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Running in the Morning vs Running at Night

Posted Aug 27 2009 11:34pm

night-running-vs-morning-running

The great debate about running in the morning and running at night.

Morning Running

Athletes have different preferences when it comes to running in the morning or running at night. Back in high school we would run in the mornings during the summers and weekends. But once the school year started, we would run in the afternoon after class. The reason why we ran in the mornings during the summer was because it would have been way too hot to run in the afternoons. It worked out because big invitational races were always on Saturday mornings, so we would be running in the same conditions. However, when the school year started, we had no other choice but to run after school, which was a lot harder than the mornings. But during the school year, our league meets against other high schools were after school, so we would be used to those conditions as well. There were a few times during the year where we decide to run at night..

Night Running

Night running is a lot different from running in the mornings. We once ran with glow sticks, but that didn’t really help and my teammate just threw his into the trees on the run back. Running at night is actually pretty scary for a couple of reasons. When we ran on the trail, we wouldn’t be able to see the path ahead or anything on the ground so we could have tripped on rocks, branches and other stuff. It was also dangerous because there could easily be an attacker hiding in the bushes and we wouldn’t be able to react or anticipate it. Because of those reasons, I always ran a lot faster at night than when I would run in the mornings, similar to how I sometimes run faster in the rain. There are a lot of reasons why I run faster at night, and fear is definitely one of the main reasons. There have been many runs where I ran faster because I was running with the fear of my teammate catching up to me and beating me. In the case of running at night, I was always afraid that there was something or someone coming up behind me, so it was like it was being chased the whole way.

Today’s Night Run

Run: 3 miles, 19:01 (fastest running this route ) Splits: 6:15, 6:23, 6:23
Avg HR: 183, Peak: 200 (HR I get during a race!), 400 calories

I missed this morning’s run so I decided to try and get a quick run in after work. I had to leave work late and ran some errands, so it was starting to get dark. I laced up headed out the door. I usually leave the door unlocked since I usually run at 6am and I’m just assuming that burglars are usually sleeping at that time. I needed to bring the key this time, so I tried to loop the key into my laces, which I used to do in high school. However, since it’s been so long since I’ve done that, I forgot to tuck the key into the shoe and double knot. The key got loose within the first 30 seconds of my run! Good thing I noticed right away and just had to walk back retrace my steps. But before I lost the key, I noticed that I felt really good right when I started the run. I had a feeling that today was going to be a good run.

And it was! :) My first mile was a whopping 6:15! I knew I was going fast at the beginning of the run, but I hadn’t run that fast in a while, so I didn’t want to miss my chance. I finished the 2 nd and 3 rd miles at a reasonable 6:23 each, which is just amazing. It got dark toward the end of the run, but I don’t think I ran that fast because it was night time. My initial thoughts were that I am just not awake at 6 in the morning and my body just going through the motions when I run in the mornings. There could also be other reasons for the great workout. I don’t eat or drink anything before my runs in the morning, so that could have been a factor. I’m walking around at work a good amount and my body is more awake at night. Whatever the reason, right after I finished this run I started thinking about running after work in the future. It would mean that I could get more sleep in the mornings, but it also means I have less time after work to do stuff. But if it really means that I’ll have a lot better workouts, then it’s sort of a no-brainer, if you ask me. I think I’m going to finish the week off running in the morning, but start off next week running after work and see if that makes a difference in my workouts. Hopefully running at night was the change I needed to kick-start my training program.

Images courtesy of Z@ch and Wolfgang Staudt
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