What’s the best time to go running? Interesting question. And one that many people have different opinions over.
I thought I knew when, in my opinion, the best time to run was. Until recently, at least.
Like many runners, I’ve got a couple of well-established running routines. I try not to get too caught up in them, and they do vary: on a Saturday, my routine is built around a 9am Parkrun, and I tend to run in the morning on a Sunday too.
On weeknights, my routine generally involves going running straight after work, either by myself or with my friend and fellow London Marathon runner Matt.
Running straight after work made total sense. At least until a few months ago. I lived about ten minutes away from my office, so could get home, rest for a bit, go for a run and still be home in time to cook and eat at a reasonable time. Then my company moved.
Suddenly, my ten-minute walk home from work became a 30-minute, two-mile plod (yes, I know, it’s still not exactly a massive hassle-filled commute on crowded roads or rubbish public transport. I’m very lucky…). On the nights I go running with Matt this wasn’t a problem: I’d change in work, go for a run near the office and then Matt would drop me off near my house on his drive home.
On the nights I was running by myself, the route wasn’t so obvious. That extra distance on my commute meant I was getting home later, and a bit more tired. It was hard to quickly turn around and get out running. I’d occasionally end up resting a bit too long, going running a bit late, and then cooking and eating later than I’d like.
A few weeks back, I got home and just couldn’t motivate myself to head out for a run. So I decided to have an unplanned night off. And then something strange happened. With the long summer evenings it was still light an hour or so later, not long before 9pm, and rested and fed I was full of energy.
So I went for a run.
And it was brilliant.
It was refreshing, relaxing and glorious. The air was cooler, the roads and pavements were quieter, and the world looked beautiful in the setting sun. Delightful.
I’ve done it a few times since then, and I’m now a confirmed fan of the late evening run. At least in the summer. It almost certainly won’t be as fun in winter when it’s cold and dark.
Does that make running late in the evening the right thing to do? No. It just means it’s an option. Some people far prefer going running first thing in the morning before they head into work (I’ve done it occasionally, but normally struggle for time given how long it takes me to feel ready for running after I wake up…).
That’s the thing: the best time to run is the time that suits your schedule the best. It’s all about finding a way to incorporate running in your life without it becoming a hassle or inconvenience.
So when is the best time to run?
Simple: whenever you can…