Whenever I help someone get into the whole running thang, they inevitably get as obsessed as the rest of us (don’t lie, you’re obsessed) and their thoughts turn towards how to maximize their efforts and become the best runner they can be. Here are a few and my humble opinions:
Q. Is it better for me to run in the morning or at night?
A. Whatever works for you. When I run in the morning, I need at least a half an hour to wake up, chow something down and do my bathroom thing before I can lace up and start running. It takes me a little longer to warm up, but I generally don’t feel any more tired after a mile or so than on any other run. I enjoy morning runs because the sun is low and less intense and the air is still cool from the morning. (Notice how my feelings about the morning are directly related to the weather: this is very important to me)
I like an evening run as well. I’m more awake when I start and it doesn’t take me as long to get into my groove because my blood has been pumping all day and my muscles are generally warmer than first thing in the morning. I like running right before dinner, hitting the showers and curling up with my husband on the couch. It’s a nice way to end the day. However, it does take me a little longer to settle down at the end of the night, which sometimes makes for a later bed time, so I have to plan my runs accordingly.
But seriously, there’s no conclusive evidence that shows people burn more calories, have more effective workouts, or look better if they run in the morning vs. the evening and vice versa.
Q. I missed my run today. Should I run on my off day instead or run extra long tomorrow?
A. What I recommend people do is give themselves one or two days a week that are completely off from exercise. Not walking or shopping, but organized, high-intensity exercise. That way, when you just can’t get it in or make it to the gym, you have a buffer day and can pick up the next day with your workouts. I don’t recommend adding more miles onto your next run, but if you miss a strength training day or a run, consider doubling down the next day. For example: say you missed your yoga class today and are schedule for a run tomorrow. Well, add your yoga class to your workout schedule the next day and do one in the morning and one in the evening. Or, if you’re like me and you sometimes run as a part of your commute, run TO yoga class. Two birds, one stone! Don’t be so rigid with your schedule. Life happens, go with the flow and do what you can.
I’m glad we talked about this together. These are two questions that, when you think about it, had pretty common sense answers. Runners being, well, runners, we don’t always take the most logical approach where our workouts are concerned. We’re kooky like that. Be kind to yourself and do what works for you.
Now go out and run!