The best time to run: A coach's perspective

As chief running coach at the Trailblazers Academy, Jeetu Rishi is often asked “When is the best time to run?” To that, his answer is that it depends on an individual’s body language and habits. However, he often considers mornings to be the best time to run for adults. “The marathon craze has swept the city of Mumbai and the adults that I teach mostly run in the morning,” he says.

People can have complicated lives keeping them occupied with other tasks, so the timing of their run is a matter of personal preference and availability of time. Many of Jeetu’s students are office-goers or work in varying shifts, so for them timings vary. “For people like these,” he says, “evenings are a suitable alternative if morning runs aren’t possible.”

Benefits of a morning run

After a full night’s sleep, a person wakes up refreshed from the stress of the previous day. This allows him or her to give their best while running. Coming to the ground fresh for a morning run fosters a good attitude amongst adults, leaving them able to cope with their day’s hectic schedule. “If you are slogging away at your job for 8-9 hours and then have to go for a 600-900m run, it stands to reason that you will not be able to give your best.”

Best times to run

With everything fresh and clear, he recommends the run start at 5:30 a.m. or 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. At this hour, the weather is cool and the roads or tracks are not as crowded. After the early hours of the morning, the blazing sun can cause discomfort and there are more people out and about. Alongside the best times to run, Rishi also cautions against running on a full stomach. Other times when running is not preferable are in the afternoons or after 10 p.m. at night. “And remember to keep enough time to get an adequate 7 to 8 hours of sleep,” he says.

Child’s play

While this may work for adults, many of Rishi’s students are youngsters. These are kids who are training for national, state or district-level competitions but they often have a full day ahead of them, with school and tuition classes taking up much of their day. Keeping their commitments in mind, he says that these runners can train from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. “While training them [youngsters], I have noticed that they have boundless energy. They mostly come in the evenings but these youngsters are able to train at any time.”

A positive start to the day

The positive effects of running often spill over into other more mundane activities, according to Rishi. Many of the people he trains have related incidents that illustrate the beneficial effects of running in the mornings like becoming more energetic and productive. “I was once talking to a student who was an architect. This architect has to go up and down many buildings the whole day, often without the convenience of elevators. After he began running, he says that he now finds it much easier to repeatedly climb stairs and get his work done.”

“Often, it is not just the time you choose to run but the manner of your training. Your workout can impact the rest of your day so ensure you and your trainer know what you are doing,” he concluded.

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