Morning vs Evening – When Is the Best Time to Run?

Whether you are an experienced runner gearing up for a competition or a beginner who wants to know the basics, it can be helpful to know when the best time to run is.

Naturally, your schedule, preferences, and unique lifestyle will play an essential role in determining your running schedule, but you might be surprised to learn that there are some proven benefits to running at different times during the day. This information is worth considering when deciding when to run and train.

To help you learn when you should be scheduling your runs, we will explain the various benefits associated with running in the mornings and evenings. If you are ready to become a better runner, we are here to help!

When Is the Best Time to Run? – Morning vs. Evening

While it is perfectly fine if your schedule only allows you to run at specific times throughout the week, there are benefits to running at various times during the day. If your schedule is flexible, and you can run at the time that offers you the benefits that mean the most to you, you should not hesitate to do so.

To make things easy, we will highlight the pros and cons of running in the morning and the pros and cons of running in the evening. Once you have read through these benefits and the potential pitfalls of running at these times, you can choose the time that appeals to you the most.

Why Should You Run in the Morning?


The following are some benefits that running in the morning can offer:

1. Running in the Morning Can Boost Your Energy Levels

Running in the morning can be a great way to start the day off with a natural and healthy burst of energy. This is true for everyone, not just those that are early risers.

The combination of natural light and fresh air can invigorate the senses, leaving you feeling more alert and awake than any cup of coffee. Physical activity also profoundly boosts energy levels. It increases blood flow throughout your body, and exercise can trigger the release of endorphins within your brain that can help wake you up.

2. Morning Runs Can Elevate Your Mood & Reduce Stress


As mentioned above, physical exercise can trigger the release of various endorphins within the brain. These “feel-good hormones” interact with receptors in your brain that can reduce your perception of pain and anxiety.

This is why many running enthusiasts describe feeling euphoric after a good run. The phenomenon is known as a “runner’s high,” and this positive and energized feeling can last many hours after the run is complete.

Just think how good it would be for your productivity and overall mood to kickstart the day with a boost of positivity and stress relief!

3. Running in the Morning Can Help Burn Calories & Fat Throughout the Day

Running in the early morning can help your body burn calories at an increased rate, even long after the run. Like any form of rigorous cardiovascular activity, running increases your heart rate and causes your body to use stored fat as fuel.

While the number of calories and fat you burn will depend on the intensity of your run, its duration, and your current fitness level, a good run can help you burn calories long after it is complete. This means you could be sitting in your office chair at work and still be experiencing the health benefits of your morning run long after you finished it.

This is known as the “afterburn effect” among runners and fitness enthusiasts, but its scientific name is excess post-exercise oxygen consumption or EPOC. Essentially, as your body recovers by restoring oxygen levels, removing lactic acid from muscles, and repairing microtears within the muscles, it burns calories at an increased rate. 

If one of your primary reasons for running is weight loss and improved fitness, running in the morning will mean you are burning more calories throughout the day, even when you aren’t exercising, which will certainly be beneficial.

4. Running in the Morning Helps You Stick to a Training Schedule 

One of the most obvious motives for a morning runner is getting it out of the way. While you should not view running as a chore, running first thing in the morning can ensure that you actually get it done. 

When you make running a priority in the morning, you eliminate the possibility that your work responsibilities, household chores, social life, and other obligations will get in the way and prevent you from running.

In short, making running a part of your morning exercise routine can help you stay accountable to your fitness goals and training schedule.

Potential Downsides of Running in the Morning

While there are plenty of reasons why you should run in the morning, it is not always the perfect solution for everyone. The following are some of the potential downsides of morning runs.

Sleep Disruption

You may need to wake up earlier, which can disrupt your sleep schedule. This can be particularly challenging if you’re a night owl, as your body clock may make it difficult to fall asleep early enough to balance out waking up earlier to run. 

Getting proper sleep is essential for your overall well-being, but it is particularly important for runners, as this is when your body recovers.

Sore Muscles

While morning runs can give you a lasting energy boost, they can also tire your muscles and leave them sore. This can be a difficult obstacle to overcome if you need to be active throughout the day. 

Harsher Running Conditions

Depending on where you live, the temperature and weather conditions can be more challenging in the mornings than in the evenings. Aside from being colder and damper, low-light running can be dangerous, as your visibility can be reduced.

Why Should You Run in the Evening?


The following are some of the main benefits of running in the evening:

1. Running Can Release Stress & Calm Your Mind

Running can be a great way to unwind and de-stress after a long day for those with stressful and mentally exhausting careers and lives outside of work. Physical activity can help release stored tension within your body.

As we discussed, physical exercise can also trigger the release of endorphins that help control stress and pain, which can be hugely beneficial for those that have just gone through a long, hectic day.

2. Evening Runs Can Improve Sleep Quality

A nighttime run helps you wind down mentally and burn off energy before you turn in for the night. Capping off your day with a physically exhausting run and a hot shower can be one of the best ways to ensure you get a good night’s rest.

You will be able to lay in bed feeling de-stressed and satisfied with your accomplishment, which can help you fall asleep and stay asleep, so you wake up feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the day.

3. Running Conditions Are Usually Better in the Evening

Running in the evenings tends to be more comfortable, as the temperatures are better and visibility is better than it is in the morning. Roads, sidewalks, and running paths also tend to be less busy during these hours, so you have fewer obstacles to worry about.

4. Running in the Late Afternoon and Evening Is Good for Muscle Recovery

If you’re an evening runner, it likely is one of the last things you need to do that day. This means you do not have to feel rushed to move on to the next task, so you can perform a proper cool-down. You can stretch and relax rather than needing to head to work and put more strain on your tired muscles.

Following your runs with a relaxing hot shower and then a whole night of sleep can give your body plenty of opportunity to recover.

Potential Downsides of Running in the Evening

The above-mentioned reasons for running in the evenings are compelling, but there are also reasons why it is not for everyone.

Less Flexibility

If something comes up that disrupts your schedule, you might not get the opportunity to go for your run. With morning running schedules, there is always the opportunity to complete the run later if something comes up.

Your Body Can Be Exhausted

Physically and mentally demanding jobs can leave you feeling exhausted by the end of the day. Trying to run when your body is completely drained can be difficult. Even if you manage to get out there, you might need help putting your all into your run.

Sleep Disruption

While running in the evening can certainly help you sleep, some individuals find it challenging to come down from physical activity. For certain people, the endorphin release that running triggers can make it difficult to fall asleep.

So, When Is the Best Time to Run?

Everyone’s schedule, lifestyle, and preferences are different, so what works best for one person could be completely impractical and incorrect for someone else.

As you can see, running has advantages and disadvantages at both periods, so it is up to you to see which works best for you. Ultimately, the most important thing is finding something that works for you, so you can practice consistency and run as regularly as possible!

For more advice about scheduling your runs, we recommend reading How Many Days a Week Should I Run?

For a more enjoyable running experience, we also recommend 7 Tips to Make Running More Comfortable.

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