Time of day…

[picapp align=”left” wrap=”true” link=”term=Toronto&iid=105548″ src=”0101/53bb9118-85b8-4e45-9e0b-394c9380c79b.jpg?adImageId=9516298&imageId=105548″ width=”234″ height=”351″ /]Happy hump day! We’re just about out of the darkest months of the year, and spring is less than eight weeks away! The daydreams of the returning light (and heat!) reminded me of an interesting article in the New York Times from December. It looked at the effects that the time of day you workout at have on your performance. Having recently moved several of my weekly runs to the morning (I’m hell bent on having a life while training for this marathon), I had noticed that those a.m. runs were feeling a bit tougher then my evening or day-time runs (frigid head winds aside).

According to the article, the body is “in a different biological state” later in the day, accounting for a higher heart rate for the same workout performed in the morning. It also stated that the perception of how hard we exercise is higher in the morning, and that personal bests and world records are typically set in the late afternoon or evening.

To sum up, according to this article, it’s harder (mentally and physically) to exercise in the morning. Initially, my thinking process goes something like, “perfect… I’ll just sleep in and run in the evening, which I enjoy more anyways.” But there appears to be several reasons why taking advantage of the time differences can be of huge benefit to runners. The article quotes American marathoner Deena Kastor, who says that her former coach and mentor, Joe Vigil, had her running in the morning because there was more fluid between the vertebrae of the spine. According to Kastor, this makes the body much more forgiving of the exertion required for training and that she has been mostly injury free over the last 13 years.

[picapp align=”right” wrap=”true” link=”term=deena+kastor&iid=345890″ src=”0342/b74e970f-78ad-4457-a869-8fa79eb0a8c9.jpg?adImageId=9516338&imageId=345890″ width=”380″ height=”277″ /]This information is also interesting to consider, as the majority of marathons (and other road races) begin before 9 a.m. This would make it seem like a good idea to get the body used to early morning endurance and allow the mind to develop strategies for contending with the additional perceptions of exertion require at the time of day.

Each of us has a different reality of scheduling and time demands to work our training around, but myself, I’m planning on keeping two of my weekly runs in the morning for a while and see how if I begin to notice any differences overall. I’m pretty lucky that my employer has showers available, so other than having to bring a change of clothing the day before, this should work out really well.

Additional, most of the longer distances in the training program are scheduled early in the morning on the weekend. I wonder if this is intentional (or, again, maybe it’s so we can then enjoy the rest of our day afterwards).

How about you? Do you notice a difference in your running in the morning vs. the evening? Do you take the time of day of your runs into consideration when planning out your training schedule?

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