Morning vs. Evening: The Best Time to Run for Optimal Performance

How to stay motivated when completing a virtual fitness challenge

June 29, 2023

Morning vs. Evening: The Best Time to Run for Optimal Performance

Running is a fantastic activity that offers numerous benefits for both physical and mental well-being. It can help with weight loss, improve cardiovascular health, boost mood, and increase overall fitness. However, the time of day you choose to run can have a significant impact on your performance and the benefits you derive. In this article, we will explore the pros and cons of running in the morning versus running in the evening, allowing you to make an informed decision about the best time to lace up your running shoes.

Morning Runs: Rise and Shine for a Refreshing Start

Morning vs. Evening: The Best Time to Run for Optimal Performance
Morning vs. Evening: The Best Time to Run for Optimal Performance

Pros of Morning Runs

1. Improved Mood and Mental Focus

Many runners find that starting their day with a morning run sets a positive tone for the rest of the day. The release of endorphins during exercise can boost mood and increase mental focus, leading to increased productivity and a more positive outlook.

2. Enhanced Fat Burning Potential

Running on an empty stomach in the morning can tap into your body’s fat stores for energy, potentially aiding weight loss efforts. When your glycogen stores are depleted, your body turns to fat as its primary fuel source, making morning runs an effective strategy for shedding excess pounds.

3. Consistent Routine and Increased Accountability

By incorporating morning runs into your daily routine, you establish a consistent habit that becomes harder to break. Additionally, running in the morning can help you avoid schedule conflicts or excuses that may arise later in the day.

Cons of Morning Runs

1. Cold Muscles and Increased Injury Risk

Morning runs may present a challenge in terms of cold muscles and reduced flexibility. Your body temperature is typically lower in the morning, which can result in stiffer muscles and decreased range of motion. It’s crucial to allocate sufficient time for a dynamic warm-up to reduce the risk of injury.

2. Slower Performance at the Start

Due to lower core body temperature and slower metabolism in the morning, your running pace may initially be slower compared to later in the day. It may take some time for your body to fully wake up and for your muscles to reach optimal performance levels.

3. Potential Discomfort for Non-Morning People

If you are not naturally inclined to be an early riser, getting up for a morning run may require a significant adjustment. Waking up earlier than usual can disrupt sleep patterns and lead to feelings of fatigue throughout the day.

Evening Runs: Harness the Power of the Setting Sun

Running at Night: The Ultimate Guide to Staying Safe and Visible
Running at Night: The Ultimate Guide to Staying Safe and Visible

Pros of Evening Runs

1. Increased Energy and Performance

As the day progresses, your body’s core temperature gradually rises, reaching its peak in the late afternoon or early evening. This rise in core temperature can lead to enhanced blood flow, improved muscle flexibility, and increased energy levels, resulting in better overall running performance.

2. Stress Relief and Improved Sleep

Evening runs can serve as a powerful stress reliever after a long day. The release of endorphins during exercise can help alleviate tension and promote relaxation, leading to improved sleep quality and better recovery.

3. Social Support and Motivation

Joining a running group or participating in organized evening races can provide a sense of community and motivation. The camaraderie and encouragement from fellow runners can inspire you to push your limits and achieve your running goals.

Cons of Evening Runs

1. Potential Disruption to Sleep Patterns

For some individuals, engaging in vigorous exercise too close to bedtime may interfere with sleep quality. The increase in adrenaline and heart rate from an evening run can make it challenging to wind down and fall asleep, particularly if you are sensitive to the stimulating effects of exercise.

2. Fatigue and Mental Exhaustion

After a long day of work or other responsibilities, finding the motivation to go for a run can be challenging. Mental fatigue and a lack of energy may hinder your performance and make it more difficult to complete intense workouts or maintain your desired pace.

3. Weather and Safety Concerns

Depending on your location, evening runs may expose you to less favorable weather conditions or reduced visibility. Factors such as extreme heat, humidity, or limited lighting can impact your comfort and safety. It’s essential to take necessary precautions and choose well-lit routes when running in the evening.

Conclusion: Finding Your Perfect Running Time

Ultimately, the best time to run depends on your personal preferences, schedule, and individual response to exercise. Morning runs can provide a refreshing start to the day, promote weight loss, and establish a consistent routine. On the other hand, evening runs offer improved performance, stress relief, and social support. Consider your goals, energy levels, and other commitments to determine the ideal time for your runs. Remember, consistency and enjoyment are key to maintaining a successful running routine. So lace up your shoes, hit the road, and embrace the joy of running, whether it’s under the morning sun or the evening sky.

Introducing Fitwins

Going for long runs and gaining optimal fitness is an achievement worth celebrating. That’s where Fitwins Virtual Fitness Challenges come in. Fitwins offers distance-based challenges through their app, which can be downloaded on Apple or Android devices. These challenges take you on exclusive routes through famous cities, such as Rome, Tokyo, and Rio de Janeiro.

Developed by competitive long-distance runner Carl Ryde, Fitwins Virtual Running Challenges provide a unique and engaging way to track your distances covered and earn a well-deserved medal at the end of each month. It’s a fantastic opportunity to challenge yourself, stay motivated, and connect with a community of like-minded runners.

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FAQ

Not sure how virtual fitness works?

The easiest way to learn is to try Fitwins for yourself! The app is free to download, and you only pay for challenges you take part in, so why not take it for a test drive?

In the meantime, here are the answers to some of our most frequently asked questions about how Fitwins compares to other virtual walking challenges.

No! We believe that flexibility is the key to fitness success, so instead of forcing you to complete a set distance, we let you set your own goal.  This means you can be flexible in how you complete YOUR challenge: so if you are smashing your target, you can raise the bar and aim for more. 

All entries into our challenge will receive a great medal, with a ribbon specific to the challenge type.

For our “iconic challenges”, your ribbon will have a unique design related to the challenge. For our regular monthly challenges, your ribbon will reflect the total distance you covered.

Running and walking ribbons are awarded based on 25, 50, 75, 100, 125, 150, 175 and 200+ miles. Cycling ribbons are for distances of 50km, 100km, 200km, 500km, 1000km, 2000km and 3000km. 

Absolutely! Not only that, but all the distance you’ve covered since the start of the month will count, as the Fitwins App syncs with Strava and logs all activities from the start of the month, regardless of what date you sign up for the challenge. 

If you are hitting the streets with your app activated, verification is completed automatically by sycning with Strava. You can focus on completing your challenge, and we’ll take care of the rest.

If you’re using a treadmill, exercycle or other stationary equipment for some of your challenge, you’ll need to log this manually.

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