your brain releases feel good chemicals like endorphins and dopamine which make you feel happy. The happy mood lasts not only during the run, but after the run. You’ll be happier during the day and feel positive about taking on any challenges which might crop up.
Why is it bad to press the snooze button?
Though hitting the snooze button may feel good in the moment, you’re actually setting yourself up to feel tired for the day ahead. After you press the snooze button and lay in bed, all cosy, your body thinks it’s going back into sleep mode.
When you inevitably have to face reality and get out of bed a few minutes later, the body gets confused which results in the sleepy feeling you get when you’re not properly rested. When you hit snooze to go back to bed, your body releases a load of hormones and neurotransmitters for sleeping but when you wake up a few moments are these are released you feel exhausted. As we all know, this isn’t fun and leads to decreased productivity.
Moral of the story is don’t trust the snooze button. Sure, it’s friendly and inviting during the moment but pressing it is only setting you for failure. Snooze means reduced productivity and skipping your run.
Top tips to beating the snooze button and running
1. Get enough sleep
This may seem incredibly obvious, but you’d be surpised at how little sleep people actually get. When you’re sleep deprived (even slightly) it makes you feel especially tired when the alarm bell ring and less motivated to run.
In your already exhausted state, the snooze button is more enticing than running in the cold wind and you’re more likely to succumb to the comfort it can bring. Get enough sleep and beat the snooze button. When you do this, you have more energy to spring out of bed and run into the wonderful morning.
2. Lay your running gear out the night before
When we wake up with the snooze button in reach, the transition from bed to running needs to be as easy as possible. The more obstacles in the way, like having to get out of bed then spend ages looking for running gear, makes you more tempted to skip the run and opt for the snooze button.
Picture lying in bed after the alarm has gone off. You’re thinking about going for that run, when you suddenly remember your clothes have been pre-selected and laid out all neat. Ready for you to chuck on and go. Perfect! Less effort required and the transition from bed to running is as painless as possible.
The snooze button suddenly does not have as much dominion over you. To beat the snooze button and run in the morning, lay your clothes out the night before. Seriously, it helps.
3. Put the alarm clock away from your bed
This is a powerful tactic to help you beat the snooze button and run. Most people have their alarm clocks in comfortable, arms-length reach from their sleeping position. The result? Roll over, put your arm, press snooze and your good for another 5-10 minutes of sleep. Not an ideal situation. It’s dangerous to have your alarm close to your bed because it’s simply too easy to switch off snooze and not run.
Instead, place your alarm clock away from your bed so you physically have to get up. A shelf, under your bed, outside your door or even on an object. Anything to make you physically lift the covers up and for you to exit the bed. Once you’re out of bed, you’ve made the first small commitment to running. Now you’ve got momentum, you can easily place your clothes and shoes on, then head for the front door. Having to get out of bed really helps your morning running cause.
Personally, I have my alarm clock buried underneath my running clothes so I feel extra guilty if I think about snoozing. I know I should be running in the morning, not snoozing, and the alarm placed next to the clothes serves a powerful reminder.
4. Drink a pint of water right before bed
I do this right before I go to bed and it does wonders for me beating the snooze button and running. Drinking a full pint of water before bed means your body will not only stay hydrated during sleep, you will wake up to the alarm needing to go to the toilet. Even if you pressed snooze, you’re now awake and needing to go to the toilet. Eventually, the discomfort becomes too much and you opt to physically get out of bed, to the toilet. Now you’re up, it’s easier to get your running clothes on and run out the front door.
5. Have a powerful running-related reason to getting out of bed
Perhaps the most important tactic for springing out of bed and going for a run, make sure you have a powerful reason in place. Think, why do you want to be getting up early and running in the first place? To lose weight? To be happier? Do you want to have more energy? Are you looking for peace and quiet? Is there a time you have in mind for a marathon or half-marathon?
Whatever your situation, a powerful reason to run can make you passionate about lacing up and heading out the front door. A powerful reason is a difference between jumping out of bed, beating the snooze and heading out the door versus dragging yourself out of bed in a slump, before pressing snooze and going back to sleep. A strong reason for wanting to run early makes all the difference.
It helps if you have a goal in mind, write it down (on paper) and stick it on your wall or mirror. You will constantly be reminded of your goal every time you look at it, thus it will be imprinted in your mind and you will remember your goal when the alarm rings. Suddenly, you’ll be fired up and ready to spring out of bed to achieve the goal. The snooze button will be beaten and the morning run will become your best friend.
6. Have more than one alarm clock
Setting more than one alarm clock for the same time, say 6:00 AM, means you’re more likely to wake up. If you have a bell clock, a digital alarm and even a novelty alarm clock, all set for the same time then the combined volume of noise they make will be enough to wake you up properly.
Additionally, you have to spend more effort turning off more than one alarm clocks so you’re more likely to wake up for the morning run.
7. Get an ‘accountability partner’
If you live with somebody, ask them to be your ‘accountability’ partner. This will be somebody within your inner circle who keeps you in line when you fail to get up and run. It could be your spouse, your mum, dad, brother, roommate, or even the post person! Anybody to hold you in check.
Ask them to remind you of your promise every time you give in to the snooze button. When they do, you’ll feel guilty for not getting up and running. Remember, the accountability partner isn’t meant to be someone you shout at and get frustrated with when they hold you accountable. They’re somebody you should be thanking for helping you to be on top of your running game and getting up in the mornings!
8. Open your curtains before going to bed
Our bodies associate light sources with wakefulness. If you wake up to the alarm and there’s already bright daylight flooding into the room, your body prepares itself for waking up and releases hormones associated with wakefulness. If you wake in a bright, lit room, it’ll be less tempting to slip back under the covers and easier to get out of bed and into the running shoes.
9. Don’t use your mobile phone and read a book 30 minutes- 1 hour before sleep
More on light and bedtime, try not to use your mobile phone 30 minutes – 1 hour before bedtime. The light from the screen tricks your brain into thinking you’re going to be awake for longer than you intend to be, thus the body releases wakefulness hormones and you struggle to fall asleep. Try reading a book with a dimmed light before bed instead. Before you say ‘it’s 2019, nobody reads any more’ there’s plenty of interesting and engaging books out there so don’t give that excuse!
A few great pre-bedtime suggestions I have from my personal collection are:
9. Reward yourself after your morning run
Make sure you have a motivating reward in store after the run is complete. Everybody will have a different reward to motivate them. Make sure yours is sensible and does not cancel out the workout you have just done, like eating a a deluxe bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken. For example, I always reward my post-morning run with something I really enjoy. A black coffee. Sounds simple, right?
It doesn’t matter how simple a post-morning race reward is. The most important thing is that you are consciously acknowledging the fact you overcame the dreaded snooze button, put the shoes on and went for a morning run. Reward yourself, well done you. Next morning, you’ll be more motivated to run because you will associate getting out of bed with the reward. The snooze button will be beaten!
There we have it. Some of my favourite methods of beating the snooze button, and getting up for a run first thing. If you’ve enjoyed this article, be sure to share it with friends and subscribe to the blog for first dibs at new posts!