It’s 5 AM. The alarm goes off, and the first thing that pops into your head is, “Ugh, I don’t want to run.” If this sounds like you, don’t worry—you’re not alone. There are ways to train for a marathon even if you’re not a morning person. With a little bit of creativity and effort, you can find a training schedule that works for you. Here are some tips to get you started.
Run when you can, not when you should
If you’re trying to stick to a strict schedule of running every morning at 5 am, then you’re setting yourself up for failure. If you’re not a morning person, then it’s going to be very hard to stick to that kind of schedule. Instead, try to run when you can. If you can only run at night after dinner, then do that. The important thing is that you’re getting your runs in, not necessarily when you’re doing them.
Make use of treadmills
If you just don’t like running in the cold and dark, a treadmill is a good option. It can help you be more consistent in your training, too, and not so dependent on weather.
Join a running club
If you find it hard to motivate yourself to run independently, consider joining a running club. There are usually clubs for all different skill levels, so you can find one that’s right for you. This can also be a great way to meet new people who share your love of running.
Know safety tips for running at night
The type of traffic is different at night than it can be in the morning, so you’ll need to consider how safe the route is and take more precautions. Map out a route that takes into account things like lighting, traffic, and safety. Here are a few more tips for running in the dark that can also be applied to running in the morning:
Wear reflective clothing and a light so that drivers can see you. If possible, avoid running at night on roads with no streetlights. If you must run on a dimly lit road, try to run against traffic so that drivers can see you coming.
Make sure you have some form of identification on you in case of an emergency. This can be a driver’s license, insurance card, or even a note with your name and contact information.
Tell someone your route
Before you head out for your run, let someone else know your route. This way, if something happens to you, they’ll know where to look for you.
Bring a phone
It’s always a good idea to bring your phone with you when you run, in case you need to call for help. If you don’t want to carry your phone, consider investing in a running watch with GPS tracking. This way, if you get lost or injured, someone will be able to find you.
Run with a friend
If at all possible, try to run with a friend. This way, you can keep an eye on each other and make sure that everyone is safe.
Be aware of your surroundings
Pay attention to your surroundings and be aware of any potential hazards. If you see something that makes you feel unsafe, trust your gut and avoid the area.
Find a night marathon
If you really don’t like to run in the morning, there are still quite a few night marathons to choose from like the Rock’n’Roll in Vegas or the Midnight Sun Marathon. You can find more night marathons on World Marathons or my favorite Running in the USA.
Embrace the dawn and learn to run in the morning
Face it, most marathons are in the morning, and for a good reason. The cooler temperatures make for ideal running conditions and when you finish there is still time to celebrate before hitting the sack. So if you’re not a morning person, you’re going to have to get used to running at dawn. But it’s not as bad as it sounds! There are some great benefits to running in the morning, like getting a boost of energy for the day ahead. Here are our tips on how to be a morning runner.
Start small and adjust to waking up
Set your alarm for 5 or 10 minutes earlier each day until you’re used to getting up at the time you need to in order to go for a run. Work towards a goal of getting up 30 minutes before you want to run. This may seem counterintuitive, but trust me, it works. That extra half hour of sleep isn’t worth it!
Lay out your running clothes the night before
This one is key for me. If my running clothes are already laid out and ready to go, I’m less likely to hit the snooze button and go back to sleep. I also find that it’s helpful to put my running shoes by the door so I’m reminded to put them on before heading out.
Get your sleep schedule on track
The first step to being a morning person is getting enough sleep. That means no more late nights binge-watching your latest Netflix addiction or staying up until 3 am scrolling through social media. Make sure you’re getting at least 8 hours of sleep a night, and aim to go to bed and wake up at around the same time every day. This will help train your body to get used to waking up early.
Set your alarm across the room
We all know the feeling of hitting snooze and then rolling over and falling back asleep. To avoid this, put your alarm clock or phone across the room from where you sleep so you have to physically get out of bed to turn it off. Once you’re up, you’re up!
Invest in a coffee maker with a timer
If morning coffee is essential before your run, you might want to prep your coffee the night before and set it to brew right before you wake up. That aroma and sound of coffee brewing always gets me up and out of bed! And you can’t let it get cold.
Create a morning playlist
Make a playlist of your favorite pump-up songs and set it to play as soon as your alarm goes off. The music will help wake you up and get you moving.
Get moving as soon as you wake up
Don’t lie in bed thinking about how much you hate mornings. Instead, as soon as your alarm goes off, get moving. Go for a quick walk around the block or do some gentle stretches in bed. Getting your body moving will help wake you up and get you ready for the day ahead.
Find a running partner or running club
Another great reason to run with friends—accountability. There’s nothing like having a buddy to help you stick to your training plan. Find a friend or family member who’s also interested in running a marathon and see if they’ll join you for some early morning runs.
After each run, give yourself a little treat like coffee or breakfast to help make getting up early worth it.
You got this!
Training for a marathon doesn’t have to be torture if you’re not a morning person. With a little bit of effort and creativity, you can find a training schedule that works for you. Just remember to start small, plan your attack, and be consistent. Good luck!