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Advice / Succeeding at Work / Break Room

3 Reasons Waking Up Early to Run Makes Me Better at My Job

woman running in morning

I used to be a part of a running group that met on Tuesday nights at 7 PM. It was always a race to get to the meeting place, and on those days, I had to be very careful about what I ate and when—or else suffer through stomach issues. It’s not a stretch to say that all day long, every single Tuesday, I dreaded what was to come.

You see, I’m a morning person—but, more than that, I’m a morning runner. I can exercise at night, but I’m at my sharpest when I log those morning miles. While I know I’ll be unsuccessful at convincing night owls that they should start waking up earlier, I do think I might be able to show a few fellow early birds the benefits of getting in that daily exercise before your first cup of coffee (or immediately after as is my habit)—besides, of course, the obvious benefit of being able to leave the office at night without a looming workout hanging over you.

1. It’ll Clear Your Head

My runs help me do my job better because they help clear my mind. I don’t meditate and I don’t keep a journal, but I’ve learned a few morning miles seems to have the same effect on helping me work through my thoughts and center me. And, when your job’s a little chaotic, busy, or stressful, those moments of reflection are invaluable.

By the time I arrive at my desk, I have a certain amount of clarity because I’ve had time to wake up and consider the day ahead—including what my work priorities are—making me feel ready to conquer my to-do list and get everything I want accomplished.

2. It’ll Help You With Idea Generation

Along with remembering things I need to tell my fiancé, grocery items I need to pick up, and doctors’ appointments I need to make, I often come up with article ideas as I’m hitting my stride. Or, I work through the angle of a post that had, until then, stumped me. (How to start that piece on dealing with a rude co-worker? I usually figure it out somewhere around mile two.) No matter what I’ve been wrestling with, somewhere along the run, I often come up with a solution.

No, my memory is not perfect, and no I’m not claiming that I’ve resolved all my issues with the span of a few miles, but there’s something about the unexpected discovery or epiphany of ideas that occurs along the road that’s incredibly inspiring.

3. It’ll Help You With Productivity

I’m typically more efficient and more productive on the mornings when I run. Fact: I can be ready and out the door in less than 30 minutes after I get back from my jog. (And sure, you can add on a few more minutes if I’m blow-drying my hair or making eggs.) Compare that to the days when I don’t run before work—I’m lucky if I can manage finishing the same exact morning routine within an hour.

Because I start on such a high note, by the time I arrive at my desk, I’ve already compiled my mental to-do list and have a sense of what needs to get done and in what order. I’ve been caffeinated and awake for so many hours that I have no desire to procrastinate (at least not until noon).

Not convinced yet? That’s OK—the phrase “to each his own” is a powerful one that I support. You’ve got to do what works for you. But, if you’re kind of, sort of curious about how the early morning workout would impact the rest of your day, then give it a shot.

If you discover that three miles pre-work does great things for you, maybe you’ll start to do it a few times a week. If not, that’s perfectly fine. At the very least, you should try to find a morning routine—whether you wake up at 7 AM or 9 AM—that gets you going and enables you to face each workday with enthusiasm, excitement, or at the very least, a clear head.