When is the best time to run?

Running is an extremely advantageous exercise that has physical and psychological health benefits no matter what time of day you choose to do it. Whether you’re training for a marathon or just starting your running journey, finding the right time to run for you is essential to hitting your goals and staying consistent. 

From improving your cardiovascular health to helping you lose weight and building strength, running is an exercise everyone should try to fit into their lives. Keep reading as we discuss the benefits and drawbacks of running in the morning and the evening, so you can determine what time of day is best for you. 

Is it better to run at night or in the morning?

Whether you choose to run at 6am or 6pm, the most important factor in choosing what time of day to run is to pick a time that works with your schedule, energy levels and goals. The key to becoming a successful runner and maintaining a good level of fitness is building it into your routine. The easiest way to do this is to pick specific times that fit around your schedule where you are guaranteed to have free time to go for a run.

If you are trying to lose weight then running in the morning will be more beneficial, whereas if you’re running to de-stress or hit your personal bests then an evening run will be more advantageous.

Benefits of running in the morning 

If you’re an early riser and have more free time in the morning then this might be the best time of day for you to start running. There are many benefits to running at this time of day including:

  1. Burning fat quickly. Going for a morning run helps you absorb more oxygen and produce more energy that will keep you going throughout the day. This helps kick-start your metabolism and works towards helping your body burn fat. This might help you lose weight quicker if this is something you are working towards.
  2. Increasing muscle mass. Our body’s muscle-building hormones peak in the morning, therefore if you go for a run in the morning it will help you to build muscle quickly.
  3. Managing blood pressure. Running in the morning can also help you manage hypertension, with many studies showing that running between 5am and 8am can help lower blood pressure.
  4. Improving mood. Our body’s stress hormone, cortisol, which is responsible for disorders such as anxiety and depression reaches its peak in the morning. Running can help lower this hormone's presence by instead releasing happy hormones, also known as endorphins. 

Benefits of running in the evening

If you have more free time in the evenings to focus on working towards your fitness goals and setting aside time for yourself, running in the evening may be the best option for you. Benefits of running at night include:

  1. Preventing injuries. Our bodies are naturally more warmed up and our heart functions most efficiently in the evening, meaning that you are less likely to injure yourself, get cramps or have joint pain on an evening run. 
  2. Relieve stress and improve sleep. An evening run can help you de-stress after a long day as the release of endorphins helps to promote mental clarity and boost mood. Running at night has also been proven to help you sleep deeper and better.
  3. Running longer and faster. Our body’s oxygen and lung capacity are at their prime in the evening, meaning you will likely be able to run longer and faster at night compared to morning.
  4. Running more consistently. You are likely to run more consistently in the evening than in the morning as it is easier to fit into your daily routine. Running at night can be a great way to remove yourself from the distractions from the day and fit in more de-stressing ‘me’ time. 

Is it better to run on an empty stomach?

Running on an empty stomach is a controversial topic as it works for some people but doesn’t work for others. Most people choose to run on an empty stomach if they go for a morning run, this is known as ‘fasted running’ as it would have been at least 6 hours since your last meal in the evening before. The main benefits of ‘fasted running’ are as follows:

    • Increase your body’s ability to burn fat. On an empty stomach, your glycogen levels are low due to a lack of carbohydrates which are usually used for energy and instead use fat oxidation to give you this energy.
  • Fewer digestion problems. It’s common to experience digestive issues during prolonged exercise such as nausea, vomiting and stomach cramps. If you’re prone to these digestive problems, running on an empty stomach may help prevent these issues.

However, running on an empty stomach can be dangerous for some, as your body has little energy to carry you through your run and can lead to several drawbacks including:

  • Injury risk. Running without any food to give you body energy can lead to dizziness, dehydration and fatigue which may result in an increased likelihood of injury as your brain is not performing its best.
  • Reduced training intensity. If your body has no food to draw energy from, it will rely on using fat for energy however this is unsustainable and will eventually fail to meet the demands of your run, causing you to feel fatigued. In turn, this will make it difficult to maintain pace and endurance, preventing you from performing at your best.
  • Ineffective for long-term weight loss. Although running on an empty stomach in the morning can increase the chances of weight loss, if your body is constantly relying on sources of fat for energy, over time it will reduce the amount it burns fat and hold onto it instead.

If you can’t stomach a full meal before your morning run but still need something to give you energy, we would recommend choosing a light snack that will release energy slowly throughout your run such as whole grain cereal or toast, bananas, yoghurt or granola bars. Post-run we would suggest a high-protein and carbohydrate-dense meal to restore your energy levels and help muscle recovery.

Is it safe to run at 5 am?

Running at 5am is a great way to kickstart your day with some feel-good endorphins, however, if you’re running before the sun comes up, it’s important to consider what safety precautions you should take so that you can enjoy your run safely. 

Make sure when running in the dark to wear reflective clothing and running shoes so that you are visible to vehicles if running near roads. We also suggest planning a running route that sticks to well-lit areas to ensure your safety. 

Another tip for running safely is to find a running partner or join a local running group such as Park Run, so you can enjoy your workout without the worry of your safety.

What should I wear for running?

Here at Avec Sport, we have a wide range of running clothes for men and women that can help take your performance to the next level, equipping you with the right assets to support you on your running journey.

Men’s Running Clothes

Bodyfit Jersey £11.60 and Fusion Bodyfit Short £7.90  

Ideal for running outside on colder days, our men’s Bodyfit Jersey is a functional compression top made to keep you warm and supported throughout your workout. Made from stretchy, quick-dry fabrics this top is designed to allow breathability and optimum comfort whilst braving the elements on your outdoor run. Boasting a bright neon yellow colour, this top is great for increased visibility in bad weather or darker hours of the day, to ensure you’re kept safe throughout your run.

Allowing full flexibility is key to getting the most out of your run and our Fusion Bodyfit Short are the perfect solution to boosting your performance. Engineered with mesh panelling and quick-dry fabric, these shorts keep you cool during your workout and offer a secure, mouldable fit with an elasticated waistband. Perfect as a base layer for workouts in cold climates or worn alone as a breathable option for sunnier running days.

Women’s Running Clothes

Women's Tech Leggings £13.95 and Women's Tech Overlay £22.95  

Finding the perfect pair of leggings is essential to going the extra mile on your run. Crafted from lightweight, stretchy fabric that moves with you as you run, the Women's Tech Leggings offer a flattering and supportive mid-rise waistband and ultra-skinny fit. Made from sweat-wicking, breathable fabrics, these leggings are designed to offer insulation in colder weather and cool when things start to heat up. 

Maintaining a comfortable body temperature is essential to ensure you stay focused on your run. Designed to offer comfort and breathability, the Women's Tech Overlay features a stylish quarter-zip style, whilst the innovative sweat-wicking fabric is the perfect lightweight thermal layer to keep you cool during your workout.

Get the most out of your run with Avec Sport

Now that you’re equipped with the knowledge you need to get the most out of your run, it’s time to put our advice into action and get out there. Whether you’re a morning or an evening runner, ensuring you’ve got the right clothing to support you every step of the way is key to hitting your personal bests. Shop our full range of sportswear to find the perfect training outfits for your next run.