As some of you might know, I recently converted from being a morning runner to an afternoon runner. There are many pros and cons to each — this is my take:
Morning running – PROS:
- Get your run out of the way
- Start your day feeling productive
- Might get to see the sunrise, which is cool
- One shower/day and you’re set (if you’re a morning shower person like me)
- Likewise, one change of clothes and most likely in your own house/apartment
- Relatively easy to accommodate more mileage by waking up earlier
Morning running – CONS:
- Having to wake up really early
- Takes longer for your body to wake up and warm up
- It’s dark out, so a safety vest and headlamp are required
- Routes limited to neighborhood loops, due to time constraints
- I have to be more cognizant of when and what I eat for dinner.
- Have to plan for possible bathroom stop, and most public bathrooms are closed early in the morning (sorry, TMI)
Afternoon running – PROS:
- For whatever reason, I always feel faster and more energized on afternoon runs
- Since I work in Berkeley, I have a lot of different routes to choose from, varying from flat-ish to extended climbs.
- No bathroom stops, usually.
- It’s nice to run during daylight hours.
- I’m not as stressed about when I eat dinner, or what I eat.
Afternoon running – CONS:
- I have to be more aware of what I eat for lunch and making sure I’m hydrated for my run.
- I usually get on BART all sweaty and gross. Luckily, I’m not a very smelly person (or at least I don’t think I am).
- I get super rungry after my run. (I’ve been eating a handful of peanut butter pretzels right after my run to counter this runger.)
- I have to take 2 showers on run days.
- It’s sort of embarrassing to be seen in running clothes at work.
- I have to pack all of my gear the night before and carry an extra bag during my commute.
- I haven’t done this yet, but I can only imagine how annoying it would be to go directly from my run to a social engagement. I brought wet wipes and a towel to work, but still…
Even though I was initially anxious about switching over to afternoon running, I’ve come to really enjoy it. Part of the reason I was worried about the change was because I used to talk myself out of afternoon runs all of the time; that’s why I became a morning runner to begin with — I was too tired first thing in the morning to make excuses. But now that I’ve been consistently running for 3 years, I guess the habit has stuck. I’ve also had fun exploring new routes and also revisiting old ones, and the “cons” aren’t nearly as bad as I thought they’d be. Finally, I should note that I’m grateful for a somewhat flexible work schedule and an understanding boss who was supportive of the change.
You might have noticed that I didn’t even bring up evening running. The few times that I’ve worked out after dinner, I’ve had a really difficult time falling asleep. I think I get a boost of energy immediately after a run, and it takes a few hours for my body to come down from that. So, unfortunately, evening runs are out of the picture for me.
I’m curious – what’s your preference? Do you like to run at a specific time of day, or just whatever works best?