Eat, sleep, run, repeat.
It may sound like a simple formula, but there's so much more that goes into maintaining a healthy balance between everyday life, work and fitness goals. While you can likely squeeze out a few runs a week on minimal sleep, not only is this not feasible long-term, but it can lead to an increased risk of injury and potential burn out.
But let's face it, mornings before a run are tough no matter how rested you are. Give yourself every advantage by preparing as best you can the night before; this will maximize how late you can sleep in and will help you feel more prepared, recovered and not as rushed once the alarm goes off.
It's a win-win.
From laying out your running clothes to filling up your bottles, here are nine things all runners should do before bed to streamline their mornings before a run.
Prep Your Coffee Maker
Mmmm, coffee! Go through the ritual of grinding your beans, filling the coffee maker with water, adding the filter, etc. the night before, and set the timer to go off 30 minutes before you're planning to wake up. While your alarm won't be pleasant, waking up to the smell of a fresh pot of coffee will help you ease into your morning routine. Better yet, by drinking it early, you'll have time to prime your system and take care of "business" before you head out the door.
Check the Weather
The whole "rain or shine" adage is highly overrated in our opinion. Running in inclement weather can increase your risk of getting sick, and running in seriously bad weather can leave you stranded in a sometimes-dangerous situation. Check the weather before bed, and if it's not looking good, figure out a Plan B in case you wake up and it's still not ideal.
Lay out Running Clothes
After you've looked at the forecast and know what to expect weather-wise, pick out your running gear to match those conditions, and set it out before you go to bed. For example, if it's going to be hot, a singlet and running shorts will likely do the trick, or if it's windy and cold, opt instead for a light windbreaker and tights. If you're expecting a particularly early morning, some runners will sleep in their workout clothes for one less step to worry about once the alarm goes off.
Charge Your Devices
No matter if you run with your phone or with a GPS watch, be sure to plug them in the night before so they're fully charged and ready to go in the morning. This also includes charging things like your Bluetooth headphones or any visibility devices you might run with, too.
Fill up Bottles
Don't let the morning roll around before you realize you haven't filled the Brita and your favorite bottle is in the dishwasher. Make sure you fill your bottles the night before, and feel free to mix in any electrolytes, too. If you're expecting a hot run, leave your bottles in the fridge to chill overnight, and give them a good shake in the morning if there's any undissolved powder in the bottom of the bottle.
Roll and Stretch
A foam roller is a runner's best friend. By creating a regular habit of foam rolling and stretching before bed, you'll not only unwind and relax, but you'll also promote a healthy range of motion while combatting the effects of your previous training efforts. Pair this with a good night's rest, and you'll wake up feeling refreshed, recovered and ready for your run.
While you might be inclined to scroll through Instagram or watch Netflix while foam rolling and stretching, it's better to avoid screens for at least an hour before trying to catch some shuteye. Opt instead for a favorite podcast or audiobook, or if you've already finished your routine pick up a real book instead.
Check in With Your Training Partners Some running groups have a Google Calendar invite or a meetup app of some kind where you can look for updates and say if you'll be attending. If that's the case, check where and when to meet and confirm you'll be there. If you're running with a friend or two, give them a call or text and figure out the details—this will save you an early wakeup if they aren't going to be around.
What is the purpose of the morning's workout? How does this workout help you reach your running goals? What do you love about running? Running is hard and can test your motivation over time, so by taking a couple minutes and asking yourself some introspective questions before bed (or as you lie in bed), you'll keep your training in focus while fostering the love for the sport. Remembering why you're doing what you're doing and what attracted you to running to begin with will help justify the early mornings and hard efforts.