What Time of Day Should You Run?

Evening Runs

Benefits: Recent studies have shown that lung function can be about six percent better in the late afternoon, which means you'll probably run faster at this time. The body's temperature is at its optimum level for a workout, so you'll feel stronger. Cortisol and thyrotropin, hormones that aid in energy metabolism, are also at their highest levels in the evening.

There is much debate about whether late workouts hinder or help sleep, but studies have found that one to three hours of moderate to high-intensity workouts result in more relaxing sleep.

For runners living in hot areas or runners prone to headaches from hot, sunny workouts, evening runs are easier on the body. The cooler temperatures after sundown also mean you won't be exposed to ultraviolet radiation.

After a tough day at work, an evening run might help you unwind. The endorphins might also help you relax and improve your mood, so you'll sleep better that night.

Drawbacks: Evening runners face the daunting struggle of getting in a workout after a long day at work. A nighttime run can also be dangerous.

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About the Author

Amanda Casanova

Amanda Casanova is a writer and journalist living in the Dallas, Texas area. She has worked for the Houston Chronicle, the Abilene Reporter-News and the Galveston County Daily News. She is an active runner and regularly competes in races in north Texas. She is currently training for her first half marathon. She blogs at http://tx.ag/casanova and tweets at @acasanova10.

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