This is a question that I often ask myself. In the past I have been a firm believer in morning running, the main reasons being that it gets it out the way and there’s less people around to witness the sweaty, tomato faced mess I become mid run. However, as the length of my runs begin to increase the nearer it gets to half marathon day, the harder it becomes to cram in a run before work without having to get up 5 minutes after I’ve gone to bed (slight exaggeration but you get the gist)!
I’m reluctant to stop my early morning runs, mainly because I don’t trust myself to go if I leave it until after work. There are a whole variety of obstacles that prevent an after work run from taking place. The temptation to head straight for the sofa after a long day in the office followed by an intensive 40 minutes spent on the Central Line battling with my fellow commuters (which regularly feels like a workout in itself) is often too great to resist. A few of my colleagues have taken to heading out for lunchtime runs however again, this doesn’t really appeal. I’m pretty sure I’d struggle to maintain a professional demeanour whilst sporting my tomato face!
According to Runners World, the best time of day for your body to run is late afternoon as ‘this is when body temperature peaks, meaning the muscles are at their most supple and running at speeds that feel tough in the early morning will feel much easier’. On top of this there are also negatives to running first thing. For one, I often find that I’m starving hungry when I wake up in the morning which is not all that surprising given that it’s generally been around 12 hours since dinner time. This always makes mustering enough energy to run for more than 10 minutes a bit of a challenge. Getting up an hour or so earlier than I would on a non-running day can also take its toll on my energy levels throughout the rest of the day as pathetic as that sounds!
Running first thing is supposed to be the worst time of day to run in terms of how well your body will perform however, despite this I definitely think that it has a whole variety of mental benefits that balance this out. I’ve spoken before about the positives of running before work, such as the way it can improve your mood and encourage you to make healthier diet choices throughout the rest of the day (most of the time…). For this reason I’m going to continue on with my morning runs for as long as I can. However, the likelihood of me embarking on an 18k training run at 5am seems pretty minimal so I may have to give after work running a go. The sofa will just have to wait!