March 30, 2021

Training In The Morning vs. The Evening

Do you train in the morning or evening? What’s better? In this article, we discuss some pros and cons of morning vs evening training.

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Sometimes I get asked a direct A vs B training question. Like…

“Should I train in the morning or the evening?”

My honest answer: “I don’t know. You should try both and see which one you like best.”

When it comes to performance, consistency is the ultimate performance enhancer, so optimising for consistency, regardless of what that looks like for you, is best.

If you’re a morning person and like to train in the morning, do that. If you want to run at lunchtime, do that. If training in the evening is best for you, great, do that.

The time of day is secondary to doing the work.

My personal preference is to train in the morning for most sessions because I like to start the day with a win. And, some other benefits come from training in the morning …

  1. If there is lightning or the weather is otherwise poor, you still have an opportunity later in the day to complete your training.
  1. I like to do low-intensity training on an empty stomach. Training fasted in this way helps to improve fat burning and is best done after fasting overnight. I wake up, have a glass of water, and go.  
  1. I find myself easily distracted in the evening. If a meeting runs long, or I am invited for dinner or drinks, it’s easy to let training slide away, and with it, your consistency.
Cut Race Times, Not Corners.

Racing at your potential and enjoying training is easy when you’re following the right programme.

For some specific sessions, like interval sessions where the effort
required is higher, I will train later in the day. There are two primary
reasons for this …

  1. When you wake in the morning, you’re in a state of dehydration from
    not drinking overnight—having time before the session allows me to
    hydrate and fuel, so I begin the session with energy in the tank.
  1. My body has more chance to loosen and warm-up, and my mind has time to focus and hype itself up to give a good effort. 

Sometimes you don’t have an option. The training frequency required
for athletes training for long course triathlon, for example, requires
that an athlete train multiple times each day.

In these situations, careful planning and robust systems are
essential to fitting everything in and recovering between sessions. As James Clear says in his best-seller, Atomic Habits, “you don’t rise to the level of your goals, you fall to the level of your systems.”

Set up sound systems and let consistency be your guide.

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How We Use Season Planning To Improve Performance

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Ben Pulham

Ben Pulham is the founder of Coached, a personalised training programme that helps runners & triathletes optimise, track and enjoy their training.