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Elyse Kopecky’s Advice for Getting Out the Door

There is something sacred about mornings, especially for athletes. The way you start your day impacts your energy and mood for the entire day. Most runners have type A personalities, which means we wake up ready to conquer the day. But starting your day with an impossible To Do list leads to added stress and anxiety and a constant feeling of rushing.

Before I started writing Rise & Run, I was as guilty of “frantic morning syndrome” as everyone else. But once I really started listening to my own advice and committed to early runs, sunrise yoga, and better morning nourishment, writing this book transformed me.

We can all agree that getting out for a sunrise run sounds dreamy, but impossible. Sleep takes precedence. Then there’s the madness that comes with balancing work schedules, kid schedules and all the morning To Do’s: cook breakfast, pack lunches, walk dog, feed kids, get dressed, clean-up, etc. The list is endless.

But dropping everything and heading out the door after a cup of coffee and a Superhero Muffin is possible. At first it might seem like a morning run will set you back on your entire day. But I promise that running at first light, followed by a nourishing breakfast of course, actually makes you more productive for the rest of the day.

Here are my top 3 tips for squeezing in a morning run:  

#1: Prep breakfast the night before. These Yam Spice Superhero Muffins (recipe below) are my go-to fuel before early runs. I love that they’re easy to keep stashed in the fridge and simple to eat while packing the kids’ lunches. They’re easy-to-digest and stave off hunger until late morning. After my morning run, I sit down to a heartier “second breakfast” or brunch.

#2: Meet a friend. A friend will hold you accountable on days when you feel like skipping your run. Having a set meeting time will help you get out the door faster. This is especially helpful on cold mornings, when lingering over coffee and catching up on emails sounds way more enticing than bundling up. Speaking of bundling up, it’s a lot easier to get out the door if you dress in warm layers. Saucony’s Sunday 1/4 Zip is my go-to for comfort and warmth.

#3: Limit phone time in the morning. Nothing zaps the morning hours faster than perusing the news, social media, and emails at first light. You’ll be surprised how much time you gain back when you leave your phone in slumber mode for as long as possible at the start of your day.

Learn more tips to revamp your morning routine and discover nourishing make-ahead breakfast recipes in Rise & Run: Recipes, Rituals, and Runs to Fuel Your Day by Shalane Flanagan and Elyse Kopecky.

You can buy the book here!

YAM SPICE SUPERHERO MUFFINS: for easy-to-digest long-run fuel

Elyse JPG Blog

Picking a favorite Superhero Muffin is like trying to pick a favorite book. We find comfort in so many different styles and combos of ingredients depending on our mood, cravings, and training schedule. That’s why our 3rd cookbook, Rise & Run, includes 24 NEW Superhero Muffin recipes, both high-protein savory muffins and complex-carb sweet variations. If we had to pick just one recipe to eat on repeat, it would be our Yam Spice Superhero Muffins. These muffins have become our go-to fuel before long runs and intense workouts. We’ve always honored sweet potatoes and oats as the best easy-to-digest complex carbs for endurance. The fresh ginger is a bonus to soothe digestion before cranking out the miles. Grating fresh ginger is worth the effort, but if you’re in a time crunch, replace it with 1 teaspoon ground ginger. Happy baking!

Sub 3 tablespoons virgin coconut oil for the butter


  • 2 cups almond flour or almond meal
  • 1½ cups rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups grated peeled sweet potato or yam (about 2)
  • 1⁄3 cup maple syrup or honey
  • 4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 12-cup standard muffin tin with paper liners.
  1. In a large bowl, combine the almond flour, oats, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and walnuts (if using).
  1. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, sweet potato, maple syrup, melted butter, and ginger. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. The batter will be thick.
  1. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling each to the brim. Bake until the muffins are nicely browned on top and a knife inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes.
  1. Store leftover muffins in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Reheat in the oven at 300°F for 10 minutes or microwave on low power for 30 seconds.

Recipe from RISE & RUN. Copyright © 2021 by Shalane Flanagan and Elyse Kopecky. Photography copyright © 2021 by Erin Scott. Published by Rodale Books, and imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.

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