On Friday, I went running at about 7 pm. It was strange. It was my usual route, my usual gear, but not my usual time. Every now and then, I miss my morning run and have to wait until evening and it’s usually a run-because-I-can instead of a training run.
So I got to thinking about the reasons that people drag themselves out of bed to run in the morning instead of doing an evening run.
1. Cooler temperatures. The coolest part of the day is usually during the morning hours so it makes sense that if you’re going to get hot and sweaty, you want to do it in the coolest time of the day.
2. Less congestion. There is less traffic and pedestrians in the early morning, so if you run on the streets, it’s best to do it outside of the rush hours when you don’t have to bump into people as you pass them.
3 . Quiet streets. With the reduced vehicle and pedestrian traffic, there is less noise pollution, less noise around you, so you can hear the sounds of your shoes hitting the ground as you run. Take the opportunity to unplug the iPod and listen to the sound of your breathing as you climb the hill or the staccato of your feet hitting the ground. The rhythm of running is a beautiful sound. The sound of the early bird getting his first worm is also a beautiful sound. Enjoy it!
4. Fresh Air. Less traffic also means less air pollution, so the morning air is cleaner and fresher. During the early morning, you can enjoy the smell of fresh air, air that has been cleansed by the trees during the night.
5. More energy. After 7 or 8 hours of sleep, you wake up feeling your most energetic. And if you plan to do a fast run or a long run, it’s a good idea to harness your morning energy to get you through it. That’s why most races are run during the morning, it’s why marathons start in the early morning, it’s why you’re encouraged to do your hardest task in the morning. Use your energy for something that will make you feel stronger.
6. Accomplishment. If you are a list maker with a detailed a To-do list for each day, isn’t it a motivation to cross off exercise off your list first thing in the morning so you can focus on all the other things you have to do that day? I like not having to worry about fitting in exercise later. Get up, get it over with so you can move on to the rest of the list.
7. Energy boost. It might seem counterintuitive that using your energy to exercise makes you feel like you have even more energy. But exercise boosts the release of dopamine in your brain, making you feel good, feel positive, so you feel more excited about all the other things you have to do. So get up and get that morning run, knowing you will feel better and can do better after that morning run.
If you’re a typical evening runner, give mornings a try. Go ahead. Set your alarm a half hour earlier tomorrow and go for a short morning run and see how you feel.
Are you a morning runner? Why do you do it? Please share.