5 Pro Runners Share Their Morning Routines

by Ashley Lauretta
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5 Pro Runners Share Their Morning Routines

How an athlete starts their day can reveal a lot about their habits and routines. There are those early birds who are up before the sun and have finished half of their to-do list by 8 a.m. and then there are those who hit snooze three times, roll out of bed and can’t function before a cup of coffee.

Believe it or not, runners’ routines span this spectrum, too — but it seems those morning runners have the most consistent habits filling their schedules. We talked to five runners at different competitive levels to find out what they do when they first wake up and how they approach the morning workout that will inevitably shape their whole day.

CAFFEINE, MIXING IT UP AND STRETCHING

Rachel Schneider, a professional middle-distance runner sponsored by Under Armour. A nine-time All-American in track, in 2015 she took third at the USA Indoor Track & Field Championships and fifth at the USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships, both in the mile.

ON THE FIRST THING SHE DOES WHEN GETTING OUT OF BED

I usually wake up between 7–8 a.m. every morning. The first thing I do when I get out of bed is let my dog outside, play with her for a bit, feed her and then get dressed for my morning training session. I’m usually out the door by 8:30 a.m.

ON HER GO-TO PRE-RUN AND POST-RUN BREAKFAST

Pre-run, I keep it really light and usually just eat a PowerBar. Post-run I like to eat a big breakfast; usually eggs with kale, tomatoes, chicken sausage and avocado or oatmeal with chia and flax seeds, almond butter and berries. I am definitely big into coffee! I usually drink some sort of caffeinated beverage (anything from black coffee to super sweet lattes) after my morning run and again before my second session.

ON HER FAVORITE PLACE TO GET IN A MORNING RUN

I love doing my morning run on a trail through the mountains/woods or on a dirt road. I’m extremely fortunate in that where I live — Flagstaff, Arizona — has endless miles of trails and dirt roads, so I mix it up a bunch.

ON HER SELF-CARE AND RECOVERY ROUTINE

I have a stretching routine I do at least once a day (usually before running, but sometimes after, too), and then do some form of foam rolling, Normatec and massage every day. Prehab/recovery/rehab is key!


READ MORE > 5 SECRETS FROM PRO RUNNERS TO OPTIMIZE YOUR RUNS


FOAM ROLLING, COFFEE AND SLEEP

Alison Désir, founder of Harlem Run, a run crew connecting the running community in New York City. Desir also organized #Run4AllWomen, where she ran 240 miles from New York City to Washington, D.C., and went on to raise more than $100K for Planned Parenthood. She’s also an Under Armour athlete who doesn’t usually run in the mornings, so her routine looks a bit different than the rest of the runners on this list.

ON THE FIRST THING SHE DOES WHEN GETTING OUT OF BED

I wake up anywhere between 6 a.m.–8:30 a.m. It is a pretty big range, which is something I am working on. I host a lot of events and runs in the evenings, so my wake-up time largely depends on how soon I can get to sleep. A morning routine is great to have but not something I feel locked into. I find spontaneity and switching things up is also important, so don’t sweat the small stuff if you don’t have a routine down!

ON HER GO-TO BREAKFAST

Coffee is my number 1! I wake up and the first question I ask my boyfriend after saying good morning is, “Coffee?” I also drink water as soon as possible after waking up; I aim for within the hour, especially in the summer time to stay hydrated.

ON WHY SHE USUALLY CHOOSES TO RUN AT NIGHT INSTEAD OF THE MORNING

I don’t like to say I’m not a morning runner anymore because I think it really depends on how I’m feeling. For the most part, I run in the evenings because I like to get my run in when the world is awake and buzzing; I love that energy from the community. On my easy days, I’ll use my run as a means to do errands in the afternoon. In recent history, if I’ve woken up early for a run it’s only because there wouldn’t be another time in the day or it was a special event.

ON HER SELF-CARE AND RECOVERY ROUTINE

I foam roll and stretch every morning, which is new for me. I used to wake up and feel like I had gotten run over by a car in the middle of the night. The sooner I do some dynamic stretching and rolling, the better I feel.


READ MORE > 15 INSTAGRAMS RUNNERS WILL LOVE


COFFEE, DEFINITELY COFFEE

Natasha Hastings, 2008 Olympic Gold medalist and American sprinter, part of Team USA at the Rio Olympics 2016. Most recently, she finished fourth in the 400m at the 2017 USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships with a season best of 50.14. She is sponsored by Under Armour.

ON THE FIRST THING SHE DOES WHEN GETTING OUT OF BED

I usually wake up around 7 a.m. The first thing I do is make a cup of coffee. I then make my breakfast, which is either oatmeal or a protein shake. Sometimes, I’ll add a scoop of protein to my coffee and blend it; it tastes just like a cappuccino! Having coffee is the main consistent thing I do every morning.

ON HER GO-TO PRE-RUN AND POST-RUN BREAKFAST

Pre-run I prefer oatmeal or a protein shake. Oatmeal is loaded with energy and good nutrients, but it’s not too heavy on the stomach. I love coffee and have at least one cup a day. Post-run I always make sure I have something packed with protein, whether it’s another shake or maybe some Greek yogurt.

ON HER FAVORITE PLACE TO GET IN A MORNING RUN

I usually like to just run around my neighborhood. There is a nice trail nearby that I can sometimes get to as well.

ON HER SELF-CARE AND RECOVERY ROUTINE

I usually do a light stretch and some foam rolling, paying particular attention to any problem areas I may have at the moment.


READ MORE > WHAT CYCLING PROS EAT FOR BREAKFAST


WAKE UP EARLY AND GET DRESSED IMMEDIATELY

Nick Arciniaga is a professional marathoner for Under Armour and, like Schneider, he trains and lives in Flagstaff, Arizona, with Team Run Flagstaff Pro. He’s been a top-10 finisher at the Boston Marathon and placed in the top 10 at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon, while also serving as an assistant coach for Team Run Flagstaff.

ON THE FIRST THING HE DOES WHEN GETTING OUT OF BED

I am normally up at 6 a.m. The first thing I do when I get out of bed is go to the restroom and get dressed for my run. I usually run at 8 a.m. Getting up at 6 a.m. is an ideal time for me to wake up properly and get some work done before my run.

ON HIS GO-TO PRE-RUN AND POST-RUN BREAKFAST

My pre-run breakfast is a PowerBar and a banana. Post run is either cereal or breakfast burritos. I drink coffee half the time, usually when I know I will be out most of the day or have a workout/long run to tackle.

ON HIS FAVORITE PLACE TO GET IN A MORNING RUN

Right out my door there is a dirt path that goes for miles. I can take it in a few different directions, make various loops and still run most of my runs on dirt and trails.

ON HIS SELF-CARE AND RECOVERY ROUTINE

I do some static stretching, loosening up my ankles, hips and back — and I usually roll out my legs with a foam roller.

NO ALARM CLOCKS NECESSARY AND PROTEIN

Amanda Brooks is a member of the Under Armour Women’s team and is the voice behind popular website Run To The Finish. She started running as part of a weight loss journey and ran her first race — a half marathon — in 2002. She hasn’t stopped running since and has gone on to finish multiple marathons, as well.

ON THE FIRST THING SHE DOES WHEN GETTING OUT OF BED

I wake up everyday without an alarm clock about 5 a.m.; this definitely comes from years of training in the Florida heat! As soon as I’m up, I mix half a scoop of protein powder with water to hydrate and while sipping that I read a few motivational quotes. Then it’s time to get going.

ON HER GO-TO PRE-RUN AND POST-RUN BREAKFAST

I keep my pre-run routine really simple, the only exception comes with long runs during marathon training. Before a run of more than 13 miles, I grab a piece of sourdough and slather it with a spoonful of almond butter! It’s a great protein punch with something that actually helps digestion.

ON HER FAVORITE PLACE TO GET IN A MORNING RUN

I love running anywhere honestly, it’s all amazing. If I can see the sun coming up, every place feels more magical.

ON HER SELF-CARE AND RECOVERY ROUTINE

Mornings are always that time where you feel like you have to dive into the day, so I shower first and then, while eating breakfast, use the foam roller and take a few minutes to stretch. The beauty of a smartphone is you can stretch and start checking your e-mail. I don’t respond to e-mail or look at anything work-related before my run because it’s so easy to find yourself sucked in and suddenly an hour has passed — and maybe along with it so has your window for a run.


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