We all like to lie in, but sometimes getting up early can have massive advantages; none more so when it comes to running. That fresh morning air, the vacant streets and nothing to distract you from your thoughts as you power through your run, with the satisfying feeling that most mere mortals are lazily embracing their duvets.
Early morning runs can certainly give you a feeling of somewhat superiority and whilst no-one likes arrogance, it’s true that these feelings of power can supercharge your workout and give you extra confidence; not to mention the gains in time you can make.
As Fred Lebow (the founder of the New York Marathon) says:
“When you run in the morning, you gain time. It’s like stretching 24 hours into 25. You may need less sleep and get up earlier, but if you can get by that, running early seems to expand the day.”
In terms of time, it’s unquestionable that getting up early to train is certainly beneficial, it can make you feel more awake and fresher when you finish training and start your day. For those who find training a chore, then getting it out of the way first thing is also beneficial as you can then relax and enjoy the rest of your day. The early morning world is also a wonderfully surreal place, it has an air of exclusivity, you can experience some great sights and sounds that you wouldn’t normally experience in the normal day. Just set your GPS and away you go…
Biologically, your body is ruled by its circadian rhythm; this is the daily rhythm or body clock and is influenced by several factors, such as when you eat, when you sleep and most importantly when your body experiences light. So if you are not used to waking up early then exercising early will disrupt your circadian rhythm and will be hard at first; but if you persist, you can adapt your rhythm to suit exercising early in the morning.
However, there is one big consideration to make before you decide to start training early in the morning. Studies have shown that physical performance is better when exercising early evening, this is mainly due to the higher core temperature of the body later in the day compared when you first wake up as well as unfavourable hormone levels such as cortisone. As a result if you are aiming to improve your PB then it’s best to do it later in the day.
So in summary; whilst getting in the habit of training early in the morning may mean you’re able to squeeze exercise into your day, if you are aiming to achieve peak performance then exercising around 6pm is ideal.
Here is the next blog article in the marathon series: