Morning or Night?

The other day I was having a conversation with one of my girlfriends about time of day and how fast you can run at said time. She was slightly annoyed with how slow she felt first thing in the morning, and I told her that she would feel better in the afternoon. This was truly just a personal thought, because I always feel I’m more “awake” in the afternoon. She said she really felt so good once she had it done for the day when she does get the run in first thing in the morning (THAT I have to agree with).

So, I did a little googling. Turns out, running in the afternoon really does give you better results but morning can have it’s positives too (mainly training at what time a race would be). I’m not surprised at all by this. I can think of way too many mornings that I’ve forced myself to get up and the first few miles felt pretty rough. I’m pretty sure I was still half asleep. Not to mention, it’s real hard to be excited to go for a run during the winter season when it’s cold and still dark out.IMG_0031I used to always run later in the day, my old job had the flexibility that allowed that. These days, I have to get it in when my work schedule allows. Sometimes it’s first thing and sometimes it’s in the afternoon. I actually like the variety. I was really lucky yesterday and had to run in the afternoon. It felt like March- 62 and sunny with a slight breeze. I’m pretty sure I smiled ear to ear for most of the run…mainly because I knew that this was a rare, lucky overly warm winter day and we probably won’t see that many of (29)What to know what else I noticed? My overall pace was about 5-7 seconds faster than it has been on my early morning runs.

It also made me wonder about speed work. I’ve had to hit the treadmill more than I thought I would this training cycle because of the cold and dark, but you gotta do what you gotta do when you are marathon training. I currently have 2 days of speed type work on the schedule that calls for a track. Those are pretty hard to come by in Atlanta (that I can use) and they are always dark first thing in the morning. I will admit, it’s kinda nice that the treadmill forces me to hit those paces but I do wonder how I would do on a track at 6am in the dark. I can almost gaurentee what that article found, that my times would be slower than normal. I haven’t really made an effort to find a track to use after school hours, but I’m really curious if the speed work would feel easier in the afternoon (on or off a treadmill). 

Speed work is one of those things I just like to have done early in the morning, otherwise it weighs on me. I will probably keep that run for in the morning. I will continue to mix up the endurance/easy runs depending on work, and hopefully get a few afternoon runs in when it allows. Maybe one day I will actually do speed work in the afternoon just to see if I can really feel a difference.

Bottom line, from what I have read, both morning and night runs have their perks, science shows that later afternoon is technically better, but you still have to run at whatever time is right for you. You might like to just get things done first thing in the morning no matter what, you might like to run at night when your mind is clear (or to actually clear it). All that matters, really, is that you are doing it.

Do you agree with the articles? Are you a morning or afternoon runner? Do you change up what time of day you run or workout? If so, do you think you feel better at certain times of the day?



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  • I am absolutely a morning runner! If I don’t get it done in the morning, there is a higher chance of me not getting it done at all. I’m also a morning person though and would basically rather do anything in the morning than later in the day 🙂 Since we got the boys though, I have had to be more flexible and sometimes have to take my chances to run where I get them.

  • When my job schedule changed, I switched from afternoon to morning and immediately noticed that I was slower. Now, if I get in a rare evening or afternoon run, my relative speed always surprises me.

  • I’m without a doubt an afternoon/evening runner, and I have no problem working it into my schedule 95% of the time. I work for what most people would consider a start-up, so I can go for a run mid-afternoon and work the rest of the afternoon, or I can work from home and pick when I want to go for my run. I know I’m very fortunate in that. Today I woke up late (8:30) and went for a morning run (rare for me, even on weekends) and no one at work minded. That said, I’ll be working later and closing the office up today to compensate for my late arrival.

    Anyway, enough about my work schedule. Today was my first tempo-ish run (a very short one) – 1 mile easy, 1 mile at tempo pace, 1 mile easy. I can definitely feel it in my shins. Part of it is definitely that I picked up the pace compared to all of my easy mileage lately, but I think my body just wasn’t warmed up yet either.

    My dream racing situation would be to train on the east coast and fly out west for a race-cation. That way I naturally wake up earlier to get ready for the race but I still run what my body would perceive to be mid-morning.

    Curious to hear what you think if you end up finding a track to run on in Atlanta. Would any of the local colleges let you run there during non-peak hours? I used to run on my collegiate track at night, though my alma mater was D3.

  • I’ve seen the same thing about afternoon runs. That said, I am morning all the way. I just love starting my day with a run, plus it is then off my list of things to do for the day and I can concentrate on work, family, etc. the remainder of the day. Today, however, I wanted to run with my son and his friends, who had a half-day of school. So I headed out around 11:00 to get in a few before meeting them, did three with them, then another three on my own. The sunshine (and visibility!) was lovely, I will admit!

  • I run better in the evenings, the later the better really. I just signed up for a midnight mile, which I’m totally psyched for, but does that make me an evening runner or a really really early morning runner? Haha.

  • I walk in the mornings an run in the afternoons / night when I get off of work. I wish I was more energic in the mornings but unfortunately I’m not. Sometimes it’s all i can do to walk 2Mile. I think I’d mix it up anyway. It would be nice to get home at 5:30 instead of 7 most weeknights but then again after sitting all day behind a desk the only thing I want to do is go for a run!!

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