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.I 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 them.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?