Best time for running?

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Aardvarki
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Best time for running?

Postby Aardvarki » Tue Apr 06, 2010 1:53 pm UTC

As the topic suggests, I want to know the best time of day to go out running. Currently, my only options are early morning (7am) or mid-evening (6-8pm). When I run, I generally go between 1.3-3 miles (2-5km) at an average pace of about 6mph (10kph), and i've been attempting to aim for at least 9 miles (15km) per week.

I used to run in the evenings as it was more convenient for me. I started thinking recently that I might get more benefit out of running in the mornings, as it might kick-start my metabolism and wake me up a little more.

If I run in the morning, should I eat anything before my run, or should I wait until after my run to eat? For the past few days I've been waiting until after my morning run to eat, and I've noticed that my endurance first thing in the morning with no food in my stomach is subpar (I'm beat after 15 minutes, normally I can run for half an hour no problem), but I've also been able to tell for certain that I'm burning fat this way (getting that iodine scent after the run that i've been told is an indicator of your body using fat for energy - i don't get this from running in the evening). However, I don't really have the time to eat a breakfast, let it digest, then go running and get a shower before work. It's enough of a challenge for me to wake up an extra half hour earlier to get dressed and go running.

My ultimate goal is a general improvement in fitness - I'm a 25yo male in decent shape, 5'8" (173cm) and 165 lb (75kg) but I would like more muscle and less fat. I don't eat very well, and that isn't incredibly likely to change (I'm a foodie, I enjoy eating more than I'd enjoy being in better shape), though it hasn't really held me back from losing weight and getting into shape - I just need to work at it longer (way back I used to be 210lb (95kg)).

Really, I'm just wondering if it's entirely up to personal preference or if there's any actual benefit to be gained from running first thing in the morning or after work in the evening, and maybe some tips to improve my endurance first thing in the morning so I can do my standard 3 mile (5km) runs.
-Aa
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Dave_Wise
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Re: Best time for running?

Postby Dave_Wise » Tue Apr 06, 2010 5:43 pm UTC

It's more or less entirely down to personal preference. There are those that say fasted cardio (first thing in the morning, before breakfast) burns more fat, there are people who don't believe them, and there are people who say that it might make a fly's shit of difference, but no more than that. I think the take-home message is that unless you're already very fit and looking for things to marginally improve your already awesome performance, it really doesn't matter at all.
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trebor
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Re: Best time for running?

Postby trebor » Wed Apr 07, 2010 4:27 am UTC

Running in the morning from what I've learned from high school pe and heard from sports coaches defiantly kicks starts your metabolism, therefore you burn more fat during the day and while you run. (Providing you're training in your aerobic zone of less than 85% max heart rate otherwise your body doesn't use fats as a predominant energy source anyway) From personal opinion I believe you feel better and more awake during the day too, but that may just be me.

As for what to eat, the convention is to not eat any complex carbohydrates within 2 hours of running (e.g., cereals and bread and the like...) but personally I usually eat before I go running and feel fine, try it out and see how you go, some people experience a decrease in speed as more blood goes to the stomach and not your muscles. To over come this you could try taking a small muesli/power bar with you during the run to slowly eat. (Something loaded with carbohydrates is what you're after so it provides you with energy while you run for over 15 mins)

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Re: Best time for running?

Postby Nath » Wed Apr 07, 2010 6:07 am UTC

The pros and cons of early morning exercise depend on your objectives. Your endurance sucks in the morning because you don't have much stored glycogen -- you hit the wall almost immediately. What's happening is that you're switching from glycogen to fat as your primary fuel source. Since fat is a less efficient fuel, this will harm your performance, and the health effects of overdoing this are not clear. But if fat loss is your primary goal, then perhaps there's some logic to it.

On the other hand, maybe you'd have better results if you eat some breakfast before your run, store up some glycogen, and have a longer, more intense workout -- even though you may burn less fat in the workout, it'd probably speed up your metabolism more. If it were me, I'd probably prefer this option. It needn't be a full breakfast -- for instance, a not-too-sugary energy bar or a couple of bananas.

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Aardvarki
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Re: Best time for running?

Postby Aardvarki » Wed Apr 07, 2010 1:10 pm UTC

trebor (NOT Dave_Wise) wrote:(Providing you're training in your aerobic zone of less than 85% max heart rate otherwise your body doesn't use fats as a predominant energy source anyway)


I've heard this many times, and it really concerns me...

Based on my age, my max heart rate is 195. However, when I run (even when I'm doing a 10K, which I do every other week or so) my heart rate is ALWAYS ~175. I literally need to be no more than speed-walking (3.5mph) to get my heart rate down to 165. I've always thought this was odd, while my resting heart rate has dropped from 70-75 to 60-65 as I've gotten into better shape, my working heart rate has stayed right around 175...

Should I just be speed-walking to stay in my aerobic range? I can easily maintain an hour of running at 6mph(10kph)/175bpm so I just have always assumed 175 wasn't outside of my aerobic range.

Nath wrote:or a couple of bananas.


Aaargh. I hate bananas. When I used to get leg cramps frequently, everyone told me to eat bananas for the potassium. I just got supplements. Fuck bananas.
Last edited by Aardvarki on Wed Apr 07, 2010 7:17 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Best time for running?

Postby Dave_Wise » Wed Apr 07, 2010 1:24 pm UTC

You've quoted the wrong bloke. I would never say anything like that- I'm a payed up member of the church of HIIT.

You don't like bananas? WTF? Call yourself a greater ape?
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trebor
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Re: Best time for running?

Postby trebor » Wed Apr 07, 2010 2:02 pm UTC

Aardvarki wrote:
Dave_Wise wrote:(Providing you're training in your aerobic zone of less than 85% max heart rate otherwise your body doesn't use fats as a predominant energy source anyway)


I've heard this many times, and it really concerns me...

Based on my age, my max heart rate is 195. However, when I run (even when I'm doing a 10K, which I do every other week or so) my heart rate is ALWAYS ~175. I literally need to be no more than speed-walking (3.5mph) to get my heart rate down to 165. I've always thought this was odd, while my resting heart rate has dropped from 70-75 to 60-65 as I've gotten into better shape, my working heart rate has stayed right around 175...

Should I just be speed-walking to stay in my aerobic range? I can easily maintain an hour of running at 6mph(10kph)/175bpm so I just have always assumed 175 wasn't outside of my aerobic range.


It shouldn't really concern you, these are as some might say "guidelines" that are an approximation at best; it really does differ from person to person. Based off you saying you can maintain an hour of running at 10km/h I'd say you're well and truly in your aerobic zone. Another widely taught "guideline" (at least in Australia) is 'huff 'n puff' that is to say if you can maintain a conversation while exercising you are in your aerobic zone (as you are most likely consuming enough oxygen as indicated by having enough to talk)

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Nath
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Re: Best time for running?

Postby Nath » Wed Apr 07, 2010 6:59 pm UTC

Aardvarki wrote:
Not Dave_Wise wrote:(Providing you're training in your aerobic zone of less than 85% max heart rate otherwise your body doesn't use fats as a predominant energy source anyway)


I've heard this many times, and it really concerns me...

Based on my age, my max heart rate is 195. However, when I run (even when I'm doing a 10K, which I do every other week or so) my heart rate is ALWAYS ~175. I literally need to be no more than speed-walking (3.5mph) to get my heart rate down to 165. I've always thought this was odd, while my resting heart rate has dropped from 70-75 to 60-65 as I've gotten into better shape, my working heart rate has stayed right around 175...

Should I just be speed-walking to stay in my aerobic range? I can easily maintain an hour of running at 6mph(10kph)/175bpm so I just have always assumed 175 wasn't outside of my aerobic range.

Though there may be some truth to that, high intensity work has also proven to be pretty good (maybe even better than extended aerobic work) at using up fat. The standard explanation is that it speeds up metabolism more, so you end up burning less fat during the workout, but more afterwards.

Aardvarki wrote:Fuck bananas.

Sounds messy.

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Aardvarki
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Re: Best time for running?

Postby Aardvarki » Wed Apr 07, 2010 7:16 pm UTC

Dave_Wise wrote:You've quoted the wrong bloke. I would never say anything like that- I'm a payed up member of the church of HIIT.


Strange! I definitely pulled someone else's quote but the forum put your name - I didn't hand-type that, it auto-filled it for me. I'll fix it.

And as for not liking bananas, lets just call it a "traumatic experience from my childhood". Even the smell of bananas puts me off nowadays.
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Re: Best time for running?

Postby Dave_Wise » Wed Apr 07, 2010 10:20 pm UTC

Fair enough. I understand. I won't judge you, and nor will I speculate about what that experience might have been.

But seriously, if it's general fitness you want, I'd seriously look into HIIT. Also, I'm glad that I've drunk the crossfit (http://www.crossfit.com) kool aid again. It's absolved me of the necessity to think about my training program and got rid of all those little doubts and controversies.
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Patman
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Re: Best time for running?

Postby Patman » Mon May 24, 2010 10:33 am UTC

Aardvarki wrote:As the topic suggests, I want to know the best time of day to go out running. Currently, my only options are early morning (7am) or mid-evening (6-8pm). When I run, I generally go between 1.3-3 miles (2-5km) at an average pace of about 6mph (10kph), and i've been attempting to aim for at least 9 miles (15km) per week.

I used to run in the evenings as it was more convenient for me. I started thinking recently that I might get more benefit out of running in the mornings, as it might kick-start my metabolism and wake me up a little more.

If I run in the morning, should I eat anything before my run, or should I wait until after my run to eat? For the past few days I've been waiting until after my morning run to eat, and I've noticed that my endurance first thing in the morning with no food in my stomach is subpar (I'm beat after 15 minutes, normally I can run for half an hour no problem), but I've also been able to tell for certain that I'm burning fat this way (getting that iodine scent after the run that i've been told is an indicator of your body using fat for energy - i don't get this from running in the evening). However, I don't really have the time to eat a breakfast, let it digest, then go running and get a shower before work. It's enough of a challenge for me to wake up an extra half hour earlier to get dressed and go running.

My ultimate goal is a general improvement in fitness - I'm a 25yo male in decent shape, 5'8" (173cm) and 165 lb (75kg) but I would like more muscle and less fat. I don't eat very well, and that isn't incredibly likely to change (I'm a foodie, I enjoy eating more than I'd enjoy being in better shape), though it hasn't really held me back from losing weight and getting into shape - I just need to work at it longer (way back I used to be 210lb (95kg)).

Really, I'm just wondering if it's entirely up to personal preference or if there's any actual benefit to be gained from running first thing in the morning or after work in the evening, and maybe some tips to improve my endurance first thing in the morning so I can do my standard 3 mile (5km) runs.

Start extra slow if you are running in the morning because you will be extra stiff which will cause injuries worse than anything in my experience. Because of this I prefer to run at lunch or in the afternoons. But the early morning (i.e. sunrise) is certainly one of the most beautiful times of day to run where I live.

As for food, eat something and drink something small. I'll often have a small glass of milk with a few spoons of unsweetened muesli mixed in, if I'm in a hurry.

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Re: Best time for running?

Postby Aardvarki » Fri May 28, 2010 2:24 pm UTC

Dave_Wise wrote:Fair enough. I understand. I won't judge you, and nor will I speculate about what that experience might have been.

Hahaha, it's not bad or nothing - Between the ages of like 3 and 5, I had a recurring nightmare where I was being eaten by a giant banana monster.

Haven't liked bananas since. My parents told me I LOVED them when I was a toddler.
-Aa
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Re: Best time for running?

Postby Dave_Wise » Sun May 30, 2010 11:01 pm UTC

oh well, there we are. Mind you, apparently quite a few higher-ups in the labour party love bananas. Gordon Brown, being scottish, apparently fries them. And the milibands practically live on the things, or so I'm told. Perhaps they heard people talking about how the UK is becoming a banana republic, they looked at a banana and then thought 'hmmmmmm. This has real possibilities'?
The future is always bright. Bombs generate quite substantial amounts of illumination
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debnby71760
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Re: Best time for running?

Postby debnby71760 » Thu Jun 03, 2010 2:17 pm UTC

IMO there is not really a best time to run...but what is important is to keep at it. I have a co-worker that was was over weight and getting a big gut. Several months later he lost 20 pounds. how? He started running. this is what he mainly did:

- Started out slow...ran a minute, walked a minute, ..continued this pattern and slowly built up the time he ran without stopping.
- Set a goal...his was to run a marathon in a year. Currently he has no problem running 15 miles NONSTOP.
- Mix other exercises in the mix...he started swimming and cycling. Again..slowly build up your endurance.
- EAT RIGHT...i cannot stess this enough. He was eating at Outback twice a week...steak and cheese fries. This has completely STOPPED.
- Stop drinking Pop. I would see him in the morning at 7 am drinking Mountain Dew. This is terrible for your body.
- Don't give up!!!

I know it is easier said then done but it does work. I see him everyday and the amount of weight he lost is great.

Hope that helps :-)

kakadu123
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Re: Best time for running?

Postby kakadu123 » Sat Jun 05, 2010 5:24 am UTC

For me its when is most convenient. with a kid and a full time job i try and run in whatever sparetime I have. I do usually prefer mornings as its over and done with and it sets me up for the day ahead. The distance I run again depends on the time available..

TobyKierth77
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Re: Best time for running?

Postby TobyKierth77 » Sat Jun 05, 2010 4:14 pm UTC

Ran 3.1 miles in 27 minutes. I'm slow and fat, but that's the best I can do. I really prefer walking. Its much easier for me :)

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Re: Best time for running?

Postby Tomo » Mon Jun 07, 2010 12:20 pm UTC

TobyKierth77 wrote:Ran 3.1 miles in 27 minutes. I'm slow and fat, but that's the best I can do. I really prefer walking. Its much easier for me :)


Good job! Getting started is always the hardest bit. Also though I don't know how fat "fat" is, you might want to look into biking to take some of the pressure off your knees.
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Re: Best time for running?

Postby michaelyw » Wed Jun 09, 2010 12:26 pm UTC

TobyKierth77 wrote:Ran 3.1 miles in 27 minutes. I'm slow and fat, but that's the best I can do. I really prefer walking. Its much easier for me :)

In the great scheme of things, that isn't slow. I ran my last 5K race (3.1 miles) in 24:30. So yes, your pace is slower than mine but who cares? Lots of people at the race took 30+ minutes to finish the same distance.

On the other hand, the winner of the 60+ age group ran it in 23 minutes.


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