So I see a lot of articles and forum posts where people talk about the virtues and general awesomeness of training first thing in the morning…especially when it comes to running. A couple good friends from work do their long run early on Saturday mornings; they’re get up about the time I’m turning over to keep sleeping. Another friend runs in the morning due to her work schedule…but she’s still up before the sun.
What drives people to this madness? For myself, I hate running in the mornings. It’s not that I don’t like the concept of it…I love that. I think the idea of getting a workout in before the day starts, and thus having the opportunity to get in another workout in the evening is fantastic. But the reality is this: it just isn’t going to happen (for me). First thing in the morning my muscles area stuff, I’m grouchy, and I’m really slow to get out of bed. Think of me as the grumpy old bear being woken for hibernation by spring…he knows he has to get up, but he’d rather be sleeping. I’m the grumpy old bear.
There’s a lot of research to support the idea that morning workouts are good for accelerating fat-burning, as well as just ramping up your metabolism in general. There’s also the idea that it’ll make you more awake for the rest of your day. I think it’s bunk. Think about it: you’ve just spent eight hours (hopefully) unconscious, fasting, and not hydrating. The first thing your body logically needs is fuel, hydration, and stretching. Jumping out of a warm bed into your running shoes seems like a recipe for disaster to me. If anything at all is done, yoga would be the most beneficial.
It’s not that I haven’t tried the morning run thing. I have…several times (like I said, I like the concept). I make it twice before saying “bag it” and going back to my evening/night runs. And waking up your spouse at 5am when he/she has another hour to sleep is another recipe for disaster. That’s just a bad idea no matter how you look at it.
Now the exception to this, of course, is race day. Races (with rare exception) are usually set to start at some unholy hour of the morning. Generally, for longer races, this makes sense. Any full iron-distance race would have to start early, or you’d never get in 17 hours before midnight. That makes sense. But your average community 5K fun run? Why the hell does that need to start at 7am??
All joking aside, it really comes down to personal preference. Some people (like my friends) like training in the mornings. Me? I’m the grumpy old bear. It’s just whatever works for you and your body/mind. As long as your training, and your training hard, it doesn’t really matter when you do it.
Just remember, if you see a grumpy bear-esque guy out running at some ridiculous hour of the morning, it’s probably me giving it another try. Don’t worry, I’ll go back to my grumpy old bear ways of training in the evenings before long.
Question for you: when do you prefer to train, morning or evening (or late at night)?