Today’s “Versus” topic pits owls against larks as we take on morning vs. evening running.
For those of you new here, I just recently started a weekly mini series where I am exploring several classic running debates (even though most of these are more personal preference than debate). I’ll give my take on the subject and then it’s your turn: chime in in the comments, or on your own blog, with your take!
This is an interesting topic for me to comment on because I am actually in the process of transitioning from one to the other! So, I’m in a unique position today to lay out the benefits of both AM and PM running, instead of just one or the other.
In all of my time as a runner, I have always been an evening runner. The only real reason being, I am a night owl by nature and getting out of bed really early in the morning is just not easy or natural for me. Remember that being a night owl or morning person has a lot to do with our biological clocks and how each of us are wired – so rising early is just not as easy for us owls as it is for you early birds! For many people, the time of day they run is borne out of necessity – family and work obligations have to dictate the schedule – but I have the luxury of letting this be a personal preference decision.
Here are some of the reasons I’ve always liked PM Running:
- After a day’s worth of being up and moving about and getting that blood circulating, my legs are awake and ready to run. I have the hardest time getting my muscles to wake up in the AM, even if I warm up first
- Evening running is a nice “release” after a long or stressful day at work
- I like when I can relax and have free time after a workout. When I’ve run in the AM, I didn’t like being under time constraints, being rushed as I got ready, and knowing that I couldn’t relax after I was done because I still had to go to work all day. It was kind of like a cloud looming over me as I ran.
- I don’t have to wake up at the butt crack of dawn
When I start marathon training in a couple weeks, I will be making the transition to AM running. I’m doing this because I realized that if I want to be productive and consistent in my training, I can’t keep fighting this mental battle with myself every day trying to muster up the will to get to the gym or hit the road after a long day of work when all I want to do is go home. I’m also sick of trying to make a plan and constantly having to twist and turn and move things around because of things that come up on weeknights. It’s just getting to be annoying and exhausting. I want – I need – to make use of a time of day that has no interruptions and I can get my workout done for the day so I don’t have to fight with myself about it later.
With that said – and to get myself motivated to make this admittedly daunting change – here are some of the benefits of AM Running:
- Frees up my evenings! Don’t have to worry about scheduling conflicts interfering with training runs, so it will be much easier to stick to a schedule
- I love the feeling of knowing I can go home after work and relax because my workout is done for the day and I don’t have to worry about it
- I love the sunrise!
- Morning is quieter and less crowded
- Workout endorphins give a nice productivity boost going into my day
I would add the argument that running in the AM primes me for success since most races are in the AM, but I’ve always been a PM runner and always preformed very well in early morning races. Maybe I’ll change my tune if I see even better performances on an AM running regimen, but from my experience thus far, I think race performance has much more to do with other factors such as training, fueling, and warming up properly. At least for me.