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How to be a morning runner: 10 steps for running at stupid o’clock

Morning routine secrets from top trail runners

Your off-season has ended, and it’s time to return to the trials of miles. Unless you’re Queen Elsa from Disney’s Frozen, the dark and cold winters in Canada can be challenging. Yet it’s no secret that Canada’s top trail runners train early in the morning. Trail runner Kathryn Drew wakes up at stupid o’clock every weekday to run. Follow her tips to see if joining the 5 a.m. club is right for you.

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Photo: Klemen Tusar

Getting up in the dark and cold isn’t easy, but it’s worth it. Over the last year, Drew has practised her routine, which is now a consistent part of her training. Drew’s “non-negotiables” include going to bed early, ignoring the snooze button, coffee, and more coffee. Here are her steps for becoming an early-morning runner: 

Photo: Kathryn Drew
1. 4:45 a.m. Alarm goes off. “I lie there pondering why the eff am I doing this.” 
2. Pull myself out of bed and turn on the kettle. 
3. Hop back into bed until kettle boils. 
4. 4:55 a.m. Make coffee (with cream and maple syrup!). Sit on couch. “At this point I start to feel a bit less like a zombie.” 
5. Bathroom break. 
6. 5:10 a.m. Get dressed. 
7. 5:15 a.m. Start run.
8. 6:45 a.m. Shower.
9. 7:00 a.m. Eat
10. 7:15 a.m. 20 minute bike ride to work 
Then, Drew proceeds to have a productive day at the office. 
Photo: Kat Drew

Early morning runs may be the key to consistent training. Drew isn’t the only Canadian trail runner in the stupid o’ clock club. April Boultbee in Toronto starts running at 4:00 a.m. every weekday morning. (On the weekends she sleeps in and starts running by 7:00 a.m.). During the winter, just remember your layers so you can feel like Queen Elsa frolicking in the cold in the morning. 

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