Every runner has their preference for what time of day is best to run. Some love the morning, some prefer afternoons whilst others like to run in the evening after getting home from work.
Personally, I’ve always been more of a morning runner. I usually get up at 6:00 AM, run for at least 30 minutes, return home and then start my day charged and ready go to. I tried running in the evening, but I found I didn’t get the same feel-good buzz I got when I ran in the morning. I didn’t quite know why, but recently I heard something which made me understand…
David Goggins words of wisdom
I recently listened to a podcast with David Goggins, who said something which made me think about my morning running habits.
Who is David Goggins?
For those who don’t know, David Goggins is a former Navy SEAL and Ultramarathon runner who is often branded ‘the toughest man alive’. He is known for turning his life around by going from a 300-pound loser rodent exterminator to a hardened Navy seal in under a couple of years.
‘Run first thing and win the first battle of the day’
In the podcast, Goggins said every day of our lives we come across challenges and obstacles. Examples include a boss in a bad mood, moaning children, a difficult task at work, meetings to have, errands to run, the dog to walk and so on. he compared each of these challenges to a battle and let’s face it, He’s right.
Goggins said he starts each day by doing something he absolutely hates. That something is running. David said he gets up at about 4 in the morning, puts his running shoes on and heads out for at least 8 miles. Regardless of whether it’s raining, snowing or hotter than the desert.
Goggins said the reason he went for a run straight away, doing something uncomfortable or as he puts it ‘embracing the suck’, gives you the opportunity to immediately win your first battle of the day. When you return from your run, you will feel pride that you overcame the comfort-seeking voice in your head which begged you to hit the snooze and retreat under the soft duvet covers.
Why is running first thing so effective for the rest of the day?
The first battle of the day is won, and you now have momentum and confidence in yourself to overcome more obstacles and win more battles. Suddenly, the long commute to work doesn’t seem so inconvenient or studying for an exam isn’t such a difficult undertaking.
Why? Because you’ve already completed one challenge, already overcome one battle, already improved something that could be improved. You have a powerful reference source to draw on when you need the motivation to tackle the next challenge of the day.
Think of it like a snowball rolling downhill. Initially, the snowball needs a bit of a push to gather speed but when it gets the difficult part out of the way it picks up momentum and rolls freely and easily. You are the snowball and the morning run is the initial push to gain momentum. Starting the day off with a bang, a powerful running workout sets you up for success.
The dangers of comfort in the morning and skipping your run
Goggins said something which resonated with me on a personal level. He said when you purposely seek comfort and security when you know you should be doing something out of your comfort zone, you will feel guilty and like you’ve let yourself down.
The number of times I planned to go on an early morning run but skipped it for the snooze button and a nice & cosy bed was staggering. As Goggins said, I felt guilty. Like I let myself down. I felt down because I’d lost the first battle of the day and suddenly every other challenge seemed more difficult. Because I failed the first task, was led to believe I would fail the next task and the next day.
When I allowed myself to lie in bed rather than developing my fitness by running, I denied developing my fitness and my mental toughness. Though the bed felt nice and comfy in the moment, I felt guilty about it all day. On the flip side, whenever I got up and did go for the run I felt 10 times better throughout the day than on mornings where I blew the run out due to laziness and lack of willpower.
Easy for Goggins to say and do. He must be superhuman, right?
Wrong. The reason I find David Goggins so inspiring is that he often says he is nothing special. He is an ordinary human being, like you and I. He hasn’t been blessed with any academic, physical or mental skills. Goggins simply set the standard of running each morning before doing anything else and he would not back down on it for any reason whatsoever. Not because of the weather, how tired, hungry or unmotivated he was.
Surely then, we can all take a leaf from his book and run in the morning before doing anything else. I’m not saying this is a magic pill to correct everything in your life but it certainly helps you build momentum to have a successful day. Personally, I notice a difference in my mood and achievement once I’ve been for my morning run first thing.
Why not give it a try? As David Goggins said, run first thing and win the first battle of the day. It helps you improve the quality of your life drastically. I’m not dictating to you but merely offering it as a suggestion. Give it a go and see how you get on.
If you need more convincing on becoming a morning runner, check out the following post: