Thursday, December 10, 2009

Morning or Evening Running - Which do You Prefer?

I think it is well known that I am NOT a morning runner.  I always feel so sluggish in the morning and never am able to accomplish what I want to.  This is quite contrary though to the fact that I am a morning person in general.  I am up and awake each morning by 5:15.  I leave my house for work by 5:45 am.  On the weekends, my body still wakes up at these gawd-awful hours and I force myself to stay in bed until at least 6!  Oh how I wish I could sleep in like a teenager again! 

I would love to have a race that started mid-morning or even late afternoon which is around the times I do my best runs.  Even an evening run would be awesome but alas there are very few of those.  What prompted this post though is an article I just read on the New York Times Online.  There have been few studies about this subject but the ones that have been done all point signs to the fact that we do our best workouts in the afternoon or evening after our bodies have had time to warm up and our heart rates have had time to find their normal base level.  Finally!  Data that proves I am a better runner in the evening than in the morning!  See?  I'm not just lazy!  The article goes on to explain that the same workout with the same intensity done in the morning verses in the evening or afternoon will not produce the same benefits.  The afternoon or evening workouts produce better a better performance from the individual and gain a better level of fitness for the athlete. 

They also mention that if marathons were run in the afternoon or evening that more people would see PR's and have better performance levels.  Marathon's now are run in the morning under the guise that it is cooler.  But what if it was a fall or winter marathon when the temps are almost the same in the afternoon or evening as they are in the morning?  Wouldn't a race director want to see more people do well for 26.2 miles?  The article also has a counter to the idea that exercising in the morning is more beneficial for people and they go right to the top of sources for that one: Deena Kastor.  Deena said that she runs in the morning because her spine has more fluid in between the vertebrae which allows her spine and body to take the impact of the pounding of pavement better.  She even went as far as to say that she believes it has kept her almost injury free for 13 years.  Wow, how easily she forgot about Beijing!  Anywhoo, I am going to ride this research for all it's worth and finally give up on beating myself up for not getting up in the mornings to run.  I truly believe I am better runner in the afternoon/evening than in the mornings - now I have some research to prove it.

So peeps, are you a morning or evening runner?  If you run in the morning, is it because that is the only time you have?  What if you could run in the afternoon and it meant more quality workouts, would you?  I think that this is a great point of discussion.  Do you notice a big difference in your workouts from morning to evening?  Or do you have a little of a placebo effect going on since you are just happy you got your run done and have the rest of the day free?  I know for myself that a run in the morning versus a run in the evening produces very different workouts.  They say to try and do your long runs in the same hour as the race you are preparing for begins.  I have never really held true to this rule.  Yes, in the summer I get up early on weekends to get it done, but I have to say I always feel so much better in the afternoon.  Drop a line and add to the discussion and hop on over to the article.  It is a quick read and I know I didn't give it justice.

Happy Thursday and Happy Running!

15 comments:

shellyrm said...

Easy. Both. My ideal day is a 6+ mile run in the morning followed by a 6 - 9+ mile run in the evening. Every day. Seriously. I have achieve that for months on end and felt better than I do when I don't get to run like that. My body just likes the schedule.

Morgan said...

Morning. No excuses to stop me except getting my own butt out of bed. At night there's too many temptations: Happy Hour, Dinner, etc...

Staci Dombroski said...

I love doing it in the morning because I feel energized all day. However, I do not like to wake up early, especially in the winter!

Angela and David Kidd said...

I do everything in the morning but mainly that is because it's the only time I have complete and absolute control over. I also read that article and am going to make an effort this year to do more evening workouts. I wonder though, considering how you have to get up HOURS before most marathons just to get to the start line, if that makes it more like doing a mid-day run.

Jill said...

I love morning runs and how I feel all day long after but in the winter, it's soooo hard to get up when it's cold (and I'm a morning girl, too). So lately, I've been doing my running after work. Long runs, always early in the morning though. Oh, and when I get to two-a-days, I do both :).

Tara said...

I really like afternoon or evening runs, but I usually get up and do my long runs in the morning. I like to get them out of the way.

Deana Kastor runs better because of fluid in her spine? Never heard that one before...

runningcommentaries said...

Morning... there is no time in my day for evening runs and I hate running in a) the dark or b) the heat around here. I hate it. Plus I hate the double shower running in the afternoon requires!

Sarah said...

My favorite time to run is definitely afternoon or evening definitely. I'm not a morning person and while I do appreciate a good morning run, I don't feel like I hit my groove as well. One reason I love summertime so I can go for runs after work without being in the dark!

N.D. said...

I've read that before, that's interesting when you think most races are in the am. I like getting it done with!!

Teamarcia said...

I'm a morning runner because I have to be because life just gets in the way later...plus what if I have something in my stomach later?:0
Seriously though, even as a teen I was a morning person. I love the way I feel the rest of the day after a run...it clears my head and helps me be more productive.

Morgan said...

Ok now that I have read the whole article, that is really interesting! I honestly don't ever work out at night so I have no idea if this would hold true to me or not. Hmmmm...

Thanks for sharing your story over on my post. That's awesome that you're going to pace Sam!

Christina said...

I'm a morning runner but do feel creaky first thing in the morning, especially when its cold.

I see you're from South Bay, CA. I grew up in Livermore but now live in Arizona. Sometimes I miss the green but I don't miss the traffic.

Rachael said...

Saw your comment after my comment on Beth's blog ... um, wow, I totally commented Beaver in a post about Betty. I rock.

Morning when it's hot out. Afternoon when it's cold out, evening when it's cool. I work odd hours and can pretty much do any of those 3 anytime I please. Don't be jealous.

X-Country2 said...

I am absolutely an evening runner. It might change when my schedule gets more full and I don't have time, but morning running is no fun at all for me.

B.o.B. said...

I am with you! I am so an evening runner. Except for some reason my Saturday morning longs runs aren't too bad. I think it's the fact that I can nap if I need to afterward. Thanks for posting the article.