So in the morning or evening the best time to run to get the very best from your running?
I think you have to look at your lifestyle and genetic preferences to really decide; however, in this article, I look at the pros and cons of morning or evening running.
Plus, give some tips to becoming more of a morning runner if that is your desired time to run.
Best Time To Run: Pros and Cons for Morning, Afternoon Running
Tips And Benefits When Running In The Morning.
Should You Eat Something Light Before You Run In The Morning?
There is a lot of discussion about running fasted in the morning, especially if you want to lose weight.
I think a lot depends on the distance you are running in the morning and your experience level as a runner.
Personally, I like a light carbohydrate breakfast for long runs (10 miles plus), such as Rice Krispies, that lay lightly on my stomach.
If you want something more substantial, then remember you might have to get up an hour plus earlier before you run.
Which for me is not really an option.
A Morning Run Can Improve Sleep.
Any consistent routine will have benefits to your sleep pattern because the human body generally responds well to the structure of routine.
However, research backs up the benefits of early morning runs and better sleep quality.
In 2012 a study was done testing different times of day to exercise and what, if any, differences this produced in sleep quality.
The study found these results…
These data indicate that early morning may be the most beneficial time to engage in aerobic exercise to enhance nocturnal BP changes and quality of sleep.
Fairbrother, Kimberly et al. “Effects of exercise timing on sleep architecture and nocturnal blood pressure in prehypertensives.” Vascular health and risk management vol. 10 691-8. 12 Dec. 2014, doi:10.2147/VHRM.S73688
I think it’s worth noting that your daily work routine would also have to be taken into account when considering if early morning running would assist you in getting a better nights sleep.
You’ll Burn Fat Throughout The Day.
Many years ago, I used to train very early in the morning with a group of men; we started training at 4.30 am; it was weight-based training, and the many men at the training aimed to shift stubborn stomach fat and get into shape.
I think one of the assumptions that training fasted was a massive contributor to the success of this.
I tend to think it was more down to the high-intensity training delivered and less to do with not having something to eat.
I think the truth, though, is if you start right with an early morning run, that for sure wakes your system up and more than likely will mentally assist you in feeling positive about losing your weight.
However, it has to be said all weight loss comes down to working on some calorie deficit; you gotta move more than you eat!
I have looked at the research around this idea that running fasted speeds up your metabolism and assists in weight loss.
I have concluded that it more than helps on a mental and physical side.
However, you also need to look at the types of running you are performing in the morning to maximise those benefits.
Both fast and easy runs can assist with weight loss.
However, looking at higher intensity intervals for weight loss would be a great place to start.
If you want to look at this area in more detail, I recommend this article-Can You Lose Belly Fat By Running.
Running In The Morning Is A Mood Lifter
Personally, one of the reasons a Sunday early run is such a joy is not that initial wrestle I have with my mind over the mattress as my brain tells me to stay in bed!
It’s how a morning run lifts and enhances my mood throughout the rest of the day.
Many people have heard of the term runners high; this is caused by an increase of the feel-good hormone of Endorphins when running.
I also think just getting your body moving and clearing your mind has a tremendous lift on your spirits.
It has to be said many runners, when first starting, sometimes mention that this runners high seems to be a bit elusive for them.
Like many things in life, you have to give your body some time to adjust, and the feel-good benefits will be felt over time when getting out for a morning run.
A Running Meditation
Look, life for many people is hectic and very noisy.
When I run in the morning, I aim to get out the door before the world really wakes up.
At that time of the morning, even crossing a road is a lot less hassle than later in the day.
I find you can find an inner groove that becomes more relaxed and almost a meditative state.
If you are a person that struggles, like me, to silence that chattering monkey in your head, this is quite a revelation and well worth the effort to get up that bit earlier for a morning run.
Potential Negatives To Running In The Morning.
Morning Conditions Can Be Harsh.
I live in the UK, and it’s much easier for me to get up in the summer than on a cold dark morning.
Running in the winter means more time getting the layers on and a lot less enthusiasm getting out the door for a morning run.
Though it’s fair to say in winter that could be true of running in the afternoon, however psychologically, it’s harder for me at least to get out of bed and go for a run when it’s dark and cold versus a lovely summers morning.
It’s Generally Safer To Run Later.
Safety is not a big issue where I live. However, in some areas, especially female runners, this could be a negative to running early in the morning. There are generally fewer people around, though you could argue that running in the dark of an evening for many would not feel safer.
I think it’s something you would have to make your own personal risk assessment of and act accordingly.
You Might Feel Sore For The Rest Of The Day.
Depending on what type of running you do in the morning and your experience, sometimes running in the morning can leave you a bit sore and stiff.
I often do my early runs at the weekend, so if I do feel a bit that way, it does not impact my workday, which means a lot of standing up as a hairdresser.
Of course, if you run in the evening, then the time you might be feeling the impact of your run, you will more than likely be asleep, and you can let your body recover and re-energise while you sleep.
Tips To Get Out Early Running.
Be Consistent With Your Morning Runs
Our routines are just habits. Anyone can ruin the morning; of course, some people will be much more motivated to do so than other runners.
However, if you get up consistently and run, your mind and body will adapt to that change.
Don’t expect it to be instant though, it can take 30 days to really bed down a habit, so give yourself the time to repeat running in the morning over a month, ignore your initial resistance and over a month, you will see that you are less and less resistant to running in the morning.
I always take a little walk and have a gentle warm-up before I run in the morning, nothing intense, just enough to alert my sleepy body I am about to do something, and it might be worth its while to be ready!
As I say, I don’t believe in intense warm-ups just enough to bridge the state you have been in previously. (sleeping) to the state, you are moving towards (running)
Make It Easy To Run In The Morning.
Do I often get asked how do you make running such a consistent part of your life?
For me, it’s about giving yourself as little to think about as humanly possible.
So when you want to run I’m the morning, make sure it’s as effortless as it can be.
So my running kit is laid out the night before my running shoes are to hand, and any food or snacks that might be required are downstairs near the door for when I leave.
By doing this, I can leap out of bed, clean my teeth, put my running gear on and head out the door.
Sometimes I think I am out the door before my brain really knows what’s happening, and that is pretty much my intent.
Because the moment you start thinking, then you might be tempted to slip back under that duvet and not do that morning workout.