There’s nothing quite like the beauty and peacefulness of watching the sunrise. The only thing that’s possibly better than watching the morning slowly unravel is being in the throes of a satisfying run as various colors dance along the sky.
If this type of scene isn’t feasible for you to experience in the morning, perhaps your run is best enjoyed as the sun is setting, as the day is winding down and you’re finding peace of mind.
No matter what time you can realistically allocate to running, and no matter which conditions fit your daily routine, both morning and evening runs have their own unique advantages. You may currently be a morning runner and decide on a whim to run in the evening (and vice versa).
Big deal, you might say! Maybe it’s a coincidence that you’re able to run in the evenings after work. The time of day during which you run could be just a matter of convenience and functionality.
However, there are beneficial environmental components of A.M. runs that differ from P.M. runs and how they affect the day ahead of you – or the day that’s behind you. With running being a sport that you can engage in any time of day, testing out your “power hours” means discovering new strengths and crushing your goals no matter if it’s in the darkness or in the light!
Visualizing Peaceful Mornings On The Horizon
If you’ve never run along a scenic trail where you can watch the sun rising in the distance, you haven’t truly experienced a “morning zen” moment! One of the best aspects of getting up super early to run – if you can coordinate your trek with the sunrise – is catching a glimpse of those scenic moments before the world around you wakes up.
Even though there’s a sunrise every day – and it may be hidden if there are clouds or storms coming through – you’ll have a greater appreciation for what’s ahead as you witness this peaceful and vibrant premier. And with every sunrise being unique – just as all of your runs are unique – you’ll have a different visual experience each time. Every sunrise has its own blending/splash of colors and transformations, an inspiring essence you can absorb as you’re going on a leisurely pace run.
If and when you venture on that sunrise run – and if you have ample time to enjoy its artistic qualities – take a couple of breaks to photograph your journey. Even if the sunrise is only visible from miles away in another direction, your morning run will be a great reason and excuse to capture different angles and views while getting in shape.
Waking Up Before You “Wake Up”
Morning runs have mental benefits that can refresh and rejuvenate your energy as you’re pounding the pavement – helping you catapult yourself into a mode that says “I’m ready for the day!”
Before you officially “wake up” to prepare for your day, a morning run can set the tone for your motivation, mental energy, and mood. Studies show that exercising in the morning – regardless of whether it’s running, stretching or yoga – can better prepare us for the day ahead.
A morning run can help steer and guide your mental focus, creating a “clean slate” to begin your day/week. If you have a particularly rough day ahead of you with projects and meetings that are stressing you out, running can be the perfect warm up to help gain perspective on upcoming challenges. The time you spend on your morning run also provides a mental space to plan your day and gain mental confidence. The best way to experience your morning run is to make it a solo venture that aids in pushing yourself. It also allows you to give yourself a “pep talk” without others interfering in your focus. The early morning hours could very well be the only time you have to yourself to gather your thoughts and accomplish your running goals.
Benefiting From Those Post-Work Workouts
Runners who only have evenings available to exercise know that switching gears to the “fit life” at the end of the day give us something to look forward to. Those whose schedule doesn’t allow for a morning run can always burn off their stress, anger, and energy during an evening/night trek.
The best part of being an evening runner is when we feel satisfied from being physically exhausted and spent after a long run. Stretching our muscles truly makes us feel renewed after an 8 to 12 hour day of being confined to one environment.
Running not only gets the blood and endorphins circulating, but it also gives you a reason to get fresh air if you’ve been cooped up at work all day. Also, with all of the things on your ‘to-do’ list at work, your evening plan to run maybe the only thing keeping you sane as the day progresses.
The work grind has a tendency to take a toll on our bodies. Your evening commute alone may force you to be physically confined to space inside of public transportation or your car – a frustrating trap that can grind our gears!
With all of this pent-up stress and aggravation, a good run at the end of the day can feel liberating – both physically and mentally! Plus, being cramped up in one place for hours can be detrimental to your well-being. Even if you have an hour at the end of your day, pushing yourself to go on a run can repair/strengthen your muscles as well as help your cardiovascular health.
Evening Runs Get You Pumped – And Prepped For The Next Day!
How do you mentally prepare yourself for the next day? If you know you’ve got a full plate of activities going on in the morning, an evening run can basically do the same thing as the morning run – it can give you space and time you need to plan out any upcoming tasks that need some mulling over.
Whether you’ve had a personal issue at work/school or if you’re simply bombarded with tasks, running therapy can be a productive and healthy outlet at the end of the day.
Maybe your overall mood at work/school was dull and flat and left you feeling lethargic. Taking on an evening run may be the key to getting your spunk back! By simply creating a running goal for the evening and shutting out the “real world” for a while, your spirit will feel much different when you return. You’ll be surprised how your energy changes after you’ve pushed yourself to run a few miles and put the day behind you.
With morning runs being limited to the time before you have to be at work/school, an evening run may allow you to dedicate a couple of more unrestricted hours to running farther and engaging in other training exercises without rushing through the workout.
Don’t Sleep On The Benefits
Studies show that any exercise vastly improves your quality of sleep. Evening runners may find that they’re so tired and physically exhausted after a run – and also mentally wiped out – that they can fall asleep easier than if they hadn’t ran. If you’ve ever heard the saying “Exhausting myself with a run is the best part of my day,” then you’ll soon find out that you don’t have time or energy to stress over your day after you’ve banged out several miles and sweat out your stress!
Subsequently, you may not want to go for a run too late at night or right before you go to sleep if you have a tendency to catch a “second wind” afterward. Some runs provide such an energy boost that it takes some time to come back down from the runner’s high.
If you find that you’re super wired – instead of super tired – you may want to change the timing of your run to match your sleep pattern and how many hours of ‘z’s’ you’ll need to function the next day.
Seize The Day – Or Night!
Regardless of which time you choose to run, testing your body’s endurance at both times of the day is a great experiment and can teach you a lot about your physical tolerance. So how can you conduct this experiment and get the most out of your runs?
Consider the time you have to be ready for work and set your alarm early enough to squeeze in a run depending on how many miles you want to trek. If you can pull off a quick 5K – in less than a half hour – and you have enough time to get home, shower and prepare for work, go for it!
Do you have to get up mega early for work the next day? Plan your evening run for a respectable time that allows your body to come down from the runner’s high so you get a necessary amount of sleep.
The early bird catches the worm but the owl gets a hoot from the nightlife! Keep those miles going no matter what time of day your energy shines.