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It’s All in the Timing

by Christine Skelly » on May 31, 2011 8

When you begin to pay attention to the running quirks you develop over time, it becomes obvious that time and place factor heavily into your run and how smoothly it goes. I know last summer when I had first gotten my Sprints I ran whenever I could, and often that meant running at the notoriously worst part of the day when summer sets on: anytime from 12 to 4. And while our records were broken daily for high temperatures, I felt the effects as I set off pounding the concrete.

I have never been one to designate a particular time and stick to it, my philosophy sees that as a way to inhibit the time I have to run since much of my schedule is arbitrary. Thus, I have learned that all parts of the day have their running pros and cons.

Being a night owl, my favorite time to run used to be 11pm or even later. I know it sounds a bit crazy, especially times like 3am or something, but late at night running is peaceful and quiet with cool summer air to accompany you. The dark cool blanket of the sky doesn’t beat upon you like the afternoon sun and cools your sweat and fills your lungs anew. Nighttime offers solitude which is one reason why I like it best, time to think and mull while the world sleeps.

Very early morning also serves as a good time because it is before or right around sunrise and the morning air is dense with dew, and you can watch the world wake up. Running along the beach boardwalk, where I often run, offers a great view of the sunrise to enhance the experience. I enjoy seeing others out at this time because it offers a sense of camaraderie, that there are others pulling themselves out of bed just like me. Though with this time slot, there is often a time restriction. Work in an hour. Got to get back. Shower. Make breakfast. Get dressed. The restriction of having a deadline makes nighttime beat out the morning despite the great feeling of starting the day off right with a good run.

While mid-day 12-4 can be a good opportunity to squeeze in some activity in your VFFs, this time period will result in dehydration faster, with  the possibility of heat stroke and exhaustion if you overdo it. Sun exposure only adds to the list of possible effects of midday running in the sunnier seasons. I also suspect that running on the hot asphalt so much may have worn through my Sprints last summer, but it may have just been the asphalt.

Has anyone experienced similar effects of hot pavement resulting in increased wear?

When is your favorite time to run and why? Is it scheduled in or do you go when the feeling strikes?  Let us know in the comments, we’d love to hear from you.


  1. Dan

    May 31st, 2011 at 10:47 am

    I love to run at dusk. I always like to think that I’m racing against the sunset (cheesy I know). But if I get home before its dark.. I’ve won.


  2. Todd

    May 31st, 2011 at 10:56 am

    I’ve never really set a time and stuck with it either, I tend to run when I can. For the longest time it would be right after work around 4-4:30. Since I’m currently unemployed I tend to rise early and run in the morning. I would love to run at night but living where I do I’d be afraid of being hit by a car. My philosophy is run when you can as long as you stay active.


  3. Brian

    May 31st, 2011 at 11:02 am

    I generally do my active stuff after we put the kids to sleep, somewhere around 8pm. I’m excited for the day that my kids are old enough to run around with me.


  4. rustypants

    May 31st, 2011 at 11:08 am

    I’m easily distracted by visual noise, so my running always takes place after the sun goes down. I usually run between 10pm and midnight – helps me stay focused, get in my stride, and not think about a lot of other things.


  5. Kai

    May 31st, 2011 at 11:37 pm

    I am still new to the entire running world, but I do enjoy certain things more than others. I enjoy running at night, when the sun is down, Texas heat is down to its 80’s and only a few dim street lights are shining their unreal glow on the pavement. This dimming down of the immediate surroundings strengthen my focus on the run and the beauty of it. When I make mistakes, I feel it much more than in bright daylight, fighting the near 100F and the side effects of it. The Texas skies can be amazing at night; it is truly amazing when I am so close to feeling the street, the grass and the change of texture where I set my VFF’s down. So, yes. Running at night is just the way to go.

    Just my $0.02. :) Enjoy running, y’all!


  6. Christine Skelly

    June 12th, 2011 at 2:13 am

    I didn’t know there were so many fellow night owls! Glad to hear that, and I agree that running at night is much more forgiving in terms of if you didn’t hydrate properly you certainly won’t suffer as much.

    Cool summer air is unbeatable at night, especially after a storm!

    And I love morning “dusk” when it is barely light out–the stillness of the world is so peaceful.


  7. Andrew Klein, DC (@Barefoot_DC)

    August 28th, 2011 at 9:13 am

    I’m a night time runner too. Usually 8:30 or later, after we get the offspring to bed.


  8. Brent

    December 10th, 2011 at 2:08 am

    I live in the So Cal Desert and the temps in the summer reach into the low 100s. I’m a crossfitter and you can find me wodding I’m my five fingers most every wod. The hot ashphalt does pose issues for me, sometimes causing blistering on the balls ofy feet. Well that was in my KSOs. Mow that I have a pair of Komotosports the blister days are a thing of the past.


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