Start Your Day Off Right: Why A Morning Run Is Better Than Coffee

by Paul Hudson

I used to be a coffee junkie. One cup in the morning to get me started. One cup after lunch so I don’t crash.

And another cup in the evening just for kicks. Those were some of the most stressful years of my life.

Coffee is a great quick-fix, but quick-fixes are never really fixes; they’re bandages that always manage to come undone.

Luckily, a friend put me on to something much healthier and -- to be completely honest -- much more effective: I started running.

You start off slow and short but make your way up to quick and long. Although I may have a cup of coffee here and there, I don’t drink anywhere near as much as I used to and never first thing in the morning.

If you’re doing anything first thing in the morning, it needs to be cardio. If you’re not having sex, then I recommend running.

1. It gets your head straight, and your mind focused.

Coffee is great for getting you motivated to start your day, but it isn’t very good at giving you the peace of mind necessary to start your day right.

Motivation is great, but if you don’t have the mind necessary to make proper, well-thought-out decisions, then it’s sort of useless.

Running takes all those running thoughts in your mind and forces you to refocus them onto your two feet hitting the pavement (or treadmill).

It forces you to quiet your mind because not doing so would cause you to trip and face plant.

After your run, all those chemicals produced and all the energy released leaves you feeling calm, at peace and ready to take on the world. Or your nine-to-five.

2. It’s never easy, but starting off with the most difficult part of your day makes for smooth sailing.

Drinking a cup of coffee first thing in the morning is like taking a break before you even get started; that’s why they call it a “coffee break.” Starting things off easy makes scaling up difficult.

If, on the other hand, you start things off with a four-to-six-mile run at a respectable pace, sweating profusely, pushing yourself a little further with each quarter mile, the rest of your day won’t seem so difficult.

After running out of breath and sweating a kiddy-pool’s worth, everything else seems like a piece of cake. You can either have a cup of coffee and climb a mountain or go for a run and cruise along that mountainside.

3. It gets your heart pumping like coffee, without the crash.

Coffee is a bit deceiving. After a cup, you feel like a champ, king or queen of your kingdom.

But after a couple of hours, things start to go south. That buzz you were riding becomes more of a murmur. After another hour, you find yourself in need of another boost.

You raised the energy bar so high first thing in the morning that you’ll spend the rest of the day trying to bring it back to that state. Not so good for you, but great for the coffee companies.

Going for a nice run doesn’t put you on edge. Instead, it makes you feel lighter, strong, quicker, sharper.

It clears up that fuzz you see and feel, outlining everything in your reality -- both your visual representation of the world around you and your thoughts.

The best part is there is no crash. You just keep going steady.

4. No amount of coffee in the world will have you feeling as good tomorrow morning as running this morning will.

You would be much better off planning for tomorrow than trying to fix today.

Yes, coffee gives you the illusion of energy, of sharp thought and rapid reaction. But it’s pseudo-energy. It doesn’t stay with you because it isn’t a part of you.

Running harnesses the energy inside of you and makes it easier for it to surface. We are all made of energy -- we just can’t always call upon it when we need it.

We wake up feeling sluggish, but instead of loosening up our body and minds, we drink a cup or two of coffee.

It feels like energy, but you won’t feel any better tomorrow morning. Instead, you’re going to need to repeat the process just to feel normal.

If, instead, you decided to run today in the morning, you may feel a little bit drained once the sun goes down, but getting out of bed tomorrow will be easier.

The longer you keep the routine, the easier it will become -- until getting out of bed and tackling all the matters at hand will feel effortless.

What sounds better: spending $5 a day (if not more) on coffee just to feel like you NEED more of it or running for free and feeling better each and every day? The choice is yours.

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