Fitness Swellness: When is the best time to run?

May 20, 2015

run for women hashtag image

With the upcoming Run for Women races (I’m taking part in the 10k one in Oakville on May 31, 2015), I’m continuing to maintain a regular running schedule to make sure I get my training done. Have you registered yet? Online registration closes on May 26th! Don’t miss out!

If you’ve just started to run, you might be wondering, “when is the best time to run”? For me, a few factors play a role in planning my runs for the week:

  • When can I fit it into my schedule? I’m always juggling many commitments for work and play so this comes first. I look at the week ahead to see when I can carve out the time for my three to four runs a week. Since I usually try to run with my running buddy, I check in to see what coordinates with her schedule as well.
  • What’s the weather forecast? I try to avoid running in the rain, or in extremely hot or cold weather so I pencil in my runs after looking at the seven-day forecast.
  • When can I run during daylight hours? I prefer to run in daylight hours, for safety’s sake. So in the winter, I shift my runs to the afternoon, and in the summer, I’ll run in the evening or very early in the morning before it gets too hot and humid.
  • How can I avoid running in the morning? This is my personal preference, given that I am a night owl. I tend to try to avoid early morning runs if I can, but it’s sometimes a must if I’m trying to run with my running buddy or due to the weather, but for the most part, I lean towards afternoon or evening runs when I can.

When it comes down to it, the best time to run is when you are able to, wouldn’t you agree? If you can only run in the evenings, that’s way better than not running at all (and I know of many people who skip their workouts altogether because they feel they only have a half hour, so I’m sure some people use the excuse that they’ve heard mornings are better for running). In fact, here are a number of studies and reasons why various times of the day are beneficial. What’s most important to take away from this, though, is that you make your running regimen work for you.

Morning: Early morning, for some people, may be the only time they can fit in a workout while keeping up with their other responsibilities. Plus, it can be an energizing way to kick off your day. There is also research that shows that people who prefer to exercise in the morning tend to be more consistent with their exercise regimens, and there’s less chance of your run (which stimulates your body) interfering with how well you sleep at night. Another bonus of running in the morning? Most races start in the morning, so you’ll be more used to this schedule than someone who doesn’t run at dawn.

Middle of the day: If you’re juggling a million responsibilities, then your lunch break in the middle of the day might be the only time you can squeeze in a run. Plus, have you heard that extended periods of time sitting is bad for your health? A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that sedentary behaviours increases our chances of getting a disease or condition that will kill us prematurely even if we exercise. So breaking up long periods of sedentary behaviour (such as a run in the middle of your work day rather than sitting at your desk for eight hours straight) could help boost your life expectancy.

Evening: If you’re using running as stress relief, you may find that running in the evening helps you decompress from the stress and tension you’ve had built up through your hectic day. Also, when it comes to physiology, athletes perform better when body temperature is at its highest, and that is in the evening.

Excited to continue with your training? Me, too! Hope to see you at the Oakville Run for Women on the 31st, or to see your Run for Women tweets and Instagrams from other Run for Women events (don’t forget to hashtag #runforwomen). You can find out more at


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