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Early Birds vs. Night Owls: Is Morning or Evening Training Better for Runners?

Early Birds vs. Night Owls: Is Morning or Evening Training Better for Runners?

Are you one of those early birds out pounding the pavement before the sun is up? Or a night owl that prefers evening training to wind down after a long hard day at work?

A question that runners and other athletes constantly mull over is about the best time to work out. Is the morning preferred or does the key to better session lie in the evening?

We find out in this post.

Early Birds Versus the Night Owls: Is Morning or Evening Training Better for You?

Morning Training: Advantages

A reason why early birds love training the in a.m. is because it sets them up for a healthier day.

While you may be sluggish at the start, eventually your body will produce endorphins and adrenaline that wake you up. You will feel refreshed and ready to tackle your tasks, establishing a healthy tone for the rest of the day. Because of this great start, there is more chance that this health kick will be maintained throughout the day. You’ll feel more inclined to make better decisions such as with your food. Just think, do you really want to undermine the hard work you put in this morning?

In addition, if you are a competitive runner or looking to get into marathons, training in the morning will be an advantage because these competitions typically begin in the a.m. You will condition your body to get used to these competition environments. In a race, this will definitely be to your advantage.

The best thing about morning training as well is that once it is done, it’s done. You have completed your training session so you can put it out of your mind. This way, there are fewer chances to skip your session because you’ve already done it!

Morning Training: Disadvantages

Apart from having to wake up earlier than you normally should, another disadvantage of working out in the morning is that your body will be stiff from a night’s sleep. As this will make you more prone to injury, you will need to spend extra time properly stretching and warming up.

Not only will you be stiffer but your airways will be more constricted than they would be later in the day. Runners may also find it harder to take in as much oxygen as they normally would, especially when they first begin their run.

If you are a runner who needs to eat before a run, then you probably won’t have time for a big breakfast, unless you have the time to wait for it to properly digest. The best you’ll be able to do is a grab a small snack, like a banana or a handful of almonds, that can fill you up without giving you a stitch in your session.

Evening Training: Advantages

On the other hand of the spectrum are the night owls who prefer evening training. Likewise, with morning training, there are several advantages.

When you train in the evening, you will be less prone to injury. The day’s activities would have warmed up your body. While stretching and warming up before a workout is always crucial, it means that you won’t have to spend as much time on it compared to a morning runner.

In addition, an evening run means that you would have filled up with a day’s worth of food. Your body will have enough fuel and energy for your body to get you through a session. Just make sure that you stop eating an hour or two before your run to minimize the chances of a stitch!

Evening Training: Disadvantages

However, there are also some cons to evening training as well. Evening training can be a bit more dangerous as it is darker. Prioritize your personal safety. Try not to go too late, run in a brightly-lit area where you are visible, or grab a running buddy. Also, try to always stay alert of your surroundings.

Runners may also be more likely to skip evening training because time can definitely get away from us. Are you constantly working overtime, have many after school/work commitments or are usually just so tired in the evenings? These are all common reasons why people tend to neglect their evening training sessions. It can be very easy to choose to go home and rest instead of going for a run.

Managed to make it to your evening training session though? You may find it difficult to fall asleep easily later because your heart rate will be elevated. It will take longer for your body to be calm for sleep, which is another downside.

Choose What Works Best for You

As you can see, there are valid advantages and disadvantages for both morning and evening training. There is no right or wrong answer. Everybody has their own preferences, so choose the one that you prefer and can adhere to.

If you are always working late, then make the effort to go for a run in the a.m. This will reduce the chances skipping your workouts. On the other hand, do you feel more energized later in the day? Schedule an evening run instead. Just make sure you stick to it like it is an important work meeting that you cannot miss. Just remember, the best workout time is the time that you can consistently stick to.

Looking for a running plan that can help improve your running? Zen Labs Fitness offers a range of running apps that help complete newbies to experienced runners. Armed with an audio coach, proven walk-run program and a supportive, tight-knit community, you have all the ingredients to help get you off that couch and into your running shoes for a great workout, whether it is in the morning or evening.

About Emily Trinh

A writer by day and a powerlifter by night, Emily Trinh has a passion for all things health, fitness and writing, which makes her profession as a health and fitness writer quite fitting. She specialises in writing optimised content that helps businesses grow, one word at a time. To find out more, visit www.emilytrinhcreative.com