Exercising in the morning has shown to be a very popular time to get in your daily fix of endorphins and sweat! Loads of uber successful actresses, writers and even Michelle Obama squeezes it in before breakfast!
When you combine these with outdoor exercise, which has been shown time and time again to boost – mood, wellbeing, immunity and more you have an amazing start to the day! The endorphin boost gets bigger the harder you work, so throw in some sprints and you’ll be flying through your morning. Research shows that the increased blood flow to the brain also improves your cognitive function, your mental clarity and ability to make decisions and work effectively.
Remember, running has been shown to increase all markers of fitness – from your VO2 max (an important marker when it comes to measuring the maximum oxygen you can use in a minute), how efficiently you move, to improving the size and strength of your heart and lungs whilst also increasing the blood flow to your body.
Do not forget that the LARGEST organ – your SKIN, also blood flow = rejuvenated/fresh/younger looking skin.
People always struggle to fit in exercise so a pre-work run can also tackle part of your commute too, get organised though and have everything you need at the office so you don’t have to drag a suitcase through the park! Being organised is key, this may seem like an extra stress or worry but this is far outweighed by the positives of the run so get planning and get running.
The key, I think, is to be pragmatic in your approach: don’t say “I’m going to run every morning”, pick two mornings and get organised for those, and then increase this up to four times over roughly six weeks if you can. Don’t bite off more than you can chew, keep it realistic! The best thing is to be consistent though so on at least one other morning, try walking to work or doing some yoga tot help stretch you out. This keeps your wake up time consistent which really helps your body clock!
WHAT TO EAT
Try running fasted – this increases fat metabolism and your body has more than enough energy to cope with up to two hours of running, so there no need to worry about lack of energy.
However a great breakfast would be: porridge, Bircher muesli, rye toast – these are all good carb sources which are very important, combine this with some natural or coconut yogurt and/or chia seeds with a few berries and you’re onto a winner.
WHAT TO WEAR
Invest in good trainers – not just bright colours but ones that actually feel comfortable – that’s the only marker of reducing injury, if they’re comfy then keep them. Change every 300-500 miles.
Get a good sports bra (I know nothing about this but it’s really important), that, combined with kit that you actually want to wear plus some earphones that stay in your ear! I like the iSport ones but there are loads out there. Lay out your kit for the next day so that you just have to open your eyes and get dressed, lots more chance of getting out the door if you do that!!
WHAT TO READ
Finally, one book that will inspire you is the book by Chris McDougall Born to Run. This is an incredible read and if you get past the first 50 pages you’re in for a treat. That and Run Fat Bitch Run by Ruth Field seems to be a favourite read among women!
Send us a pic of you out running and tag in @Freedom2Train for some tips and motivation!
G4AS TIPS: HOW TO START
- Make It Your Commute – The fresh air and adrenaline of running first thing in the morning will mean you are refreshed and ready when you get to work. Not to mention feeling the sunrise on your face. No more sluggish mornings for you.
- Warm Up – Safely first! Remember to stretch beforehand and run the first kilometre at a slower pace to ensure your muscles are warmed up nicely.
- Keep It Simple - Start slow, don’t put pressure on yourself to complete your running distance at first. Wake up early by setting your alarm and start with walking around the block first then build up slowly.
- Sort Your Food - Prepare your food the night before, if oats need soaking, or compile the ingredients for your smoothie in a small box in the fridge to save time in the morning. Also, experiment: what works for one person, may not work for another – try a slice of rye bread and peanut butter one day or half a banana another – you may find you run best on just a glass of water.
- Have the Right Kit - Don’t underestimate what a huge difference this makes. If it is hot you will be far more comfortable in sweat-wicking fabrics, if it is cold a fleece headband or running gloves are a must. Also laying your kit out the night before is a huge time saver: Trainers, socks, top, leggings, running jacket, music and earphones.
- Wake up At the Right Moment - Use an app like Sleep Cycle for iPhone or Sleep Time for Android which tracks your movements during your sleep and then wakes you up at the optimal time so you wake feeling refreshed and not woozy before your morning jog.
- Appreciate the View - It is still relatively quiet first thing in the morning, the traffic is slower and you’ll get to experience the beautiful sunrises that you otherwise may have missed.
Steve is the founder of outdoor fitness brand Freedom2Train (freedom2train.com) which encourages clients to train outside in the fresh air.
His brand Freedom2Train can now be found at Claridge’s where Steve is head personal trainer-in-residence: his trainers practice a combination of HIIT, MetCon, Tabata, yoga and Crossfit.
Main image: Fitness on Toast