Is it better to run in the morning, afternoon or night? Your preferred workout time likely has pros and cons. Depending on what time you run, you may receive different benefits, including weight loss, muscle gains and stress reduction. But if you have a busy schedule, it can be difficult to fit a run in at your desired time of day.
When is the best time to run?
Running in and of itself is great for your mind and body regardless of the time of day. But there are pros and cons to running in the morning, afternoon and evening that are worth considering. You can learn the advantages and disadvantages of each time of day below.
“From a health perspective, the run that happens is the best run," said Lotta Kockum, an ASICS FrontRunner member. "It’s more important to create healthy habits that are sustainable.”
Running in the morning
Running in the morning can provide you with energy to kickstart your day. ASICS FrontRunner member Axel Saly explains how it can serve as a positive outlet.
“Just the best feeling — fresh body and legs, mind is clear already so it allows to think about only positive things while running," said Saly. "Gives a lot of energy for the day.”
Advantages of running in the morning:
For some, running in the morning feels better than running any other time of the day. Getting a run in before the start of your work day can bring a sense of accomplishment in being productive.
“My favorite time to run is at 5:00 am, fresh air, silence. I have more concentration, energy and I've already completed my first task of the day, leaving me free for work and other commitments throughout the day,” adds ASICS FrontRunner member, Eduardo Barbosa.
- Weight loss. Consistent morning runs can increase your metabolism, which may help burn unwanted fat.
- Sets the tone for a productive day. Running in the morning can help improve your mood and set the tone for a productive day.
Disadvantages of running in the morning:
- Stiffer muscles. When you first wake up in the morning, your muscles tend to be stiff. Running in the morning can worsen this condition, requiring more time for recovery.
- May be harder to get motivated. Getting into the habit of waking up early and running in the morning can be challenging, especially if you’re not a morning person.
Running in the afternoon
For some, it can be difficult to fit in a running session before the start of their day. Running in the afternoon could be more beneficial to fit with their work and life balance.
“I prefer running in the afternoon,” adds ASICS FrontRunner member, Thomas Brandt. “This is when my body feels most energized and it’s been a while since I’ve eaten.“
Advantages of running in the afternoon:
- Body has had time to warm up. By afternoon, your body and muscles have reached their peak level of performance. This allows for longer runs.
- Allows for higher intensity runs. Having a higher core body temperature allows for better blood flow, moving nutrients such as oxygen to fuel your muscles. This can result in a more intense running session.
Disadvantages of running in the afternoon:
- Hard to plan around meals. Running on an empty stomach could hinder your peak performance. When you eat lightly before a workout, you’re giving your body fuel to perform.
- Difficult to schedule. Trying to schedule your running sessions between work, appointments and other responsibilities can make running harder to enjoy.
Running in the evening
If you have a busier schedule during the day, running in the evening could be an option for you to still implement exercise into your daily routine. Running at night can offer many benefits, such as helping you destress after a long work day.
Advantages of running in the evening:
- Great way to relax. Sometimes, the best time to run can be in the evening after a long day. Aerobic exercise such as running may help you relax and de-stress.
- Improved flexibility. Your muscles and joints are up to 20% more flexible in the evening than in the morning. This means you could reduce the amount of strain that’s placed on your body by running later in the day.
Disadvantages of running in the evening:
- Potential disruption of sleep cycle. You may experience a boost in adrenaline after an evening run, making it harder to fall asleep afterward.
- Requires greater awareness. Running in low-light requires higher environmental awareness. You’ll need to focus on your surroundings for evening runs, especially if you’re exercising in a high-traffic area.
Finding a running schedule that fits your lifestyle
The best time to run can differ from person to person.
Run at a time that accommodates your lifestyle. “The best time for running [during the day] is when it’s possible for you. The most important thing is that you get to do it, and if it fits in the morning in your program and it makes you do it, then it’s the best time,” says ASICS FrontRunner member, Michelle Poulsen.
Running should be an enjoyable activity. Do it at a time that works best for you and your schedule. ASICS has running gear for every time of the day, including the LITE-SHOW™ collection designed specifically for low-light conditions.
Please note: This blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.