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The morning run can have a lot of rituals around it- and you could also say the same about a morning walk of course. A lot of these rituals can feel centering and calming. Now I have not always run (or walked in the morning myself), but I have done it for years on end- which is long enough to develop my own rituals. Let me tell you about some of them (I have to keep some secrets for myself of course).

When I was a child, I had no running rituals. If I had time to run, I would take off running about a minute after I had the thought. I wouldn’t change clothes. I wouldn’t change shoes. I didn’t have a plan. I would just think, “I need to run now,” and off I would go- even if I was still in my church clothes!

When graduated highschool I ran in the morning for years despite being a night owl. My rituals were pretty basic in my twenties. I would put on my running clothes the night before and sleep in them. I would drink a glass of water and go to sleep. I would wake up at 5am and get out of bed immediately. Then I would go to the bathroom. Then I would drink a glass of water and put on my socks and shoes. Then I would step out the door and immediately start running. I wouldn’t stretch (unless someone made me). I wouldn’t really warm up- I would just start. I know, it was not much of a ritual- but I did it the same way every time I ran 5 or 6 days a week. It was consistent and that consistency helped me a lot.

When I was in my thirties the ritual evolved. I would l no longer sleep in my running clothes, instead I would lay them out the night before. Of course I would drink water the night before, but I would add an electrolyte mix. When I got up in the morning (not usually as early as 5am), I would spend a good 30 minutes on a foam roller. I would then usually have a gel or some toast and jam and a cup of coffee. Then I would head out the door and sometimes walk for at least 10 minutes before I would actually start my run. It was getting better and closer to sensible- but the repetition of it was what really made it feel like some sort of moving mindfulness practice.

Now that I am in my forties I am looking for a new set of rituals. I am slowed down. I have a long history of injuries both major and minor. I know a lot more about running. I know a lot more about mobility. I know the difference between training for longevity and training for performance. I am not sure what my new rituals will be yet but I know that I will pick them to help put me in a place to be centered and healthy. I am definitely not suggesting we all have the same rituals or keep the ones we have indefinitely. I think we all could have morning rituals (and I think we can all benefit from them). You don’t have to be a runner at all to feel the joy of a good set of consistent practices to start your day. I’d would recommend that to anyone. Remember, to start small and be consistent. And if anyone has any suggestions for me feel free to leave them in the comments.

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