I run at various points throughout the day and I wondered when are my best times for running. Obviously, races are almost always in the morning so it would be natural to assume that the best time for running is in the morning.
The morning struggle
I tend to go straight out for a run in the morning which would usually cause me not to have eaten something substantial beforehand. Running on an empty stomach is obviously not the cleverest thing to do, but it happens. I have run marathons in such a way before and boy did I regret those! I think I have always just left it just a bit too late to eat and then worried about any toilet issues that I may have so I don’t eat beforehand. I know that just means that eventually, I will have to just wake up earlier and prepare better. But sometimes that is just not possible.
The evening joy
For me personally, running at night is when I notice the best out of my running. In the evening half marathons that we hold here in Northern Ireland, I will notice I am stronger and more capable through those last miles than I would if it was the morning. Could it simply be a case of just getting up earlier to wake my body up a bit more? Or is it because I am well fed throughout the day and I am as awake as possible at 6 or 7pm? I am unsure about this and I know more research is going to be needed to find out more about it.
What should I do?
One thing I have noticed in my runs at different times is that the later I run in the day, the better that run is. Which is unbelievably annoying. The morning runs can feel like slogs and on paper almost look like slogs. The afternoons improve a fair bit with it being a normal run and then the evening runs are a completely different beast. I feel great and the times are great. An evening run for me is where it all comes together. Something I used to do and will do again is run at 9pm-10pm for a 10k or slightly longer depending on the weather. I would go along my nearby towpath by the lough and run as hard as I could for the entire run, sweat dripping and legs shaking. I would feel like that run was worthwhile and I could sleep like the happiest of logs (never got that analogy actually, but hey ho) But the morning would never garner that same emotion or feeling. Utterly frustrating and it now becomes a conundrum no?
As mentioned most races are in the morning, and in some cases very early. So what am I to do? Do I lessen my night runs to try and focus my attention more on the day time to help improve these? Is it simply a case of it all being in my head? I am not sure as of yet as to the whole reason as to why, but I will figure it out.
What will I do?
On my days off I am going to give myself plenty of time to run early, I will get up, have a good breakfast, let it digest, get a task or two done and then hit the road. I don’t want to ruin a potential long run, so I feel I should start off slow and build my speed up slowly as the run goes on. I will take that usual towpath route and enjoy the different atmosphere that I will see and feel during the morning time compared to the evening. I just need to focus more on the running and try and clear those negative thoughts away.
I will ask some running friends for advice as I am still fairly new to running on a continual basis. I had heard sleeping in your running clothes is always an option… Not too sure on that one. I hope that this is a usual thing for runners and not just me being insane. Though thinking it may just be due to being a little lazy isn’t the best either and I am pretty sure that is an aspect to it as well.
Will it work? Who knows, but anything is worth trying to break the little theme of bad morning race performances (even if they aren’t really that bad). I want to improve, as all runners do and if that means breaking things down to little points then so be it!
Apologies if this post seems a little unorganised… I am planning a morning run tomorrow. Hello Parkrun! Until then…
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