Studies show that running during different times of the day can benefit different aspects of your health, and will also have different effects on your body. A better understanding of how our body functions throughout the day will help you better plan your training schedule for quicker results.
Running in the morning
- Our normal blood pressure fluctuates throughout the day, usually peaking in the early afternoon. For people who suffer with high blood pressure, running early in the morning has shown to help reduce blood pressure by 10% in the afternoon and by 25% during sleep.
- Many runners who battle depression and anxiety find running in a morning provides headspace and clarity that help set them up for a positive day ahead.
- Studies have shown that running in a morning as opposed to the evening resulted in a lower calorie intake, helping to speed up weight loss.
Injuries are more common in a morning due to our bodies coming out of ~8 hours of static sleep, so it’s vitally important to put yourself through a dynamic warm up before pushing yourself too hard.
Running in the late afternoon or evening
- Our bodies are normally at their warmest in the afternoon, meaning our energy levels and power output have the potential to be the highest a couple of hours after lunch. If you’re aiming for a PB this is likely to be your best time of the day.
- If you’re planning a longer run, heading out in the afternoon will usually mean your energy stores are topped up and will allow you to reach those extra miles without falter, helping train your endurance levels. Just make sure you’ve left ample time for digestion, usually 1.5 to 2 hours after a large lunch.
- Diet plays a major factor in the body’s ability to grow muscle, but your body’s natural cycle of cortisol and testosterone levels are often highest during the afternoon making muscle growth easier on an afternoon run.
- If you decide to run later in the evening, within 2-3 hours of your usual bedtime, you may find it difficult to fall asleep. While exercising the body produces cortisol which prevents the production of melatonin, which is the hormone that puts you into a state which promotes sleep.
- Dehydration also raises your body’s temperature which raises your heart rate making it difficult to fall asleep. Make sure you’re on top of your hydration.
Run to suit you and your schedule
Understanding how your body works and reacts to different circumstances is invaluable on your journey towards your goals, but don’t let that distract you from the bigger picture.
We run because we enjoy it. Because of the health and wellbeing benefits. Because it makes us happy, gives us focus and keeps us disciplined.
Don’t let recommendations of the best time of day to run prevent you from lacing up your shoes and heading out the door.
If you’re running early morning or during the evening when the light is fading, make sure you are seen by vehicles, bikes and anything else you may come across. Reflective clothing is an essential for those dark runs, but you can increase your visibility with a slimline LED Armband that illuminates you from all sides.
The MoveVisible LED Armband is a discreet band of light designed to strap around your upper arm for enhanced visibility whilst exercising at night.