woman running in the morning before work

Learning how to start running in the morning is no easy feat.

Take it from someone who is NOT a morning person.

I may actually be the most anti-morning person there is. Once, in middle school, my mom literally grabbed me by the ankles to pull me out of bed.

Which is why I know that these tips work. Because seriously – if I can do it, so can you.

Some hacks are more helpful than others, though. These 7 tips are the things that will actually work to get you out of bed and out the door for a run.

So without further ado, here’s how to become a morning runner before work.

Please note: Check with your physician before starting any exercise routine or starting any particular diet. See this Disclaimer for more details. This post may contain affiliate links. For details, please visit my Disclosure page. Thank you!

How to Start Running in the Morning Before Work

1. Go to bed earlier

I know, I know. It’s such a boring tip.

But most would-be morning exercisers fail because of their nighttime routine.

Whatever your reason for wanting to be a morning runner – to get it out of the way, to start your day off productive, because it’s the only time you have – it won’t be sustainable if you don’t get enough sleep.

I don’t know about you, but I learned what true sleep deprivation was like back in college – and I don’t ever want to go back.

So aim for a bedtime that allows at least 7-9 hours of solid sleep.

And if you now need to get up earlier to run, work your bedtime forward gradually.

2. Stretch before you go

It wasn’t that long ago that I didn’t stretch at all before running, including morning runs.

But WOW does it make a difference.

When you wake up, your body is stiff. Exercise is the last thing your muscles want to do.

So do your body a favor and perform some dynamic stretches before you head out the door. Here are some I recommend to my running clients:

  • Walking high knees
  • Walking butt kicks
  • Heel walks
  • Walking calf raises
  • Cherry pickers/toe swipes
  • Side-to-side wall leg swings
  • Reverse lunge to side bend
  • Dynamic chest stretch
  • Arm circles

Perform each for 20-30 seconds.

Not only will your body feel so much better as you start running the morning, you’ll also decrease your risk of injuries.

3. Have something to look forward to afterwards

My best motivation tip is to have something fun waiting for you at home.

I discovered how well this worked in high school, when I was training for the fall cross country season over the summer. I LOVED the show The Fresh Prince of Bell Aire, which was on at 9am each morning (back before Netflix became huge).

This meant that if I didn’t get up at 8am and complete my run in time, I wouldn’t get to watch my show.

It was excellent motivation.

Since TV scheduling is a thing of the past for many, instead schedule 25 minutes to watch an episode of your favorite show and slowly enjoy your morning coffee. Or something else that you look forward to. But ONLY do this on days you complete your run before work.

Bonus tip: you can also listen to a podcast or audiobook you’re excited about while ON your run. If you make it a rule to exclusively listen to it while running, you’ll have extra motivation to get up.

4. Run somewhere peaceful

When I first began working from home, I looked forward to my runs themselves because of my running location.

I lived in an area surrounded by other apartments and even a nice outlet mall. Each morning that I went out running, I had other people around me getting ready for their day. Something about the steadily brightening sky and the people on their way to Starbucks was just so dang relaxing and inspiring.

When I moved, I didn’t have quite as nice a location for morning runs. So I would drive 5 minutes down the road to a nice residential area and run there most days.

The main things I liked about these 2 locations were that they felt safe, were aesthetically pleasing, and had some fellow morning-risers around.

These characteristics allow you to relax and just enjoy your morning run.

5. Start with small running goals

If you want to start running first thing in the morning, it’s best to start with small goals.

Whether you’ve been running for a long time or are new to the scene, you likely won’t feel 100% during these foreign AM runs.

You may regress a little bit, and that’s okay.

Start by getting the hang of it with shorter runs, such as 20 minutes max in the beginning. Once out – if you feel good and have time – you can always go for longer.

You can also start with walk/run intervals at first and gradually transition to solely running.

These smaller running goals are perfect for teaching both your body AND your mind how to run in the morning before work. Realistic and attainable goals set you up for success.

6. Go with a running buddy

Personally, I like solitude on my morning run.

But there’s honestly no better way to get your butt out of bed than by having someone else depending on you.

Take the workplace, for example. There are so many mornings when we’d rather sleep in or just not go altogether, but someone is depending on you to be there. May be a manager, coworkers, clients, patients, customers, or just yourself (why helloooo there, Friday paycheck), but whoever it is, you get your booty up and hop to it.

By meeting someone for a morning run before work, you create that same accountability.

7. Write out a morning run routine

I’m a big list person, so I LIVE by this tip.

If you’re the kind of person to wander around your home in a sleepy morning daze, taking hours to get ready, then you need a plan!

Write out all the steps you need to complete, from rolling out of bed to stepping out the door. For me, they look like this:

  • Get up
  • Take a few sips of water
  • Change into running clothes (which I’ve laid out the night before)
  • Do bathroom things: put in contacts, brush teeth, put hair up
  • Put on socks and shoes
  • Do 3-5 minutes of dynamic warm-up stretches
  • Grab keys, phone, and AirPods
  • Out the door!

It doesn’t take much since I’ll be showering as soon as I get back. I also don’t recommend eating before a morning run unless you’re going for an hour or longer – which for most of us is not the case.

Writing out a little morning run routine takes seconds but can make you feel so much more organized in the morning.

How to Start Running in the Morning

With a bit of effort and dedication, you can teach your body how to start running in the morning before work. Our bodies are incredible and do adapt, so stick with it. You’ve got this!

Are you using running for weight loss? Then I recommend reading this post next:

Running for Weight Loss: 3 Catastrophic Mistakes to Avoid

(It reveals 3 mistakes you MUST avoid to see progress and prevent injury.)