Awhile back someone commented on how great it is that my husband and I tend to get up in the morning and get our daily runs in. They mentioned that they too preferred morning workouts but their husband was more of a later in the day athlete. I had to admit that I am not a morning person and most of my morning runs occur closer to 9:00am or 10:00am. But I have no problem with working out at just about anytime of the day. Some days I feel like doing an afternoon workout and other days I might not feel like it in the morning so I just wait and do it in the evening. This works for me because I am the kind of person who won’t skip my workouts. If I plan on running 8 miles today I will get it in whether I do it right now or put it off until the evening. I know that it will mess with my head if I don’t get it done.
So when is the right time to workout? Honestly, the best time is the time that you know you are certain to get the job done.
The Morning Run:
I think most people associate runners with morning because that is what they see on their morning drive to work. They go past the sweaty, early morning runners and think that they could never be that motivated to get out the door early and get their run in. Often times these people are extremely driven, but just as often they run not because they love the crack of dawn but instead because that is the only time their schedule dictates. Perhaps you have kids and the morning is the only time when you and your spouse find to carve out an hour away from family commitments or maybe you have a job that keeps you in the office til late in the evening.
By getting your butt out of bed and doing your run first thing in the morning you are guaranteeing that you get the job done. You won’t have to worry about any scheduling hurdles later in the day and you can just check the workout off of your list right away. It will also wake you up and give you a burst of energy that lasts all day long. On a metabolic level you are giving your body a kick start from the moment you get out the door in the morning.
If you are not a morning person you can really dread the morning run. Many people who first try doing early morning runs struggle with the snooze button or the little voice in their head that tells them to just go back to bed.
If you are the type of person who will use excuses to stay in bed you might try getting to bed just a half hour or even an hour earlier each night. Remind yourself that it just takes a week or two of getting up early and it will become part of your routine. Try laying out your running clothes next to your bed the night before and put the alarm clock far enough away that you have to get yourself up out of bed.
The Afternoon Lunch Run:
I know a few people who head out of the office for a run during their lunch break. They use their hour away from the office to log some miles and then nosh at their desk when they get back.
This is a great way to get your workout in if you find yourself trying to squeeze everything in during the day. It is also perfect for getting out of the office and enjoying some fresh air to break up the monotony of the cubicle. Running is not just a physical release but also frees your mind mentally, making it the perfect way to clear your head.
Have any co-workers that don’t like smelling you in the next cubicle? Do you work somewhere that requires your hair and makeup look perfect? Unless your office has a shower, you might have to quick pull yourself together as best as you can. Fortunately, you can now buy body wipes at your local running stores to help freshen yourself up. Apparently there is a big enough population of smelly runner/workers to create a need for such a product.
The Evening Run:
Sometimes you don’t get that morning run, or maybe your schedule just doesn’t permit it. Some people work so early that a morning run would just not be feasible. It might actually work to get a run in while little Bobby is at soccer practice or at the tutor.
There are times after a long day that a run can be the best thing ever. I have had horrible work days that weigh heavily on my mind and the after work run has been the perfect solution for clearing my head. In the heat of the summer an evening run can be the perfect time to get your workout in after the sun has gone down. I personally just love the feeling of a summer evening run. It is one of my favorite parts of the season. I have also noticed that when I am trying to get my weight in check, the evening run works wonders. A late day metabolic boost seems to do the trick for me.
If you are a procrastinator or you know that you might make excuses, the evening run might not be the way to go. It can be easy to get to the end of the day and find plenty of reasons why not to head out the door. Perhaps you have a job where you might end up stuck late at the office or you have kids who tend to remember at the last moment that they have a huge project that needs to be done for the next morning. The evening run can present lots of hurdles.
So Which One Is The Best?
Honestly, all of these options are perfect. No one type of run is the ideal or makes a person more of a runner than another. The key is to find the time of day that works for you, the time that you know you can commit to and make it happen. The best time is when you are out there running!