When I was in college about 10 years ago, it was the first time I really started trying to run on my own. Previous to that (high school, etc), I was always very involved on sports teams and usually had coaches with structured workouts. However, I suddenly found myself without a team sport to join…so I decided to run!
And perhaps like many of you, all of the “runners” I knew (including my older brother) always ran early in the morning. So, of course I followed their examples and tried to run in the morning. Boy did I hate it!
However, it didn’t even dawn on me that I had an option to run at other times (at least for a while). Running = Early Mornings…right?
Well, for me personally (and everyone is different), I’m just not a morning person. I don’t like getting up early, and my body doesn’t function well until after I’ve been up for a while. On the other hand, I know there are people (my older sibling included) that can get up at 4am and feel GREAT when they get out and jog at that time.
So, after a couple of years of not very successfully trying to run in the mornings, I thought…”maybe I should try this at night”. So, after classes or work, when my body was already awake and fully functioning, I scheduled my runs. What difference that has made for me!
I now feel good during my workouts and don’t have to miss my early morning sleep hours because of it! 🙂 The only time I run in the morning now is for my long runs on the weekend and for races. That’s about it. The rest of the time I run after 4pm (how late depends on the day/schedule).
So, here’s some quick pros and cons for Morning vs. Evening Running:
- Get the workout done before work
- May be the only time available in your schedule
- For some people, it “wakes you up”; feel good the rest of the day
- May have to get up earlier than you really want to (this is a big one for me). In fact, if I get up too early, I can’t do anything the rest of the day because my brain doesn’t function and often feel like falling asleep instead of working.
- Less productive the rest of the day (depends on how your body works).
- May not be able to fuel well before your workout; and therefore not workout as hard.
- Work out when you want, and don’t have to miss any sleep time.
- You can be fully fed/fueled and have the energy you need to do a full/difficult workout.
- Your body is also active and limber from the day.
- Your work or family schedule may not accommodate this. Although I see no difference than staying up later vs. getting up earlier in the morning. Both options have 24 hours in a day.
- Some people don’t function well after a full days work; for these people there is morning running 🙂
- If you have to run outside in the dark, this presents challenges. (A lighted path or treadmill would solve this problem).
Overall, everyone needs to consider what time of day works for them. I personally enjoy running in the late afternoon or early evening much better than in the morning. However, I’m fully aware that the “norm” for runners is the early morning hours.
The key to staying consistent with your training is to pick a schedule that works for you and plan accordingly.
Do you have anything you would like to add to this discussion? I would love to hear your thoughts!