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Why does running in the afternoon SUCK???

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Jim Lentz
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Why does running in the afternoon SUCK??? Empty Why does running in the afternoon SUCK???

Post  Tim C Fri Jan 17, 2014 9:36 pm

So I do 95% of my runs in the early morning and have ever since I started run a few years back.  My new job is such that to run before work this time of year forces me to run in the dark, which I despise.  Mainly because I have a great dirt trail thru town that I run but it is pitch black after dark so my early runs now have to be at the gym or on city streets, which I don't like to do because of sidewalks, driveways and such.

At any rate, sometimes when I can't get a run in in the morning I'll knock off a little early and run after work.  What I don't understand is why does every single afternoon run suck so bad?  Not once in a while, but EVERY SINGLE TIME!  I just finished a silly 4 mile run and it was so bad I actually stopped and walked a couple of times - something I never do - except on afternoon runs.

I try to eat a sensible lunch on days when I plan on running after - actually I try to eat a sensible lunch most days.  But nothing prevents my afternoon runs from just flat out being hard. 

I wonder, is it just because my body is used to running at 7 am that running at 4 pm messes everything up?  What about all the runners who ONLY run after work - does running a race at 7am feel hard to them?

Does anyone else that runs mostly at one time of day find that runs at any other time of day are much more difficult, or am I the only lucky one?
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Post  Schuey Fri Jan 17, 2014 9:53 pm

Tim I really think it is due to the fact that you, your mind and body are so use to running in the morning all the time. It's routine that you have gotten us to, therefore running in the afternoon is still somewhat a shock.

I use to always run at the same time of the day but not anymore. I work an Asian shift now, where at one time I worked from home and ran a lot at the same time. Now, I run at all times anywhere from 2am in the morning all the way to 8pm at night. At first all of it was hard but now after almost 3 years I have gotten use to it and on top of that I have gotten use to all the training and on 5 1/2 to 6 hours sleep.  

Hang in there and keep plugging away and you will in time get use to it!
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Post  Mark B Fri Jan 17, 2014 10:57 pm

It only sucks because your body isn't adapted to it yet.

If you've done a lot of runs in the early morning, you're not used to the warmer temperatures and more direct sunlight that you get in the afternoon. It can make a bigger difference than you think.

When I've been stuck doing early morning runs (or the gloom of a Pacific Northwest winter), sudden exposure to warmer temperatures and direct sun sucks all the energy out of my body and raises the perceived effort level far beyond what one might reasonably expect. Unfortunately for me, that has tended to happen on the day I'm running a spring marathon.  Neutral 

Keep at it, and I bet it starts feeling more natural before long.
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Post  Michele "1L" Keane Sat Jan 18, 2014 1:21 pm

A transition like that is hard which is why I try to run at different times during the day, but I have such flexibility as I work from home.  However, when I didn't I always tried to run at least one early evening run and one lunchtime run in a week.  One other thing to be cognizant of is your hydration.  I find that I sometimes don't drink enough during the day to sustain that 6:30 pm run.  Although you are probably eating fine, make sure you are drinking enough too.
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Post  Jim Lentz Mon Jan 20, 2014 12:30 pm

Do you drink caffeine in the morning before your morning runs?
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Post  Michael Enright Mon Jan 20, 2014 2:54 pm

When I am doing most of my runs in the morning (summer, training for a marathon), I find that my afternoon runs, especially an afternoon long run, are much more likely to go off the rails. I think I've just used up more energy at that point in the day and have to watch myself more. On the other hand, when I've trained mostly at night (late winter, training for a spring marathon), it is much less of an issue, and afternoons are just fine.
I think your body just needs to adapt. Until/unless it does, just take it easier in the pm.
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Post  Jerry Tue Jan 21, 2014 9:29 am

I hope it is easy run where you just need to get in the distance. There was a cycle I had to run long runs Monday nights, every one of them sucked. Luckily I just needed to get in the miles. Running
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Post  Jordan S. Tue Jan 21, 2014 10:03 am

I am also forced to run in the afternoons after work. I, too find them difficult at times and I never go over 5-6 miles in the afternoons. My weekend longer runs are usually in the morning and I enjoy them a lot better because I haven't been working all day. My energy level is way higher.
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Post  Tim C Tue Jan 21, 2014 10:51 pm

Schuey wrote:Tim I really think it is due to the fact that you, your mind and body are so use to running in the morning all the time. It's routine that you have gotten us to, therefore running in the afternoon is still somewhat a shock.

I use to always run at the same time of the day but not anymore. I work an Asian shift now, where at one time I worked from home and ran a lot at the same time. Now, I run at all times anywhere from 2am in the morning all the way to 8pm at night. At first all of it was hard but now after almost 3 years I have gotten use to it and on top of that I have gotten use to all the training and on 5 1/2 to 6 hours sleep.  

Hang in there and keep plugging away and you will in time get use to it!
Schuey, I suspect that it is because I'm used to running in the am.  But I've been running in the pm pretty much once a week lately - and they all suck...
Mark B wrote:It only sucks because your body isn't adapted to it yet.

If you've done a lot of runs in the early morning, you're not used to the warmer temperatures and more direct sunlight that you get in the afternoon. It can make a bigger difference than you think.

When I've been stuck doing early morning runs (or the gloom of a Pacific Northwest winter), sudden exposure to warmer temperatures and direct sun sucks all the energy out of my body and raises the perceived effort level far beyond what one might reasonably expect. Unfortunately for me, that has tended to happen on the day I'm running a spring marathon.  Neutral 

Keep at it, and I bet it starts feeling more natural before long.
Yeah, I should probably run at least a couple afternoon runs for a few weeks and see if things improve.
Michele \"1L" Keane wrote:A transition like that is hard which is why I try to run at different times during the day, but I have such flexibility as I work from home.  However, when I didn't I always tried to run at least one early evening run and one lunchtime run in a week.  One other thing to be cognizant of is your hydration.  I find that I sometimes don't drink enough during the day to sustain that 6:30 pm run.  Although you are probably eating fine, make sure you are drinking enough too.
Michele, I'm such a creature of habit!  If 7am works - 7am it is…  Interesting on the hydration.  I'll keep that in mind.
Jim Lentz wrote:Do you drink caffeine in the morning before your morning runs?
Why yes I do.  2 cups every morning, the 2nd one finished as I'm lacing up my shoes.  hmmmmm...
Michael Enright wrote:When I am doing most of my runs in the morning (summer, training for a marathon), I find that my afternoon runs, especially an afternoon long run, are much more likely to go off the rails. I think I've just used up more energy at that point in the day and have to watch myself more. On the other hand, when I've trained mostly at night (late winter, training for a  spring marathon), it is much less of an issue, and afternoons are just fine.
I think your body just needs to adapt. Until/unless it does, just take it easier in the pm.
Michael, I actually do take it easy in the afternoon.  Good point on the energy though.  I'm getting old so maybe I'm just more worn out at 4:30...
Jerry wrote:I hope it is easy run where you just need to get in the distance. There was a cycle I had to run long runs Monday nights, every one of them sucked. Luckily I just needed to get in the miles. Running
Yup, I pretty much always do the pm runs easy - just trying to get some miles in.
Jordan S. wrote:I am also forced to run in the afternoons after work. I, too find them difficult at times and I never go over 5-6 miles in the afternoons. My weekend longer runs are usually in the morning and I enjoy them a lot better because I haven't been working all day. My energy level is way higher.
My problem is, I start to suffer after just a couple of miles whereas in the morning I don't ever start to feel fatigued until at least several miles.  Again, you make the point on energy level and that just may be it.

Thanks all for the replies.  At least I know I'm not the only one that has issues with changing up the routine.
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Post  Jim Lentz Wed Jan 22, 2014 4:09 pm

I run better in the afternoon beacue during the day I have caffeine. Sometimes I bonk on my morning runs due to lack of caffeine. Worse, it has affected a few of my races, but now I carry gels with caffeine for important races and it makes a big difference for me.
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Post  Tim C Wed Feb 26, 2014 8:03 pm

Jim Lentz wrote:Do you drink caffeine in the morning before your morning runs?

Ding ding ding…we have a winner…

So I drank a cup of coffee before my afternoon run today and for the very first time, it was an enjoyable one.  Gonna have to do it again to confirm but it appears this old guy needs a caffeine fix prior to running…..

Thank you sir
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Post  mountandog Wed Feb 26, 2014 8:57 pm

Interesting.  I drink a lot of coffee.  Am trying to only drink decaf for a couple of months before boston.  Want to see if I can get a little boost.
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Post  Schuey Thu Feb 27, 2014 3:20 pm

mountandog wrote:Interesting.  I drink a lot of coffee.  Am trying to only drink decaf for a couple of months before boston.  Want to see if I can get a little boost.


In order to get that boost from caffeine research recommends 200 t0 400 milligrams (about 3 to 5 cups of coffee) 1 hour before competition and also make sure that you are well hydrated to offset any diuretic effects of caffeine. Another thing to note if you take an creatine supplements you want to avoid caffeine all together. Caffeine may reduce absorption and utilization of creatine.

Since the stupid rules this year in Boston have been past at least you will be able to take up 1 liter to the village. So at least you will be able to get in 3 cups of coffee 200 milligrams of caffeine 1 hour before.
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Post  Jim Lentz Fri Feb 28, 2014 11:50 am

Schuey wrote:
mountandog wrote:Interesting.  I drink a lot of coffee.  Am trying to only drink decaf for a couple of months before boston.  Want to see if I can get a little boost.


In order to get that boost from caffeine research recommends 200 t0 400 milligrams (about 3 to 5 cups of coffee) 1 hour before competition and also make sure that you are well hydrated to offset any diuretic effects of caffeine. Another thing to note if you take an creatine supplements you want to avoid caffeine all together. Caffeine may reduce absorption and utilization of creatine.

Since the stupid rules this year in Boston have been past at least you will be able to take up 1 liter to the village. So at least you will be able to get in 3 cups of coffee 200 milligrams of caffeine 1 hour before.
For me I notice as little as a cup of awake tea in the morning makes a big difference for long runs and races. I think this is a different mechanism than getting the standard caffeine boost. I drink too much caffeine during the day and if I do a morning run without it I find it very difficult I believe due to my body needing caffeine. A 9 mile long run on such days feels much more difficult than an 18 mile long run with a little caffeine before the run.
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