So you’re not a morning person, but that’s the only time you can run. This is an opportunity to change your habits, do the (seemingly) impossible and start your day with a good dose of sweat.

Follow these tips and, before you know it, you’ll become that annoying person who already logged six miles before the morning meeting:

  1. Take baby steps. To make the transition to “morning runner,” make small changes. Start out waking up at zero dark thirty twice a week, and then up it to three times a week and so on. This is how habits are created.
  2. Consider your options. If you have a treadmill (and you’re afraid of the dark like I am), you can start your run inside until some daylight peaks out, and then hit the road to finish it off. What time does your gym open? Maybe you can get in a cross-training session three times a week and run on the weekends. Have a friend in the same situation? Meet up and commiserate, as you’re half awake and running together.
  3. Plan ahead. No matter how you feel about waking up before the sun, chances are your brain cells will not be fully functional as soon as you wake. Take some time the night before to put out your clothes and gear, at least think about what you’re going to eat, and have an idea of what mileage you’re going to cover and where.
  4. Eat something. You may need at least a few sips of caffeine, but you absolutely need some nourishment. Countless studies have been done on why fuel is insanely important before a workout, and this is especially true for early sweat sessions. Why? You haven’t eaten or had anything to drink since the night before, and your blood sugar and energy levels are waning. Make it something simple but with protein, fat, carbs and fiber…but not too much fiber.
  5. Change your attitude. As runners know all too well, your mental game can often make or break a run or race. Embrace your morning workouts, think of them as an opportunity and look for ways to get them done instead of focusing on all the reasons that make them challenging. After all, runners love a challenge.