Early Morning or Late Evening – What is the Best Time to Jog?

“You have to wonder at times what you're doing out there. Over the years, I've given myself a thousand reasons to keep running, but it always comes back to where it started. It comes down to self-satisfaction and a sense of achievement.” - Steve Prefontaine

In my last few articles I have been looking at jogging in detail.  I’ve covered the mental benefits and the physical benefits.  Today I want to focus on something slightly different – the best time to jog.  If you work full time there are generally two times during the day that you have the opportunity to jog.  You can either jog in the early morning before you go to work or in the late evening after you finish work.  In this article I am going to discuss the benefits of both.

BENEFITS OF EARLY MORNING JOGGING:

1) IT MAKES YOU MORE ALERT:- Most people will admit that they are not fully alert during the first few hours of the day.  A good way to combat this is to do some exercise such as jogging first thing in the morning.  After a few minutes the blood starts to flow and you quickly start to feel a lot more switched on.  When you go for an early morning jog this feeling carries on for the rest of the day and allows you to feel a lot more alert for the rest of the day.

2) THERE ARE NO DISTRACTIONS:- If you get up early to go jogging there is nothing standing in your way.  You wake up, you go jogging and it is done.  However, if you leave it till after work there are many things that can happen to prevent your evening jog.  For example, something might come up at work meaning that you have to stay late and as a result you arrive home too late to go jogging.  Alternatively, your friends or family might pop round for a spontaneous visit meaning that an evening jog is no longer possible.  If you go jogging in the early morning there are almost no distractions and therefore you are more likely to do it.

3) IT GETS YOU OUT OF BED:- Some people (myself included) struggle to get out of bed if they have nothing to get up for.  Whist this is not a huge problem on work days it can mean that on your days off you sleep well into the afternoon.  However, if you stick to a regular jogging routine you have a reason to get out of bed and stay out of bed.

BENEFITS OF LATE EVENING JOGGING:

1) IT ALLOWS YOU TO WIND DOWN:- After a long hard day at work I find that jogging is a great way to wind down.  As I have discussed in previous articles, jogging is a great way to relax your mind.  It is also a great physical release for any stress you have experienced during the day.  Ultimately, an evening jog is a great way to end a tough day.

2) IT CAN MAKE YOUR EVENINGS MORE PRODUCTIVE:- When you get home from work what do you normally do?  Turn on the computer?  Watch some TV?  My first instinct is to do one of these two things.  If I give in to this instinct I quickly find that my entire evening is spent in front of either the TV or my computer.  After spending all day sitting in front of a screen at work I do not find this to be the most productive use of my evenings.  However, if I go for a jog instead it feels much more productive.  Not only am I getting some fresh air and getting my eyes away from the screen but I am also burning some extra calories, improving my physical fitness and much more.

3) YOUR PERFORMANCE IS BETTER IN THE EVENING:- Your muscles perform best when they are warm.  In the evening they are a lot warmer than the morning.  Therefore, by jogging in the evening your endurance will be better, your muscles will be stronger and you will be able to jog at peak performance.

As you can see both morning and evening jogging have their benefits.  Morning jogging can get you ready to face the day ahead whilst evening jogging can help you unwind after a hard days  work.  Ultimately, though the time of day is not important.  Each person will have their own individual preference but the important thing is to get out there and jog.

What do you guys think?  Are the above good ways to make jogging more fun?  Do you have any more ideas for making jogging more exciting.  Let me know by commenting on this post.

Sources:
Motivational Quotes about Running (About.com)

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Comments

  1. says

    I am a big advocate for early morning running. In addition to the great points you mentioned, it kick starts your metabolism, meaning you eat breakfast a little later, pushing lunch back as well. This reduces the time between lunch and dinner when those afternoon munchies can get the better of us.
    Secondly, your metabolism stays boosted for as long as 15hours after you exercise which pretty much covers breakfast, lunch and dinner. The faster your metabolism while you eat, the more fat you’ll burn.
    Finally studies show that morning exercisers stick to their program much longer than evening exercisers, and get better results. So lay out your clothes the night before, and Just do it (or as I like to say ‘JFDI’)

    [Reply]

    Tom Reply:

    I’m not sure which one I prefer Amelia. Whislt I agree that once you get going with morning jogging it is a lot easier to stick to the program, I find that if you have a bad day sometimes the best way to turn it around is to go out and run in the evening.

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  2. june says

    Is it okay to run in the morning and another rounds in the evening? Thanks…

    [Reply]

    Tom Reply:

    Hey June. Thanks for your comment. It is OK to run twice a day. However, make sure you pay attention to how your body feels. If you feel like you need a rest take a day off. Also make sure you are eating the right foods whilst you do this. Your body will need the nutrients to recover from the runs.

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  3. says

    Thanks Tom, great blog you have here.

    About running… I do prefer evenings, I surely don’t want to be fully alert and hearing my boss yelling at me till mid day :)

    [Reply]

    Tom Reply:

    Thanks for the comment Octavian. Some very valid benefits to being sluggish in the morning :-)

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  4. sriram ramachandran says

    thanks Tom, great article. I usually have mild back aches after jogging. So factoring that in, should i jog in the morning or evening ?

    [Reply]

    Tom Reply:

    Hey Sriram – That’s quite an odd sensation to have after jogging since this exercise does not directly impact your back. Have you tried adjusting your posture whilst jogging? I don’t think time of day is going to have an impact on your back aches. If the jogging is causing the back ache then the time that you jog is irrelevant.

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  5. Amber says

    Thank you. Last year i was in a routine of running at night after a 2-11 pm job where i am running all over a grocery store and i was definitely in shape. Now i have a 9-5 pm office job where i sit on my butt all day doing paperwork or just at the computer. I am finding it almost impossible to get back into the routine bc im so tired after work. Ive been at this job now for 8 months and i have gained almost 15 lbs. I am at 126 lbs and i want to be back at 110. So ive been trying hard to find a better way to get back into the routine. Thinking i probably should start running in the morning so it jump starts everything. A body in motion stays in motion; a body at rest stays at rest.

    [Reply]

    Tom Reply:

    Glad you liked the article Amber. Getting in a routine is almost as important as the time you choose to exercise. It’s so easy to fall out of a routine. Missing just 1 or 2 sessions can turn into missing 1 or 2 weeks and before you know it you can’t remember the last time you exercised. I’d say go for it with the morning running. Once you overcome the barrier of getting up a little earlier than usual it’s a really great way to start the day and still leaves your evenings free. Perhaps try and ease into it by running 2 mornings a week, then gradually build from there?

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  6. inner_silence says

    Hi,

    I am not a regular runner, however I run to keep my wait under control. I don’t run daily but10 KM once every two weeks,

    Is this a good habit, or would there be any side effects it can cause to my body in long run?

    Thanks,
    inner_silence

    [Reply]

    Tom Reply:

    Thanks for your comment. To be honest it’s not a topic I’ve done a great deal of research on. The only potential long term side effects I can think of would be the impact of jogging on your joints (hips and knees in particular).

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  7. says

    Hi .How are you .I have a question it makes me confusing. can I gain benefits if I do exercise at the different time ? for example when I exercise at 4 pm then at the next day I exercise at 7 pm can I gain the same benefits although there are different times between both times ? and are there benefits at night exercise ? Can I change my exercise from morning into evening will I gain benefits also although I change ? and thank you .excuse me for my question

    [Reply]

    Tom Reply:

    Hey Sami – To be honest this is a topic I’ve not looked at for quite a while so I probably need to do a little refresher on the topic.

    I’ve read studies that support all times of day when it comes to exercise. Personally I think the impact is minimal. You might get slightly more benefit at certain times of the day but the main benefit comes from the actual exercise – not the time of day.

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  8. Alex V. says

    i work a 830-430 job and then have a 530 til 8pm class in the evening. I haven’t been running or going to the gym in months. How late is it too late to go jogging? I’m still trying to figure out a good schedule for my eating as well.

    [Reply]

    Tom Reply:

    Hi Alex – I’d say no time is too late. It all depends on your lifestyle. What time do you normally sleep? Could you fit in a jog between your 8pm class finishing and you going to bed?

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  9. Linh says

    Hi guys,

    I think the best things is to listen to your body. I always want to jog in the morning.. however, i just cannot wake up so early since i go to bed late. I feel ashamed about waking up late (10am or 8 am). In my country, Vietnam, its hot and the sun raise at 5. if i go to job at 8am, i will be burned like.. cream brule. So, i go to jog around 6pm and feel its ok to sleep at 12. If i go to jog at 9pm, i will feel so alert and find its hard to go to sleep around 12. But also maybe i wake up late. it all depends.
    the best way is to put your shoes on, get your iPod and move your ass. after 3 days, your muscle will feel sore. For those who want to lose weight, do some sprints along your jogging. you will feel the jogging or 3 or 5 km is so easy after 1 or 2 sprints. Also, sprints help to boost your metabolism, means you burn more calories even your sitting or sleeping. :D strange, but its true!

    bottom line: find a good shoes, and iPod with tons of fast, exciting songs, and jog! its awesome feeling afterward!

    Also, no pain no gain! you will gain more than pain with jogging!

    Linh

    [Reply]

    Tom Reply:

    Some great tips there Linh. You’re spot on with listening to your body. We’re all individuals and we all function best at different times of the day.

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  10. shatir says

    hi tom,im looking to be happy via fitness,,im suffering from mental pressure,,,,my brain’s getting hallow and really im really going insane with no concentration or will power,, so to get out of this lazy i prefering jogging,,help me wen shuld i jog,,leave me ur mail id :)

    [Reply]

    Tom Reply:

    Hi Shatir – Sorry to hear you’re currently suffering from mental pressure. To answer your question, the best time to jog probably depends on your current lifestyle. I actually covered this topic in more detail in this post this post.

    [Reply]

  11. Hamad says

    Hey, thanks for the info

    I have a question, before jogging in the morning, do I need to eat something? If yes what, how much and how much before you start?

    Thanks.

    [Reply]

    Tom Reply:

    Hey Hamad,

    My personal opinion is that meal timing doesn’t have that much of an effect on your overall fitness or weight loss, so really it depends on you and what fits your lifestyle best. If eating before you run fits your schedule better, do that. If eating once you get back is the best choice for you, then do that.

    As for what to eat, just a usual healthy breakfast. An omelette, some oatmeal, fruit and yoghurt are just some of the many options.

    As for how much, this really depends on your fitness goals. If you’re trying to lose weight, less than what you’re currently eating now. If you’re trying to maintain your weight, eat the same as what you eat now. If you’re trying to gain weight, eat a bit more than what you’re eating now.

    Hope this helps,

    Tom

    [Reply]

  12. Amanda says

    Hi Tom,

    I lost 5Kg in 2 months when I was working as market surveyer. I believe this was because of I walk whole day when doing survey.

    I changed new job recently. This is 9-6 office work. Therefore I started my run in the morning. Yes, I feel energitic when starting my work daily but I feel sleepy start from 11am. Could you tell me what when wrong?

    Thanks.

    [Reply]

    Tom Reply:

    Hi Amanda – How much sleep are you getting at night? If you’re getting up earlier, then you will need to go to bed earlier to ensure that you’re getting the same amount of sleep. Also, make sure you don’t skip breakfast because of your morning run. If you’re doing more running but eating less, this could also contribute to your tiredness. Hope this helps.

    [Reply]

  13. Ron Buddo says

    I’m in a Masters swim club and our i hour sessions begin at 6 am. The coaches give us a pretty heavy workout, and contrary to the theory of getting the day off to a great start, I find that by late morning I’m fading fast. Fortunately I’m self-employed and can take a nap, otherwise I’d be in trouble.

    [Reply]

    Tom Reply:

    Hi Ron – Thanks for getting in touch. I’ve heard a lot of people say the same thing with early morning workouts. It’s good you can take a nap to account for it :).

    [Reply]

  14. Suzydo says

    I like to run either in the morning or afternoon; I find working out, doing either a home workout DVD or a run gets my day off to a good start and I like to relax in the evenings :)

    [Reply]

    Tom Reply:

    Sounds great Suzydo.

    [Reply]

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