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The 5 Stages Of Waking Up For Early Morning Runs

I’m not a morning person. Okay, I’ll amend that slightly—I’m not a super-early morning person. Waking up at 7 a.m. or so suits me just fine, even on the weekends, but 5 a.m.? Earlier? Groan. I struggle endlessly with knowing that I should run in the morning while simultaneously hating the idea. I’ll admit—it’s the easiest way to ensure that I get my runs in and a fantastic start to the day…if I can force myself out of bed. And that’s a big “if.” In fact, developing the habit of running in the morning looks a lot like the five stages of grief, at least in my world.

Step 1: Denial. I don’t have to wake up early in order to have time to run! I can run after work! Well, after I teach barre class after work. Well, after I cook dinner after barre class after work. Ok, after I complete my freelance assignments after cooking dinner after barre class after work. Yeah, that’s reasonable! 11 p.m. it is!

Step 2: Anger. WHY DO I HAVE TO WAKE UP EARLY TO RUN? My husband doesn’t have to wake up early! The sun isn’t even out yet! It’s freezing! Ugh, this is the worst. I’m not doing it. I refuse. I’ll just quit running. Yes, that’s a good idea. I’ll quit.

Related: What I Think About When I Think About Running

Step 3: Bargaining. If I wake up early to run today, I can sleep in tomorrow. Wait, no I can’t—I have to teach a barre class tomorrow. Crap! Okay, if I wake up early to run today, I don’t have to wake up early the rest of the week. I can eat an extra cookie if I want because I forced myself out of bed. A cookie will definitely make me better at waking up early and a faster runner, for sure.

Step 4: Depression. The world is dark (literally) and I am doomed to an existence of waking up before the light for the rest of my days. I have chosen a sport that will torment me with exhaustion forever. I must give up on the idea of ever feeling well rested again. There is no hope.

Step 5: Acceptance. Okay, you know what? Waking up early is not so bad after all. Yes, I’m tired, but I get to do the sport I love! I never have to worry about something coming up and stopping me from running because I’m up and at ‘em before the rest of the world has a chance to stop me. I feel great knowing that my workout is done before most people are even awake, and I start the day on a positive note. And hey, now I’m used to running early, so race day is easier! Yeah, I think I can get used to this running in the morning thing. It’s not so bad after all!

Related: Wake Up Early: How You Can Do It

T-Rex Runner

Danielle Cemprola (formerly Hastings) chronicles her attempt to run a marathon in all 50 states at www.trexrunner.com. She's the co-founder of www.ramblen.co, which provides reviews of health and fitness resources for travelers. She is also an ambassador for Headsweats headwear. Interests include craft beer, sarcasm and travel.