If you could choose one moment to run on a regular basis, are there benefits from choosing morning, afternoon, or even evening? Find out what is the best time to run.
Running is a very amusing but straining physical activity. It is very beneficial as a full-body workout, it is an excellent self-discipline technique, and it has a very relaxing effect on the mind afterwards. Consistent running can lead to maintaining a healthy weight, bigger mind clarity, better stress management, and improved circulatory as well as cardiovascular health.
Improved stamina, lung capacity, and enhanced muscle strength are delightful benefits of running. However, as simple as running sounds – you just get up and run – you should plan your run very precisely as what you do before and after it has an immense effect. The timing of your run is the key aspect of this activity, so you need to be careful and consider several factors when establishing your runner’s routine.
So, what is the best time to run?
What Time of the Day Is Best for Running?
Everyone is different, and what works for some might not work for others, so to generalise and say that there’s one time of the day that is the best for running wouldn’t be accurate. Each part of the day has pros and cons in terms of running, and you should select which part of the day fits best in your lifestyle.
To decide when you should run, you should be aware of where your body is at during a certain period of the day and take into account the other obligations and activities you have in each part of the day.
Running in the morning is very popular and many practice doing this, which doesn’t mean that a morning run fits everyone who does it. In reality, some people may even have adverse effects from running in the morning simply because it isn’t their cup of tea, but they do it anyway.
The morning run is a great activity to wake up your body and fill up your lungs with oxygen so that you feel focused and energetic for the rest of the day.
However, it is in the morning when your body feels most stiff and needs some time to start performing with its full potential. Also, you lose a lot of water during the night, so your morning run can dehydrate you without proper morning hydration.
Still, if you work a 9 to 5 day, a morning run would be an excellent option for you to get your exercise before going to work. If you decide to run in the morning, you need to set aside enough time to prepare your body for the run; stretch for 15 minutes, drink a lot of water, don’t drink coffee, and drink a glass of juice and possibly a protein shake.
Around lunchtime is when your body performs at its best. You are fully awakened and functional, have done several errands until then, have had a meal and possibly a snack, and feel most energetic.
Here, you need to time your lunch well, as running after a big lunch is more harmful than useful. If you have the afternoon free, then this is the best time for you to go for a run.
See that you have left enough space between your lunch and run so that you can make the most of your run. Also, be aware of the temperature outside; never run if it is hotter than you can handle.
In the evening, your body is still very operative; you are in great shape, have eaten at least two meals, and have enough energy, making the evening a great time to run. Also, your workday is over; if you work 9 to 5 you are likely relaxed, meaning you can focus on the quality of your run and feel even more relaxed afterwards.
The downside of the evening run is that you are likely to have trouble sleeping as you will increase your heart rate with insufficient time to slow it down before going to bed.
When deciding when to go for a run, consider the number of hours you sleep at night, what time of the day you have free, and when your body is at its best. Everyone is different, so choose what works best for you taking into account the pros and cons of each period of the day.
How to Prepare for Running?
If you are an experienced runner, you already know how important it is to properly prepare for your run. If you are new to running, you will need to establish a pre-running routine and stick to it. Regardless of which time of the day you have selected as your running time, you will need to prepare your body for the upcoming activity.
Active stretching is the best thing you can do to bring yourself in shape for a nice run. Active stretching or dynamic stretching is a stretching session in which you assume a position and pulse. After you are done with your stretching routine, you need to proceed with some jumping, such as Jumping Jacks, to activate and engage your entire body.
7 Best Stretches for Runners (5km and Longer)
Your pre-running session should be around ten minutes, whereas if you run in the morning, you should prepare for about 15 to 20 minutes, as your muscles will be stiff and your body will be much less flexible.
What to Eat Before Running?
Your pre-run meal should be high in protein, healthy fats, and carbohydrates. Stay away from artificial sugars, processed fats, and dietary fibre.
If you run in the morning, a fruit salad or just a banana will do the trick. You can mix your fruit with Greek yogurt or turn the salad into a smoothie. Protein bars or a protein shake is also a great idea to energize before your run, and don’t forget to drink two glasses of water to replenish your body from the nightly water loss.
For an afternoon run, make sure your lunch wasn’t heavy, and see that you eat enough lean protein, such as chicken breasts, eggs, tuna, or some tuna substitute. If you had a heavier lunch, make sure you run about 40 minutes to an hour after eating. Nuts and peanut butter are excellent pre-run food.
Before an evening run, you should have a fresh vegetable salad with some breadsticks. You have already had two meals before, and loading up on fats and carbs isn’t recommendable for this time of the day.
Read More: How to Learn to Love Running