Many of us vow to fit in our run first thing so that – no matter what happens in our day – nothing will be able to derail our training session. However, when the alarm clock goes off, it’s pitch black outside and all you want to do is snuggle back under the covers for another hour, making this a reality is a very different story. To ensure you don’t have to miss out on your training, we’ve teamed up with Lisa Artis, spokesperson for The Sleep Council, to give you 10 top tips to stop you reaching for the snooze button…
Shift your usual morning duties forward to the night before, such as making packed lunches, packing school bags and organising your work gear, to ensure you have plenty of time for your training session. Lay out your workout gear too to ensure minimal effort when your alarm goes off.
“Natural light makes you feel more awake and signals your internal body clock to stop making melatonin,” says Artis. Many runners swear by Lumie lamps, which create a simulated sunrise that prompts your body to reduce the production of sleep hormones such as melatonin, while increasing the levels of hormones such as cortisol that help you feel energised.
Sleep Cycle is a free app for Android or Apple phones that’s billed as an ‘intelligent alarm clock’. You place your phone in your bed and the app analyses your sleep and wakes you in the lightest sleep phase, which is like waking up naturally.
Nutritionist Anita Bean suggests drinking a glass of beetroot juice on waking as it contains nitrates that dilate blood vessels and increase blood flow and oxygen to your brain and muscles; improving mental and physical performance.
“If you press the snooze button, your brain knows it’ll go off again,” says Artis. “You won’t get any of the deep, resting slumber you need in between snoozes. Set your alarm for when you definitely have to get up. If you have a hard time not pressing the snooze button, try putting your alarm across the room so you have to walk over there, waking you up in the process.”
If there’s any stimulant to get you out of bed it’s the thought of a hot cup of tea. “Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant,” explains Bean, helping to boost concentration and alertness.
Your daughter has a play date in the evening and your son has Karate class: an evening run is out of the question. When you’re reaching for the snooze button, mentally factor in your evening plans, and imagine the regret you’ll feel knowing you’ve missed that golden window of opportunity.
“Do some simple stretching for 10 minutes to ease your body into the day,” suggests Artis.
As soon as you get out of bed, put on the television, the radio or your favourite running song as you get ready. This will stimulate the brain, help you to feel energised and remind you that it’s not only you awake in the world!
Plan to run with a friend, arranging a meeting point and time. If your friend is relying on you, you won’t want to feel accountable for their missed run. Make it a routine each week.