Morning vs. Night Running: When Is The Best Time To Run?
The light from the sun starts sneaking in through the window as you stretch arms up high has to hug it. Crunching up until feet firmly touch the ground, you rise and shine and immediately lace up. It’s early but that fresh air further awakens both mind and body. The latter feels light and free during the run. It feels so good afterward, a runner’s high that carries throughout the day. Running in the morning is the best time to run.
The quietness feels tranquil, the dark night sky sets the mood. Lit by the moon and stars thoughts wander far off into the galaxy, legs seeming to go at the speed of light. No matter how bad your day was, running it off releases all the bad energy and stress. Even if you were tired, you somehow found the strength to push through a good workout. It feels amazing to get in the run, the perfect way to end the day. After a shower, it’s easy to fall fast asleep. Running at night is the best time to run.
So which one really is better?
Morning vs. Night Running: Both Have Benefits
What time of the day is best for a run depends on various factors. Some people aren’t morning people and prefer to focus on a workout later in the day. Others can’t squeeze it in before work or school. Some find running at night the perfect way to unwind. Preference varies, so it doesn’t matter what time it is. What matters is that the runner got out there, got their run in and stayed committed to their goals.
We know that running, in general, has a laundry list of positive health benefits. From weight loss to muscle gain, to mood-boosting and self-esteem improvements, the pros go on and on. And these don’t change because of the time of day.
With that said there are some pros and cons to morning vs. night running.
First of all, running in the morning means its done and out of the way. There is a higher chance the run actually gets done since things can happen to prevent this throughout the day. This includes a loss of motivation or unexpected plans that pop up.
One of the reasons why morning running is the best is because it burns more calories. Working out in the morning jumpstarts metabolism so that the body continues to burn calories even after the workout is complete. Plus it can lead to better food choices. It’s more likely to sip on a post-run smoothie than stopping for that donut or bagel.
A morning run also means increased energy all day. There is now some pep in your step compared to rolling out of bed feeling sluggish and half asleep. It literally is starting the day off on the right foot. This energy means better focus, which is beneficial for work and school.
There are some cons for morning runs. This includes having to wake up early. This can be hard, especially in the winter when all you want to do is stay warm in bed. That means it can be a challenge to stick to a running schedule. Running in the morning might mean longer distance is out of the question. There might just be time for a quick two miles in order to shower and start the day. It also means local running only if traveling to a park or trails just doesn’t make sense when it comes to time.
Running at night had plenty of benefits as well. It’s much easier to stick with a consistent running plan when running towards the end of the day. Schedule the run in after work or other obligations just like any other appointment or event that is important. It also won’t leave a negative impact when feeling guilty about sleeping in instead of getting that workout in.
One of the best things about nighttime running is that is the perfect way to de-stress after a long day. It is time to reflect, let go of stress and focus on “me” time.
It’s easier to run a longer distance without the time constraints of needing to get somewhere else. It also allows for being social. Running buddies might not be able to meet in the morning, but can at night. This is perfect for group runs and socializing.
A study from London University found that seasoned runners ran a 10k faster at night than in the morning—without feeling like it was harder.
And since the sun begins to set, the runner pays more attention to where and how their feet land. This leads to paying more attention to form without even realizing it since the runner is mindful of their movement.
The cons to running at night include losing motivation to even get it done the later it gets. It’s easy to decide to hit happy hour after work instead of the track after a bad day. It means having the proper gear for running at night, like reflective clothing, which isn’t a negative besides being an extra cost.
Run whatever time of day works best for your schedule and preference. Mix it up every once in a while to change up the typical routine which can help stick with running goals. Remember that running is enjoyable no matter the time of day.