Evening Vs Morning racing

Does anyone else have problems with performance when racing in the morning compared to the evening? I have always felt much better and raced much better in the evening when (presumably because) I have been able to eat and hydrate properly throughout the day. When I do morning races I always feel like I am lacking in energy and just don't feel 'up for it'.


For instance, my 10k PB is 37.20 and I know I am in the same kind of form because I ran a 4 mile race last night and finished under the pace of 6 min miling yet when I did a 10k on a Sunday morning 2 weeks ago i finished in 40.12 and felt rubbish whilst doing it compared to feeling fresh last night. It was a similar kind of course and I have done enough races to know that bad days happen and all that but this is a common theme for me.


I always have a decent breakfast normally of cereals and fruit at least 2 hours before racing in a morning but I think there is something else to it that I can't put my finger on. This has been a problem for the last couple of years now so just looking to see what some of you other experienced runners do and if other people have the same sort of problem. Training runs are less of an issue as I naturally tend to be less 'on the edge' so it only really is noticeable in races where that extra oomph seems to be missing. I know what works for 1 person might not/won't work for me but looking for some ideas as to why it might be like this aside from hydration/food.


  • DazTheSlugDazTheSlug ✭✭✭

    both enjoyment & performance-wise
    I've given up doing parkruns cos it's pointless for me
    I much prefer running in the evening - summer weekday races are bliss
    even weekend races I always look for ones that start in the afternoon

    I don't think it's got anything to do with nutrition/hydration/getting used to it - you're just either a "morning person" or you're not
    I'm not.


  • I don't really 'race' much, but I prefer being out in the morning rather than the evening by far.

    I actually feel more rested, and therefore more energetic, in the morning.  At the end of a working day I'm often quite tired and lethargic.

  • NayanNayan ✭✭✭

    I am a morning person and tend to do most of my running at 5:30/6am before breakfast.

    I do notice on those occasions when say a midweek longish run has to be done in the evening that pace/heartrate can be a bit better than I'd expect. I suspect its to do with how well fueled you are. 

  • Nose NowtNose Nowt ✭✭✭

    Did anyone see the surge of news articles about the body-clock about 3 weeks ago.  I remember them saying that our bodies aren't optimal for exercise until later in the day... and many professional sports people now choose to do their training later in the day than they used to do.

    A brief summary is here... www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-27161671

  • I find racing in the evenings hard.I'm tired and i feel sluggish after eating and drinking too much.

     Mornings I am much fresher and faster

  • DT19DT19 ✭✭✭
    Apparently the core time for sporting and athletic performance is late afternoon/early evening.
  • RicFRicF ✭✭✭

    2 hours is a bit too close to the race for eating, 10 minutes or 4 hours is better.

    Most people are a pint or so down on fluid when they wake up, and of course the ones who simply cannot bear going to sleep before 3:00am will always have a problem with morning races.

    I'm a morning person as well. Speed sessions before 7:00am. On the other hand, by 8:00pm I'm falling asleep. I might wake up for an hour or two around mid-night but by 5:00am I'm out and about.

  • I have exactly the same problem always race/run better on an afternoon and evening. Only solution I have come up with is get up stupidly early so its gives my body plenty time to wake up and can eat plenty food
  • I like morning races but like to train in the evening as long as they're not long runs , due to work commitments recently I had to do a 20 mile run after work my god that wasn't pretty, sluggish and over fuelled is how I felt . To completely contradict myself  I recently took part in a race that started  at 12:30 , I was worried about eating properly etc but I felt great throughout so who knows ??image

  • Go CazGo Caz ✭✭✭

    I think it's purely down to whether you're a lark or an owl, not hydration or nutrition. I much prefer to race in the evenings, providing of course that I haven't had a really tiring or stressful day. I did also read somewhere that research shows most athletes race better in the evening.

  • Interesting stuff, so in summary, short of getting up 12 hours before the race start and convincing my body it is evening at 10 am, I may as well stick to afternoon and evening races.
  • DT19DT19 ✭✭✭

    My 10k and hm pbs came in races with slightly later starts than the normal 9am. Half was midday and 10k was 10.30. Its not much but enough to wake up!!! I'm quite definately not a morning person. I had a 6.30 start today and it was painful, yet at 12.40 im not entirely bothered now about bed. 

  • Agree that there is scientific data to back up the claim that many great times and records have been achieved late afternoon/early evening - I thought body temperature had something to do with it too? As these are the times that your body's temperature is at it's highest, and that helps apparently!

    For Parkruns definitely get up early and then have a gentle run down to the venue - I did about 8/9 miles last time, really steady, and got down there for 8.30. I would definitely reccommend a longer than usual warm up for these, just because of the time of day.

  • It makes no difference to me. I am an any day, any time type of guy. I do not look for excuses. Some days you win, some days you lose.

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