Evening runner struggling with morning runs

I'm hoping someone might be able to help me. I've been running since August last year but I've only been doing fairly short distances (around 2 or 3 mile runs). I work full time 9-5.30 and my commute is about an hour so I can only train in the evenings on weekdays and at weekends. Overall my training has been going well and I enjoy my runs, I try and get out for at least 2 runs a week as well as doing a Spinning class once a week (half an hour) and some weight training in the gym.

My problem is that I am wanting to do a 10k at the end of March, and it starts at 10am. Now I thought because I am progressing well with my runs (evenings at about 6.30/7pm + weekends at about 3pm) I would be fine to do this 10k. However I went out for a morning run (2.5 miles so nothing different to my normal evening routes) around 10am when I had a light breakfast (cereal and one slice wholewheat toast) and I found it unbearably difficult! I tried again the next day (thinking the day before was a one off) and again, it was horrible and I found myself walking quite a lot, something which I have not had to do since 2009!

So my question is why am I finding it so hard to run in the mornings? And is there anything I can do to improve this situation? I was wondering if it was lack of food seen as my body is used to running in the evening when I have had breakfast and lunch, plus fruit (I dont really snack apart from an apple late afternoon)? Or is it simply a case of more practice in the mornings to get my body used to it? It is a problem because I cannot run weekday mornings so I would only be able to go out Sat + Sun mornings, something which I admit does not really appeal to me seen as I like to enjoy my weekends!

Let me know your thoughts or if you have any advice/tips for me!



  • I'm very much an afternoon/evening runner
    never been able to get to grips with running in the morning - no desire to either image
    for morning races I just get up really early, grin, bear it and do a longer warm-up than usual  - usually the adrenalin of doing a race then gets me through OK
    I do tend to look for races that start later though - you can usually find an alternative race that starts at 11:00am (or 2:00pm if you're really lucky!)
    evening fell races in the summer are my fave image

  • Hi Katherine - I'm an early morning runner (around 5-5.30am).  Make sure you're well hydrated (not just before you, but the previous day as well).  Eat a decent dinner the night before and then just get up and go ... possibly you're going out too soon after eating and your body is still digesting.

  • It is more difficult I think just getting out of the door at this time of the year, esp first thing in the morning. You will get better, but perhaps lower your expectations of how you will 'feel'. If you manage a run in the moring and evening, you will soon start to see real improvements.

    To make it easier, I would suggest laying your kit out ready for you to put on (check weather forecast night before), and make sure you get the alarm early enough to 'make it worthwhile', rather than a quick 20 min pootle, and allow yourself time to wake up....I normally have a cup of hot milk or sweet tea, and perhaps half or one weetabix, not too much.

    With regards to your alarm clock....use your mobile, and put it on the other side of the room, so you have to get out of bed to turn it off.

  • Katherine - very admirable. Doubt that lack of food/ energy is the issue for relatively short runs. Are you getting up earlier but going to bed at the same time? If you are depriving yourself of sleep, it would be easy to dread an early run and make some sort of psychological obstacle for yourself.

    Look at it as an opportunity to start the day with a boost of energy, grab your brekkie after the run, and maintain a buzz into the day. Think you can grow to love it.  Good luck!

  • Thanks for all of your thoughts guys!

    I know I'm not lacking in motivation - I would say I feel the same way about running in the morning as I do in the evenings so I dont think it is that. I definitely cant run in the morning during the week otherwise I would be getting about 5 hours sleep and that is no good. The problem is work - I have an hour commute to and from work, so I leave the house at 8am, and being a girl I take about an hour to get ready so I'm up at 7. So to then think about going for a run, I'd need to be out of the house at 6.15 ish which is just unrealistic for me to be getting up at that time. This is mostly because I'm not back home until 7 or 8pm, so once I have had my evening meal and done all the bits I need to do I'm never in bed before 11pm or 12pm. I'm pushing for a promotion at work so there is not a lot I can do about my hours at the moment, I just cant seem to leave the office before 6pm at the moment!

    So it only really applies to running in the morning at weekends - I tried this for the first time last weekend and I cant believe how much I struggled. It wasnt a "cant be bothered" sort of feeling, it was more my legs were like lead and painful to move, I felt sick the entire way around and I was breathing hard right from the start. I cant understand why I felt like this in the morning over a distance I am used to running, whereas when I run this distance at the same speed in the evening I feel find and enjoy it?  It really took me by surprise how I felt last weekend - it was such a strong physical reaction and I have not felt that bad whilst running since I started back in Augut 2009! Hence why I thought it was just a weird one-off the first time, so I tried again Sunday morning and felt the exact same way. 

    I was just hoping there would be an explanation, or at least some tips on how to overcome it! But maye I will just have to grin and bear it, and hope the adrenaline on the day gets me through!

  • I can't run in the morning from my house as I live in the country so a bit dangerous to run on the roads in the dark.

    so, i get up, put on my running stuff, take work stuff with me go into work, do a run near my office, then shower and go into work. that works better for me as the commute in (about an hr) gives me enough time to wake up, have some water/banana en route which seems to make the run a bit easier.

    i also think i'm faster getting ready so I don't have to get up as early as if I was going for a run straight from the house - you never take as long having a shower in the work changing rooms!

  • I'm by preference an evening runner but often do my weekend runs in the morning - I really notice the difference if I've not had enough water the day before  - so it might be worth a try just drinking plenty before you go to bed the day before?

  • dont eat before your run in the morning.
  • my tips would be:

    1) to completely avoid alcohol the evening before you go for a run in the morning, and to drink plenty of water / juices;

    2) have a very strong coffee as soon as you wake up (an espresso is perfect as not too much liquid)

    3) don't have your normal breakfast - and given you're only doing a shortish run, limit yourself to a banana

    4) start slowly - my first half mile in the morning is nothing more than putting one foot in front of the other, and only after that do I start thinking about what I'm meant to be doing......

  • I'm definitely an evening runner too. Morning training has been just horrible every time I've tried it. However, on race day everything seems to run fine. I guess it's the extra adrenaline, or the fact that I've been up for three hours already, or the fact that I ate and drank plenty the night before, or whatever.
  • Katherine,

    I used to feel very much the same as you about morning runs. I loved evenings, but mornings just hurt too much. I kept doing them, due to my hubby's schedule.

    After a year or so, my hubby changed workplaces, which meant that we had to do our morning runs earlier. Instead of 8am we started at 7am. For some strange reason, this sorted my mornings. These days I don't struggel at all, though I am still slower than at the evenings.

    To cut it short, I don't have and advise, you need to get used to the mornings and they will improve, but not eating much before helps, too. All I wanted to say, is that it is perfectly normal to feel differently throughout the day. Don't worry about your race, though, the adrenalin will help you.

  • Quit exercising in the evenings and you will be able to get to bed earlier; doing just one of these will mean a better nights sleep, doing both is even better. Now you will be able to get up earlier to do your morning runs. Have a cup of tea then start running slowly and take it from there. When you finish, stretch, have breakfast and then proceed as usual.

    This works for me and may not work for you, but I think it's worth a try.

    May I also suggest not drinking any caffeinated drinks or alcohol after 15:00, quality sleep is very important.

  • Don't start your morning run too quickly, ease into it.

    By easing into i, it helps waken your body up,

    Hope this helps.

  • Hi Katherine, I have just been for a run and have basically the same problem word for word, how have you found your morning runs since starting this post. Any improvement?

     I had mild asthma when i was a kid, found after this mornings run that i was a bit weazie, i have a theory that drinking coffee etc and being up and at work loosens (cant think of a better word to describe!) me up throughout the day, in the morning my chest is tight which is why i struggle.

     Im not a Doctor so as above is just a theory,

     Have done some searching on the internet, this doesnt seem to be a very common problem, so I too would love some advise as am also looking to get into races which means early starts.

  • Hi Katherine

    Been watching your thread and finally got round to doing a morning run. The best advice I found/used was the recommendation to have a cup of tea before heading out which, according to my wife, is better than water as the milk (protein) gives the stomach something to "chew" on as your body wakes up.

    A morning run also gives you the most smug feeling when you get into work and, whether psychological or not, I did fell more switched on for the whole day (shattered in the evening though).

    It was a pretty miserable morning but I am looking forward to running in the early morning sun.

    Good luck!

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