A blog by runners. For runners.

Tips for late afternoon or evening runner

Tips for evening and afternoon runnersNow that the time has changed and the sun is out later into the evenings, I feel I’m in my running prime. I have always preferred running late in the day – who’s with me on this? I use to feel like there weren’t too many of us (most of my friends prefer early morning running), but I have seen so many folks out after 5 p.m., I just had to write about it.

Whereas morning running comes with its own unique challenges (fueling properly at the start of the day, getting the body moving from a sleep standstill, and time constraint with having work and other places to go), evening running– too – isn’t always easy. Before I transitioned to a freelance career, I worked desk jobs for nearly a decade, and I’d run after work most days of the week.
By the time work was over and it was time to exercise, I’d often feel mentally spent. My legs were stiff from sitting at my desk all day, and I’d try to get in my workouts before dinner, which was smack  in the middle of my afternoon lull of energy.
Here are some things that helped:
Take your breaks
A body in motion tends to stay in motion. So, if you can, avoid sitting every minute of the day. Take your 15- minute break away from your desk and walk around the halls or even outdoors if you can. I get it, though. Sometimes breaks just aren’t an option. If you can’t leave your office or cubical, do some discrete workouts that get your legs moving. You may even want to pursue getting a treadmill desk if you’re lucky.
Pack a snack
If you’re anything like me, snacking gets you through the day. I’m definitely one of those people who need stable energy via food at regular intervals. For afternoon running, I like to eat a couple energy chunks before heading out. It’s tempting to grab something sweet and sugary, but keeping it homemade and all natural means more sustained energy for you! (A leaner waistline and fatter wallet, too.)
Set out your clothes
Nothing is worse than feeling motivated to run despite odds being stacked against you and then not being able to find your favorite shirt or shorts. I’ve spent over half an hour searching around the house for a shoe before. The solution is simple: Set out your workout clothing in your bed in the morning so it’s ready when you are. If you head to the gym, just make sure to pack everything ahead of time versus taking a pit-stop home, where you might get distracted and skip your workout.
Ease into routine
It can be incredibly difficult making the swap from relatively sedentary to running a major speed workout. Give your legs time to adjust. This might mean walking for 5-10 minutes before jogging. Or taking an longer warmup, if necessary. You know how you feel, so do anything and everything to get your body and mind to shift gears. It will happen, I promise! Over time, you’ll develop better habits and be able to get going faster.
Thing is: There’s no “right” time of the day to work out. And your preferences will likely change over time as your training, responsibilities, and priorities do. If you find yourself absolutely dreading your afternoon workouts, take a step back and examine why. I’ve gone through periods of time when morning running was actually fun (in the hot weather), others where I had time to run during lunch, etc. Do what works for you in whatever season of life you’re in.
Written by  Ashley Marcin.