If you’ve ever started your day off with a run, you know how satisfyingly energized you feel when you’re finished. Working out first thing in the morning can set you up for a healthy and productive day. To stay safe and get the most out of your early morning run, make sure you warm up and eat a nutritious breakfast before you begin.
Early morning is one of the most beneficial times to exercise, says Bodybuilding.com. You may feel a bit groggy as you drag yourself out of bed, but once you eat a nutritional breakfast and are fully awake, the early morning is when you have the best mental focus. Working out in the morning will also kick-start your metabolism, increasing the rate you burn calories throughout the whole day. Starting your day with a run may energize you and help you make healthier choices for the rest of the day.
Warm-Up Exercises Before Run
Before you begin your run, perform warm-up exercises. Warming up prepares your body for exercise by increasing your heart rate, breathing rate and blood flow. To warm up before a run, walk for five to 10 minutes before slowly increasing your speed to a run. This loosens your muscles and prepares your leg muscles for the actions they will be performing during your run. If you’ll be incorporating speed training into your run, warm up for 20 to 40 minutes, according to Runner’s World. Walk for two minutes, jog for 15 to 20 minutes and then do some form drills like lunges, high-knees running and skipping. These drills will loosen and activate your muscles.
Nutrition Before Run
Proper nutrition is essential to having a good run. You want to eat filling but healthy meals before your morning workout so that you don’t lose fuel in the middle of your workout. Ideally, you should eat a carb-filled meal 90 minutes before your run. However, if you’re running in the early morning and don’t have time to eat an entire meal, eat a healthy granola bar or a banana. If you’re planning on running for more than an hour, a great starting meal would be peanut butter and banana on whole wheat bread. It’s also important to be properly hydrated before you begin your run. Drink 8 ounces of water about 15 minutes before your workout, and try to consume more water every mile throughout your run.
Stretching can prevent injury, increase your range of motion and improve your overall athletic performance. After your warmup, you should stretch the muscles in your legs, including your hamstrings, quadriceps and calves. Hold each stretch for 20 to 30 seconds. If you want to add some movement to your stretching routine, try doing tai chi or yoga. Stretching should never be painful, so make sure you stop immediately if you experience any pain.
Danielle Clark has been a writer since 2009, specializing in environmental and health and fitness topics. She has contributed to magazines and several online publications. Clark holds a Bachelor of Science in ecology and environmental science.