Finding time to run can often be a challenge. Life is busy. Runners have work commitments, family commitments and plenty of other responsibilities that can get in the way of running.

But is there a certain time of day that’s better for runners? Recent research looked at the advantages of running in the morning vs. the evening, but just as with everything else running-related, personal preference plays a major role.

A recent Washington Post article summed up two studies that examined the benefits of exercising at different times of day. Researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science found that evening workouts use less oxygen and are more efficient, improving athletic performance. Morning workouts were found to possibly activate genes in the muscle cells and improve their metabolism of fat and sugar.

“Human exercise performance is better in the evening compared to the morning, as (athletes) consume less oxygen, that is, they use less energy, for the same intensity of exercise in the evening versus the morning,” Weizmann researcher Gad Asher told the Post. “It means, for example, if a person needs to go for a run, he will reach exhaustion earlier in the morning compared to the evening. In other words, he will be able to run for a longer duration in the evening compared to the morning under the same running conditions.”

In Asher’s study, mice were put on treadmills at different times of day and their exercise ability was studied at different intensities and regimens. Overall exercise performance was about 50 percent better during the evening hours compared to the morning. Similar results were found with human test subjects, who consumed less oxygen during evening workouts.

The second study was conducted by researchers at the Center of Epigenetics and Metabolism at the University of California at Irvine and it also used mice on treadmills. But, the Post reported, the researchers looked changes in muscle tissues after morning workouts, including the breakdown of glucose and fat burning. In this instance, the most beneficial workout time was late morning, lead researcher Paolo Sassone-Corsi told the Post.

This is due to a protein called HIF1-alpha, which regulates the body’s circadian rhythms. “Circadian rhythms dominate everything we do,” said Sassone-Corsi. “At least 50 percent of our metabolism is circadian, and 50 percent of the metabolites in our body oscillate based on the circadian cycle. It makes sense that exercise would be one of the things that’s impacted.”

So the research suggests mornings may be better if you’re trying to lose weight, while evenings may be more beneficial if you’re an elite athlete looking to improve your performance or shave a few minutes off your personal best.

All that said, there’s something to be said about getting a run in first thing in the morning, especially this time of year before it gets too hot or humid. And if you’ve got a full day of work ahead of you, then have to take your kids to their activities afterward, you may need to run in the morning (or at lunch). If you don’t have kids, maybe it makes more sense to run in the evening.

Time commitments aside, some runners prefer to run in the morning. I’m definitely in that camp; I prefer to run on an empty (or nearly empty) stomach. Running in the evening is a little more challenging, depending on what I’ve had to eat that day.

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter when you run or exercise, as long as you do it.

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Starts and stops:

The 7th annual Bridge and Back 10K is set for Sunday at 8 a.m., starting on Charter Street and ending on Front Street in Salem. The post-race party will take place at Flatbread Pizza on Derby Street. Visit https://racewire.com/register.php?id=10651 for more information. Also on Sunday the 4th is the 29th annual Newburyport High Street Mile, Atkinson Common, Newburyport, 9:15 a.m. Presented by the Winner’s Circle Running Club. Fast, flat USATF-certified course. Visit http://runthecircle.org/wordpress/racing/wcrc-races/high-street-mile/ for more information.

If you’re looking to take on a little more mileage on Sunday, the YukanRun Triple Threat is scheduled at Rockport High School, 24 Jerdens Lane, Rockport. The event includes three races: a 1-miler starting at 8 a.m., 5K starting at 8:20 and a half marathon starting at 9:15. Runners can choose one race or do all three back to back. Visit http://www.yukanrun.com/TripleThreat.html for more information.

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On the Run is a biweekly column about the North Shore running scene. Send any questions, comments, or news to jay.kumar@gmail.com.

 

 

UPCOMING RACES

Sunday, Aug. 4

Notch Sunday Meters for Liters, Notch Brewing, 283R Derby St., Salem, 11:30 a.m. Free group 5K or 10K run from the brewery. Beer and pretzels provided to runners after the run. Runners who complete 10 runs (aka 50,000 meters) will receive Notch swag.

Wednesday, Aug. 7

Danvers 5K Fun Run, meets at Panini Pizzeria, 11 Maple St., Danvers, 7 p.m. Run starts and finishes at the corner of Elm and Page streets, near the Danvers Fresh Market Place. Free, timed run. All welcome. These events are part of a weekly 52-race series. E-mail adam@danvers5k.com.

Meters for Liters, Notch Brewing, 283R Derby St., Salem, 6:30 p.m. Free group 5K run from the brewery. Beer and pretzels provided to runners after the run. Runners who complete 10 runs (aka 50,000 meters) will receive Notch swag.

Lynn Woods trail races, Lynn Woods Reservation (Great Woods Road entrance), 6:30 p.m. Each week, there are three free trail races of varying distances. Visit http://lwrun.org/ for more information.

Thursday, Aug. 8

The 52nd annual Beverly Yankee Homecoming 5K, Lynch Park, 55 Ober St., Beverly, 6:30 p.m. The race is the third in the North Shore YMCA Road Race Series. Visit https://www.northshoretimingonline.com/reglive2017.aspx?eventyear_id=1589 for more information.

Gentile Run Club, ABV: 3.1, 59 Park St., Beverly, 6:30 p.m. Free weekly 5K run from the Gentile taproom through Beverly and back.

The Bent Water Thunder Squad Weekly Running Club, Bent Water Brewing Taproom, 180 Commercial St., Unit 18, Lynn, 6:30 p.m. A free weekly 3.2-mile run from the taproom to the beach. Runners who complete seven runs receive a Bent Water t-shirt.

Weekly 5K from True North Ale, 116 County Road, Ipswich, 5:30 p.m. Free, weekly timed 5K from the brewery.

Sunday, Aug. 11

Notch Sunday Meters for Liters, Notch Brewing, 283R Derby St., Salem, 11:30 a.m. Free group 5K or 10K run from the brewery. Beer and pretzels provided to runners after the run. Runners who complete 10 runs (aka 50,000 meters) will receive Notch swag.

Wednesday, Aug. 14

Danvers 5K Fun Run, meets at Panini Pizzeria, 11 Maple St., Danvers, 7 p.m. Run starts and finishes at the corner of Elm and Page streets, near the Danvers Fresh Market Place. Free, timed run. All welcome. These events are part of a weekly 52-race series. E-mail adam@danvers5k.com.

Meters for Liters, Notch Brewing, 283R Derby St., Salem, 6:30 p.m. Free group 5K run from the brewery. Beer and pretzels provided to runners after the run. Runners who complete 10 runs (aka 50,000 meters) will receive Notch swag.

Lynn Woods trail races, Lynn Woods Reservation (Great Woods Road entrance), 6:30 p.m. Each week, there are three free trail races of varying distances. Visit http://lwrun.org/ for more information.

Thursday, Aug. 15

Gentile Run Club, ABV: 3.1, 59 Park St., Beverly, 6:30 p.m. Free weekly 5K run from the Gentile taproom through Beverly and back.

The Bent Water Thunder Squad Weekly Running Club, Bent Water Brewing Taproom, 180 Commercial St., Unit 18, Lynn, 6:30 p.m. A free weekly 3.2-mile run from the taproom to the beach. Runners who complete seven runs receive a Bent Water t-shirt.

Weekly 5K from True North Ale, 116 County Road, Ipswich, 5:30 p.m. Free, weekly timed 5K from the brewery.

 

 

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