“The predawn hours are challenging because body temperature and heart rate dip to their lowest point at this time,” Moffitt says. “In the presence of light, body temperature and heart-rate increase, which makes it easier to be active.” The carbohydrates in your last meal play a role, too. If you skipped dinner or ate fast-digesting carbs like rice, bread, or sugary desserts, your glycogen levels will be depleted, making it even harder to muster the energy to get up.
Prep for an early-morning run the night before. Eat slow-digesting carbs like broccoli, beans, and lentils. Set your automatic coffeemaker to brew before you wake. “Caffeine can help stimulate your arousal system and get you ready to run,” Moffitt says. Shut-eye is important, too. If you’re constantly waking up feeling exhausted, it’s a sign you aren’t getting enough z’s. Turn off the computer and TV at least 30 minutes before you hit the sack and get blackout shades for your windows—the absence of light boosts production of melatonin, a hormone that makes you feel sleepy.
Mid-day Roadblock: Work Demands and Hunger Pangs Strike
Melatonin production is at its lowest around noon, so physiologically that’s when you’re most alert, Moffitt says. That means you may be motivated to continue plugging away. And your blood sugar dips, which may make you too famished or weak to run.
Schedule your run like you would any other meeting, then record your time and distance to give you a sense of accomplishment, says Steve DeVries, Ph.D., professor of exercise psychology at Cornell College in Iowa. Try splitting your lunch in two: Eat half an hour before you run, then have the rest afterward. If you’re still tempted to bow out, consider this: A British study found that midday exercisers increased their productivity.
Late-day Roadblock: It’s Been a Long Day and You’re Beat
Mental fatigue lowers dopamine, a brain chemical that makes you feel energized. Plus, blood sugar dips again between 5 and 7 p.m.
Don’t confuse mental fatigue with physical fatigue. Researchers from Bangor University in Wales report that short-term mental fatigue doesn’t impact the physical function. So it’s your mind—not your body—that craves downtime. And running is the perfect antidote. “Running elevates your nervous system, which increases your sense of alertness,” Moffitt says. Resist the urge to skip your run by packing your gear, changing at work, and going directly to the gym or trail. Even better, join—or start—an after-work running group. Keep your energy up with a snack before your run.
Happy Training Tuesday to you all!! Get out there and enjoy the AMAZING weather this week =)