Running in the Dark: How to Get Yourself Up and Moving

Finding time to run with a busy work schedule can be difficult for all of us. If you’re like me, running in the morning is your best option, but early morning runs bring challenges like waking up early and staying safe in the dark. Below are five helpful tips I follow when running before the sun rises.

Have an Incentive to Wake Up Early
Set an alarm in your kitchen or that will go off five minutes after the alarm in your room. This way you’ll have to get out of bed and be downstairs in time to turn the kitchen alarm off before it wakes your family or roommates. Nobody likes to deal with a cranky housemate and you do not want to be the cause of their grumpiness at 5 am.

Gain Quality Shut Eye
The only surefire way to make waking up easier is to get enough sleep. Plan on going to bed earlier throughout the week. After several days your body’s biological clock will adjust to the time change and you won’t have trouble falling asleep which will make waking up easier day by day. Don’t bring your computer of phone into your bed. Electronics stimulate your brain and senses making it more difficult to fall asleep. Instead, find a good book or even a semi-boring book, read a chapter or two and drift into a sweet slumber.

Whether it’s coffee or an early morning snack you need to get you going, have everything ready the night before. Prepare your coffee ahead of time or set your coffee maker’s timer so your cup of Joe is ready when you awake. Doing this will give you enough time to drink it before your run and allow you a few more minutes to wake up. Don’t forget to grab an apple, banana or protein bar before you head out. You need to fill your stomach with more than just caffeine.

Be Seen and Be Safe
Always wear a headlamp and reflective clothing while running in the dark. White, orange and yellow clothes are most likely to be seen by drivers in the early darkness. Plan your route beforehand, and make sure to run on well-lit streets. If you’re running on trails, bring a buddy with you. It’s safer not to run alone!

Even if it seems like a hassle, bring your phone on every run. You never know who or what you may encounter. Plus, if you are running late or won’t be home by the time you anticipated, you can call your housemates or family to let them know you’re okay.
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