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The Afternoon Runner’s Guide to Becoming a Morning Runner

I am an afternoon runner at heart. I always have been. But almost every summer, as the temperatures rise, I make a pseudo-commitment to try running in the morning in order to escape the heat. Except my heart has never really been in it. And after waking up early to escape a few unbearably hot days, I’d inevitably switch right back.

Afternoon runs, I just can’t quit you.

Or at least that’s what I thought. Because honestly — no matter how hot it was or tired I felt in the afternoon, running was more appealing because (wait for my pridefulness here): I could run faster. Plain and simple. Who needs slow-and-sluggish-barely-awake morning runs when you could fly in the afternoon?

But, my friends, I think I’ve finally found the secret. A perfect storm of events that have made me finally give up my afternoon runs for good. …or at least while there’s still light in the morning. And today I’m here to share my “expert” advice with all of you.

So all you afternoon runners who just can’t get yourself up in the mornings, take heart. If you follow my simple advice, you too should be able to call yourself a morning runner in no time.

How to Become a Morning Runner in 4 Simple Steps

AM run

In no particular order…

1.) Start your switch in the summer.

Obvious, but vital to success. Only crazy people get up at the crack of dawn when it’s dark and freezing out. Winter time is for afternoon runs. Summer is for escaping the heat.

2.) Accept a job that gives you a significant commute in the morning. And set a work schedule that requires you to leave the house before 7:00 am.

How is this conducive to morning runs, you ask? It’s not. But it is good practice for waking up early. After a few weeks of this super fun schedule, work with your supervisor to push your hours back just a bit, giving yourself one extra hour before you leave the house in the morning.

Now? Set your alarm for the same time (okay…maybe a little earlier). When it goes off – get out of bed! You’re already used to getting up early, and you tell yourself you’re not allowed to go into work late unless you run. Plus, it doesn’t matter how early it is — you’ll quickly realize that spending 40 minutes to an hour on the roads in a groggy, half-awake state is way more appealing than spending an hour in the car in the same condition. Probably safer for everyone around you too.

3.) Prepare yourself a breakfast of champions. Something that sits well in your stomach but gives you energy to make it through your run when you’d rather be sleeping.

Such as a small piece of toast with cream cheese and raisins on top. I know, I know…peanut butter is supposed to be the fuel of champions but I’m telling you all — cream cheese is where it’s at. Especially on toast. And especially when you add raisins.*

Cheese for breakfast, lunch and dinner

*Don’t worry…I would’ve thought this combination was disgusting a few months ago too. 

And last, but certainly not least…

4.) Get knocked up.

DSC 0452And prepare to get bigger from “here” to “here”

This is the crucial step here, ladies (gentlemen, I’m sorry…I don’t have an equivalent step for ya). For several reasons. First of all, speed is no longer an issue. Since pregnancy and speed are not friends, you no longer have to worry about running slower in the morning. You run slow all the time! So embrace it. And secondly, prolonged exposure to heat and dehydration isn’t too great for anyone. But word on the street is that it’s especially bad for growing babies. Which means that if you want to run and escape the summer heat, you basically have no choice.


This formula has proven so successful that I’m probably going to start marketing it. All I need is a catchy name. So set that alarm, roll out of bed, lace up your shoes and hit the road. And consider yourself lucky that you heard the secrets here first.


**Results not guaranteed postpartum

22 Responses to The Afternoon Runner’s Guide to Becoming a Morning Runner

  1. Ha, great advice! Don’t think I’ll be taking the “get knocked up one” anytime soon, but it’s nice to look forward to less pressure runs ;).

    I used to be a morning runner, then I took like a month break from that and now I am struggling to get back in the hang of it. I think I snoozed my alarm clock for two hours this morning. It was out of control. I did make myself run TO work to make up for my general slothness, so I guess that’s a tiny win. It’s just TOO HOT right now to run anytime after 9am.
    Logan @ Mountains and Miles´s last post ..Drowning on Air

  2. OMG that cheese gif! I like running in the evening because I am so much faster too. I don’t like waking up and immediately going running so I’ll do any hard runs in the evening and long runs and easy stuff in the morning when thinking is less important.
    Shannon @ Mon Amour´s last post ..A Welcome Reminder to Take Care of My Body

    • Same. I’m always much better if I give myself some time to wake up first. I still don’t love the feeling of being half asleep during my runs now, but at least I’m getting used to it. And it helps that I’m not really doing any hard or long runs these days :)

  3. Haha. I was always a morning runner – I started running when I lived in Hawaii and worked full-time, so I had no choice but to run at 5 AM because it was 80+ degrees year-round. Now that I am super pregnant, I can’t seem to get moving that early – so exercise is happening for me these days after 7 PM! It works out rather well though because I can just end my run/walks at the burrito joint by my house. Win! :)
    Christen´s last post ..RWP – 34 Weeks

  4. Yes! Converted! Rumor has it that once you go early, you will never go back! :)
    Corey´s last post ..The Best of Atlanta

  5. Haha, love it. Great advice, but I’m sticking with afternoons. I hear item #4 can have longterm effects. 😛
    EB @ Running on E´s last post ..Goal setting: Marathon Goals

  6. Love it! You are too cute :-) I’ve always been a crack of dawn-er so I admire those runners that kill it in the evenings, I’m usually on the couch after work with a glass of wine. 😉
    Chels R.´s last post ..Confidence Booster and Mexiquinoa.

  7. Ahhh sweetie two things:

    #1 – you will be thankful you are adjusted to those early morning run’s once baby comes along and you need those moments of peace between cleaning mashed peas off your wall, table, face, etc. and listening to a child scream for hours (I don’t know how anyone can cry that long but they do).
    #2 – your hands are in the wrong spot in that last picture, by the end of pregnancy they will go from your chin to the ground, nothing is immune on a woman’s body from the total devastation that occurs from pregnancy and it will never go back to the pre-pregnancy state again.
    #3 – it will all be worth it when you look at that sweet beautiful child.
    Jamie´s last post ..Meal Plan Monday

    • Excellent point about adjusting to morning runs. And you’re right — hands are totally in the wrong spot, ha! Although I’d like to think that just my midsection will grow, I’ve already noticed my butt and hips expanding. I’m sure the rest of my body will soon follow.

  8. I love this post! I desperately need to switch gears to being a morning runner. I’m not going to take up the fourth step (!!!!), but thanks for this. I’m at least relieved to know I’m not the only one who struggles!
    Brennan´s last post ..Lust

  9. I absolutely hate to run later in the day and have always been a morning runner…but this was really amusing….and I’m glad you’ve come over to the dark side :)
    Beth @ RUNNING around my kitchen´s last post ..Running outside vs the treadmill

  10. So, I’m a HUGE morning worker outer, so my opinion is kind of invalid here, buuuut: caffeine. Pre-run coffee or cherry limeade nuun.
    LizScott´s last post ..Yes, I Really Do Need Three Line Items Telling Me To Get The Mail

    • I used to depend on coffee before morning runs, but I haven’t been able to drink it since becoming pregnant. It sucks (yes, I know, my life is so hard…wahh). But I do have some caffeinated nuun or a little iced tea on mornings that I’m really struggling. The only good thing about my coffee aversion is that my tolerance for caffeine is much lower now, so a little bit gives a nice jolt!

  11. i’m just the opposite – faster in the AM (well, used to be!) and slower once the afternoon hits. asking me to run in the evening is equivalent to stabbing my eyes with a pencil.

    but this week it’s even too hot in the AM! ugh, the dreaded treadmill is making an appearance. the treadmill is reserved for snow and ice!

    stay hydrated and cool!
    kristy´s last post ..exercise, heart rate, and pregnancy

    • I really need to get myself access to a treadmill. We haven’t joined a gym in our new town yet and I was trying to hold out until winter. But this heat has made running really tough (if not impossible some days)….I may cave sooner than planned.

  12. Loe this! I’ definitely significantly slower in the mornings due to depleted energy stores. If I have time to wake up eat and digest before running then I’m fine, but who has time for that on a weekday morning?! Unfortunately I have to run before work because I generally have no idea what time I’m going to be home, and more often than not it’s too late to run :( Luckily I’ve just moved to 3.5 miles from the office now, so it’s the perfect run commute! Gentle and slow (and uphill. urgh) on the way in, tempo on the way home!

  13. Haha, I am the worst at morning running… One of my tips for morning running? Become a coach and make practices in the morning and run with your athletes! I make my high schoolers meet in the morning during the summer so I get my run done then too and I am done with practice for the day, it’s a win-win!
    Jenn´s last post ..Patience is a Virtue

  14. Hmm, I don’t know if this is going to work for me…
    Kelly´s last post ..Training Week: July 8-21

  15. I enjoyed reading this blog post

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