It’s the question all beginner runners ask. Which is best? A morning run or an evening run? The decision is not all about preference. There are scientific factors that come into play as well.
Disclaimer: I received an entry into the IPA 10k run to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!
A morning run is one in which is completed first thing when you wake up. Studies show that by running first thing in the morning, your motivation for eating throughout the day is reduced and it keeps you more physically active. When you eat less and are more physically active, you lose weight.
In addition to losing weight, a morning run also helps to build muscles, improves your mood, and lowers your systolic blood pressure.
On the flip side, however, there are some cons to running in the morning. One such con is that your body is more prone to injury in the morning since your body is not warmed up and your muscles are stiff. You can counteract a stiff body by completing a proper warm up routine prior to beginning your run.
Other cons to a morning run include low energy levels and high blood pressure. Although running first thing in the morning can lower your systolic blood pressure, it’s important to note that people are most vulnerable to heart attacks and strokes at this time of day. This is another reason why it’s key to perform a proper warm up routine prior to beginning your run.
An evening run is typically defined as a run completed between the hours of 6 – 8pm. Many of the pros and cons discussed here also applies for afternoon runs which are run between the hours of 3 – 5pm. Studies show that when you complete your run in the afternoon or evening, you better increase your endurance. This increase in endurance is due to greater fuel and peak lung capacity to sustain a longer run.
In addition to building your endurance, an afternoon or evening run reduces your risk of injury, fixes your internal body clock, and lowers your blood pressure.
On the flip side, however, there are some cons to running in the afternoon and/or evening. One such con is that life happens in the evening whether it is working late, taking a child to practice, cooking dinner, etc. All of these scheduling conflicts prevent you from getting in your scheduled run.
Other cons to an evening run include environmental factors and a disrupted sleep pattern. Soaring afternoon summer temperatures reduces a runners motivation for getting outside in the highest temperature of the day. Finally, running too late in the day can leave you on a runner’s high, causing difficulties when trying to go to sleep.
When it comes down to it, choosing to run in the morning or the evening is all personal preference. Which benefits and detriments are most important to you?
Personally, I prefer to run in the morning. As a mom, teacher, blogger, and entrepreneur, I often do not have the time nor energy to run in the afternoon or evening. Recently, however, I completed the IPA10k virtually from the comfort of my home and I completed this race during my toddler’s naptime.
Would I have completed the race at a faster pace had I completed it first thing in the morning? Yes, probably. Although science says the best time to run is late afternoon or early evening, I’m still sticking to my morning runs.
Which do you prefer? Morning or evening and why? Tell me in the comment section below!