What is the Best Time of Day to Run?

run timeHave you thought about what time of day is the most ideal to run?  Or does it even matter what time of day you run?  In this post we will look at the benefits of running at different times of day.

Morning Runs
Personally, this is my favorite time to run.  It is a great way to start the day off.  It wakes me up, and gets my metabolism and energy levels up.  At the same time, it evens off my tension and helps me stay calm through the work day.  The biggest reason that I like to run in the morning is because I know that if I do it first thing, it will get done that day.  If I wait until lunch or the evening, things will almost certainly come up.  Either a meeting runs late, or I need to finish up a deadline, and I get home later than expected.  Then, when I do get home, I need to give attention to my wife and kids.

In the summer down here in the south, I especially like to run in the morning, to stay cool.  Although sometimes those runs are still hot and humid, it is better than running at mid-day.  If you are in the city, then you probably know that running in the morning is the best time to stay away from air pollution, which gets worse as the day goes on.

Finally, may of the races are done in the morning.  So, your mind and body will be acclimated to running at this time.  Though, this is not really that big of an issue, because studies have shown that the run times for those who train late in the day are not affected that much by the time of day that they train.

A disadvantage of running in the morning is that the length of your runs are limited by how early you get up before work.  If you have a hard time getting up before work, then you may need to run at lunch or after work.  Or, you could do like I do. During the work week, I get up about forty five minutes to an hour earlier than normal time, and I get a few short to medium runs in.  Then over the weekend I am able to get a long run in on saturday.

Lunch-time Runs
Running at lunch time does have its benefits.  It can be a great way to find time to run when you have a busy schedule.  If you have a place to shower, then running at lunch can be a great option.  I have found that running during lunch can be a great way to relieve tension that was created during the morning hours.  Also, running can revive you for the afternoon.  During the winter time, running at lunch time may be the warmest time of day, which is an added reason to run at lunch.  Of course, in the summer, lunchtime will be the warmest part of the day, and you will want to avoid running in the extreme heat.  Another disadvantage of running at lunchtime is that the time is limited.  As with running before work, you may be able to fit in a few short or medium runs in during lunch hour, and then get a long run in on the weekend.

Evening Runs
Evening runs and night runs are probably the most relaxing runs to take if you have the time.  The is something very peaceful about running while the sun goes down.  After a long day at work, an evening run can really take the tension away.  And wit no worries about getting to work, you can run for longer distances.  In the summer, it usually becomes tolerable to run in the evening as it has cooled down a bit.  The biggest challenge about running in the evening is that your evening run will often get pushed off due to work or family issues that come up during the day.  If you have envying engagements, it can be tough to run and still be on time for your engagements.   Also, running too late at night can affect your sleeping patterns.  But, for some, running at night is just the most ideal time to run.

What do you think?
What is your favorite time of day to run?  Why?

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