How to embrace early morning runs when you’re actually a night owl.

I don’t know about you, but I envy people who bounce out of bed and instantly feel ready for the day. I have never been able to do that but I've been trying to more recently with some success. Here's how...

I recently learned that my genes have a lot to do with this. In fact, one gene in particular the PER3 gene is said to dictate whether or not we’re naturally a morning lark or a night owl. If you have a long gene, you’re likely to be an early riser and if your PER3 gene is short you’re more likely to be a night owl or wolf as described by sleep expert Dr Steve Breus. According to Breus, there are actually 4 different classifications/chronotypes, Lions, Bears, Wolves and Dolphins.

I’m a Bear, so it makes sense that I have never felt great running early in the morning. In fact, I wish that more races had an evening start time because I feel best when I run between 5-8pm in the evening - or at least this is what I thought AND wanted to believe because it means not having to get out of bed early.

So, when ASICS recently collaborated with a Sporting Mind to help raise money for mental illness in athletes by encouraging us runners to share photos of ourselves running as the sun rises, I was less than optimistic. It’s not that I don’t get up early, I do, my young children make sure of that. It’s just that I’ve spent years telling myself that I am not designed to run in the morning and ‘it’s not for me’.


… the truth is, us ‘Bears’ CAN get up early and exercise without feeling like crap despite the fact that our body clock might not be entirely set up for it. The key is to work with your physiology as best you can give it time to adapt and be ready to move. By this I mean ‘Bears’ may have a slower rise in cortisol and as such feel tired and sluggish for about an hour or so after waking. To combat this, us Bears just need to give ourselves more time to prepare our body and mind to move and thanks to the Sunrise Mind Campaign this is exactly what I’ve done. The campaign gave me a kick up the backside to challenge my belief that morning running wasn’t for me. But rather than just hop out of bed and run, I took a tactical approach to it. If you’re a Night Owl or Bear, like me, and want to feel somewhat human enough to run at sunrise, then check out my top tips below.


written by

Bernadette Dancy

Health Coach from London

Age group: 35-40
Club: RunWell Club
Coach: Karen Weir

My Disciplines
Marathon Fitness Ultra trail run Half marathon Trail run 10 KM