Back in March, I signed up to run a half-marathon; partly out of a desire to challenge myself, mostly on a whim.
As the October race day looms closer, the amount of time I need to dedicate to running has ramped up. I quickly realised that if I wanted to adequately train for my race and maintain any sort of social life, I needed to make morning workouts a habit.
Heading to the gym or lacing up for a run isn’t always what I want to do first thing in the morning — especially in the heat of August — so I took a cue from my Business Insider colleague, Libby Kane, and found several ways to trick myself into getting up early to work out.
I can’t guarantee that they will work for you, but here are eight ways I motivate myself to get out of bed and break a sweat.
I make getting up early a routine -- even if I don't go to the gym
The combination of getting up before the sun and having to push through a tough workout is daunting. So I made getting up early routine. On days I don't have gym plans, I still try to wake up at the same time and meet friends for breakfast, enjoy quiet mornings at home, or even head into work early. Since I'm already used to rising early, it's one less obstacle to face on mornings that call for a workout.
I tell myself I only have to run one mile
The mental block of how hard my workout will be often discourages me from getting up. If I'm dreading running hills or finishing a difficult spin class, I'm more likely to hit snooze and 'accidentally' run out of time to complete it. So I tell myself I only have to make it one mile -- a 10-minute workout, tops. Once I'm up and actually exercising, I rarely stop after only a mile, but telling myself I'm allowed to does the trick to get me started.
I incentivise myself with good music
If I find a new (or new-to-me) song that fits in with the weird, curated mix of emo, hip-hop, and bubblegum pop that motivates me to run, I download it to my exercise playlist and only let myself listen to it there. The prospect of new music gives me something to look forward to while I work out -- especially if I know it's the only place I can finally hear the song I've had stuck in my head for two days.
I make workouts non-negotiable by signing up for races
On race day, I'm committed to running 13.1 miles -- whether I'm prepared to or not. I'm not super competitive, but signing up for races forces me to train. And if I want to have any kind of social life after work, that training needs to happen in the morning. The tangibility of an end goal coupled with the possibility of failure proves more than enough to get me out of bed and into my running shoes.
I sign up for early classes
Being the person who rolls in 15 minutes late to spin class isn't a good look on anybody. It's disruptive and disrespectful to the instructor. If I sign up for a class that starts at 7 a.m., I make damn sure I'm there right at 7 a.m.
I have friends keep me accountable
Nothing's more shameful than having to tell a friend who asks about your workout that you, well, didn't quite make it this morning. Before bed, I tell my roommates that I'm getting up to run the next morning or I ask a friend to text me and ask how it went. Even if they don't follow up (or don't care), I've already mentally committed myself.
I remind myself how great I'll feel for the rest of the day
Think of how amazing you'll feel afterward! You'll be so energised! You'll have accomplished so much by 8 a.m.! Repeating positive mantras -- or smug reminders of how virtuous and disciplined I'm pretending to be -- changes my attitude toward hitting the gym. Instead of thinking of it as a difficult and painful activity, I see it as something fun and productive.
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