Want to know the best time of day to run?

So, do you want to know the best time of day to run?

If you are like most people, you want to get the maximum benefit from any exercise or fitness activity.  I know that as a runner, I never stop looking or ways to get the maximum benefit from the effort I put in to my runs.  For many people, this is the same motivation behind the question of when is the best time of day to run?

As mentioned in a previous post, I personally prefer later in the day.  I know many runners who prefermr hlth on the trail to be up at the crack of dawn (or even earlier!).  Some people find it invigorating to start their day this way – while others just want to get their run out of the way as early as possible.  I prefer to save it for later as a stress reliever and a way to leave all the “stuff of the day” out on the trail.

Whether you end up being a morning runner or not, most people find that after experimenting and varying the time of day they will find a time that naturally resonates with their own personal makeup.  There are night people that feel like they are “just getting started” late in the evening and morning people who wake up bouncy, and others that don’t want anyone around until they have had a chance to thoroughly wake up – and it is the same way with running.  In my next post – so how do you find your best time of day?

When I run

In this post I’ll tell you my favorite time of day for running, and why and how that changes.

Talk to any number of runners and you’ll find a variety of opinions and reasons why their favorite time to run is the “best” time.
Many runners prefer to get their run it at the first light of day (or even before the sun comes up), but I’m not one of them.

Morning is NOT my favorite time of day – though there are times when I do that:

  • When I am meeting friends for a morning run (watch for an upcoming post on running with friends)
  • When I am traveling  (watch for more on running and travel in another post)
  • When I plan on running in a race (since most have a morning/early day start
  • When morning is the ONLY time I will be able to get a run in during that day

My favorite time of day, and the time when I usually run is late afternoon/early evening – and I’ll tell you why that is the best for me.

  • If it’s a workday, my biggest plus for running after work is pure stress relief
  • My body is wide awake, muscles have been in use and are generally warmed up from the day’s activities
  • It helps me both keep my appetite under control and therefore eat more sensible portions at dinner time
  • By this point in the day, I’m motivated to go use my muscles, push myself, and fee my body perform
  • It give me an energy, metabolism, and emotional boost later in the day when I need it

You may find that right after work or late in the day is best for you too.   The only way to know is to try it and see if that works for you and if your schedule allows it.   It took me many years of back and forth to find my best time.  In my next post I’ll talk about finding your best time to run.

Questions, comments, or something to say about running – leave a comment below.

Is morning the best time of day to run?

Is there a “best” time of day to run, or a time when you can get the most benefit out of your running from a fitness standpoint?

I am asked this question frequently; people want to make sure that they are going to get the maximum gain from the effort that they put into exercise, and  I get it!  They want to get the most fitness benefit from the amount of effort that they are putting in to their exercise.

Is there a best time of day?  The answer to this that may surprise you, but makes a lot of sense (and has some good science behind it as well).  Before getting to that though, lets take a look at what is typically listed as the “best” time of day.  I’ll also tell you what is my best time of day, and the reasons for that.

Many people have heard that morning (first thing!) is the best time to exercise, and ask  about that.

There are a few reasons why morning is a good choice:

  • You will get a metabolic boost early in the day
  • By doing it first, there’s not much less opportunity to let the busy-ness of the day crowd it out of your schedule
  • If you run before eating anything, you are starting out from a fasting state, so you are more likely to get some fat burning effect from your running
  • Your running will likely curb your hunger somewhat and may help you with portion control at breakfast

There are also a few reasons why running first thing in the morning may not be the best:

  • Mornings are already rushed for most people, you may be tempted to skip your run if you’re short on timemorning alarm clock
  • Some people have motivation problems just getting up in the morning – adding running just gives them another poor excuse to hit the snooze, and then they never end up “getting to it later” in the day
  • Your body has been inactive all night, so you are not as limber and stretched as you are later in the day
  • Since you are in the process of waking up, you not run as hard or push your workout like you would later in the day


Overall, the morning is a good time to run.  Although it will not work out well for some people, and it is not what I would call “THE BEST” time to run, the morning does provide a couple of advantages and unique benefits.  For some people it is the best time to run – and they should make that their set or scheduled time to run.

In an upcoming post I’ll tell you my favorite time of day for running, and what factors affect and can change that.   If you have questions about running or anything related to a healthy lifestyle, I’d love to hear from you.  Use the form below for any feedback.

Why I run

This is the second part of a series on running – in this post I’ll cover a little background on why I run.

I like to run and it’s one of my favorite fitness activities, and I hope that by giving you some of the reasons I like to run, that it might encourage you to make running a part of your plan for a healthy lifestyle.   I want to share with you a few of the reasons why I started running for fitness as an adult, and why it’s one of the mainstays of my healthy lifestyle.

Running for weight lossKozzi-sporty_womans_back_with_tape_measure-294x441
I started running in my 20s shortly after getting married, and becoming aware of my rapidly expanding waistline.  I talked to a friend who was an avid runner and he gave some tips to get me started; almost 30 years later I still enjoy the calorie burn I get from running.  Though there are many variables, you can roughly figure that you burn 100 calories per mile that you run.  When you do that consistently  (and don’t add to your diet to make up for the exercise you’re doing), tt add up and make a difference quickly.

Running for health
Running is a great overall exercise to promote cardiovascular health.  It gives you an opportunity to exercise your heart, lungs, legs and even stimulates blood flow to the brain.  As highlighted in a Time Magazine article from a few years ago, runners tend to live longer and healthier lives.  Running is one important part of my plan for my healthy lifestyle.

Running for stress relief
Everyone has to find the best time for them to exercise based on their life and preferences and personality.  I don’t agree with the philosophy that says everyone should get out and hit the road and run first thing in the morning right after getting up.  While exercise in the morning is not a bad thing – you need to find what works best for you.  I personally prefer to run after work, when I can “run out” the stress and pressures of the day, and leave them on the running trail (though sometimes it’s nice to fit in a mid-day run on an especially nice day).   I find it’s a great way to release stress and that I’m able to leave the “stuff of the day” out on the trail so that I can enjoy my evening.freeimage-875744

Running for fun
We all run, at least at one point we all ran.  When they think back, most people have pleasant childhood memories of sunny summer days,  grassy fields or lawns, and the feeling of the grass beneath your feet as you run playing tag or just playing.   Somewhere along the way that changes for many of us, and it takes something  to remind us that running really can be fun – not just a chore to get in shape or stay healthy.  Whether running with friends enjoying some friendly competition in a race, or just being able to spend some personal time breathing fresh air – running can even be a great get-way in the middle of a busy day that just might give you what you need to make it through the rest of the day.

In the next few posts we’ll look at how running can benefit you (not just losing weight), some suggestions on how to approach running (so that you won’t give up), and some tips and tricks to get the most out of it (and not sabotage your results).

Questions or comments?  I’d love to hear from you!  Use the field’s below to leave me any feedback about this post or anything else you might find here on mrhlth.com

Run For Your Life!

I frequently get questions along the lines of “what exercise burns the most calories” or “what exercise can I do to lose weight, or burn fat”, or what is the best exercise.

The next few posts will look at running as exercise and some pros and cons that go with running.

Before I dive too deeply into the benefits of running though, it’s important to remember diet is more important that exercise.   By that I’m referring to the food you eat and the approach you take to food and nutrition, not going on a diet!  A healthy diet is really all about eating healthy and nutritious foods as a part of a healthy lifestyle.  Remember, your body really does want you to eat right, and it might take a little time to recognize the signals it gives you, but your body is signaling you all the time about the foods you eat.

© Stressbooster | Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock PhotosSo why do I recommend running?  Aside from the fact that I like to run and it’s one of my favorite fitness activities, one of the top reasons is that when people are ready to seriously confront fitness and to try to lose weight, you will be hard pressed to find any exercise that will give you as quick and dramatic result as running.  I highly recommend some moderation and common sense if you haven’t run before – don’t go out assuming you can run 5 miles on your first day!

But with the help of others, (and some good cheap or free training programs out there) you’ll find that running can quickly reward your weight loss efforts and that the pounds can start to drop off dramatically.

In some upcoming posts, we’ll look at how running can benefit you (not just losing weight), some suggestions on how to approach running (so that you won’t give up), and some tips and tricks to get the most out of it (and not sabotage your results).
Questions, comments – use the form below, I’d love to hear from you.

It’s a new year – now what?

Less than a week into the new year, many people are rethinking their New Year’s resolutions and thinking about whether they should give up on them already and considering how realistic they were in the first place.

Don’t give up!
Even if you’ve missed some days, you still have almost the entire year ahead of you.  I’d encourage you think about the positive Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photoscompounded changes you will be enjoying a year from now if you stick with it!  Don’t beat yourself up if you’ve already broken your resolution – any positive movement forward you make moves you closer to your goal than you were last year.

You didn’t get to where you are today overnight, and you won’t reach your health goals overnight either.  The important thing is to keep moving forward and keep doing the good things that move you toward a healthier lifestyle.  You should also continue to review what other little steps you can take to move toward a healthy lifestyle.  Consistently keeping little changes will add up to big changes over time.

If you think you don’t have time to exercise, this post is for you.

I was reminded this morning about how easy it is to find ways add more movement and natural exercise to your day.
I hear every week from people who tell me about how busy they are and how they just don’t have time for exercise or fitness.

I think that you can make exercise a priority and find time in your day for some focused or planned exercise – this is the best way to make it work – actually plan exercise in to the schedule of your day.  However, if you or someone you know insists that they just don’t have time for it, I’d like to make a couple of suggestions for how you can incorporate important elements of physical fitness into your daily life.

1.  Skip the elevators.  I’d suggest doing this all the time – up and down, but even if it’s just on the way down, the extra walking and the jostling from taking the steps will do your body good.

2.  Walk to your mailbox.  When you get home, don’t drive up to your mailbox or stop by it as you enter your building.  Take a walk down your driveway to get your mail, or walk down the steps in your apartment building to get your mail.  Look for ways like this to add some extra steps to the things you have to do anyways and burn a few more calories along the way.

3.  Take a walk break at least every hour at work.  Studies consistently show that sitting for extended periods is not good for you, and in fact cause physiological changes in your blood chemistry and metabolism.  Take a short walk periodically, or stand for short periods while doing your work.  Some work places will even allow you to have a standing workstation.

4.  Park a little further from the store.  When you go on errands, stop looking for the closest parking space.  You can save time and get a walk in by choosing a spot a little further out in the parking lot.  Your vehicle’s body will be less likely to get dents and dings, and your body will benefit too.   If you only have a bag or two when you come out of the store, carry them instead of using a cart.

There are many other things you can do as well to add what I call natural exercise to your day.  While I don’t think it’s a total substitute for deliberate planned exercise, it’s a good way to get some extra movement during the day. Remember, your body was made for movement, and finding ways to incorporate natural elements of movement and fitness during your day is one way to help keep your body healthier.  You might find that it motivates you to schedule some time in your day and build it in your schedule.

Questions or comments?  Use the field below – I’d love to hear from you.

Need some workout ideas?

How about these workout ideas?

If you’ve read the previous posts on why you don’t have time to skip your workout you’ve also read about some of the immediate benefits of a workout that you can experience. I hope you’ve also thought about the long-term benefits, such as better overall fitness, healthier blood pressure, a tendency toward lower body fat, and an overall sense of well being.

Many people feel challenged to find exercise that they want to do or are willing to commit to on a long-term basis. To those concerns I have two responses:

1. You don’t have to make a long-term commitment! If you try something and find that it doesn’t work for you – either modify the exercise or your approach to it – or try something else. Just because you start out jogging doesn’t meant that you are committing yourself to jogging every day for the rest of your life! As a matter of fact – I recommend that you don’t do the same thing every day – it leads to boredom and to increased potential for injury.
This is why I personally follow a fitness program called P90X – it contains a variety of different exercises and includes weight and resistance exercises as well as aerobic activity and routines to increase flexibility and range of motion. I think another great aspect of P90X is that I can do it at home on my schedule.  And best of all – it really works.
I also like to run – so I also run when possible. I am blessed to live in an area where I can run on horse trails through the mountains so the view is always changing and beautiful. But I also try to make sure I do something when traveling – even if that means running in and around the area, or even just using the treadmill in the hotel where I’m staying. The point is to do something. If what you’re doing doesn’t work for you – try something else.

2. You have more options that just joining a gym or running. Find something that you like to do and that you will put on your schedule every day and commit to doing. Joining a gym is not a bad thing since you may have access to trainers or people who can show you proper form and various ways of exercise. It may also give you access to classes on new forms of exercise that you’re not familiar with. Running is great because you can go as fast or slow as you need to tailor your fitness level, and you can do it just about anywhere with almost no equipment.

Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos

But besides a gym or running – what else can you do?
Here are a few more fitness ideas – not in any particular order:

Walking, hiking, swimming, water aerobics, aerobics, fitness dvd at home, yoga, home rebounder (small trampoline), kettlebell workout, team or intramural sports, skiing, rollerblading, jump-rope, bicycle – either mountain, trail, or road, spinning (think stationary bicycle), stretching, dancing, tennis, racquetball, handball, weight training.

These are just a few – get creative – try some fitness videos, talk to others. It doesn’t matter what you do, just that you do something regularly.

Eliminate Negativity = the key to a healthier life?

Could it really be this simple?   Could negativity be what’s holding you back?


We know that activities and habits form feedback loops in our lives.

For example, start eating junk food and lying on the couch watching TV every night, and pretty soon you’ll start to feel “blah” and will probably lose the desire to exercise, which will leave you feeling even more tired and wanting to lay on the couch and watch TV, and so the cycle goes.

Conversely, if you eat a healthy diet and exercise every day, you feel more driven to make sure you continue to eat healthy, keep junk out of your body, not miss even one day of exercise, and you start to search for ways to optimize your health even more.


What about negativity?   What part does your attitude and mindset play in all of this and with respect to your healthy (or unhealthy) lifestyle?  What does negativity do to your metabolism?  To your immune system?  To how you feel about most everything?


What if a negative mindset is what is robbing you of energy and a positive outlook in life?  What if you could forget the negative pictures and words in your mind regarding yourself and your body, and instead, you replaced them with the image of who you want to be and the healthy lifestyle you want to have?

What if those negative words and thoughts that repeat over and over in your head excusing away why you can’t lose weight or can’t get healthy or can’t eat right are the anchors that hold you to your current lifestyle?


What if having a positive outlook and attitude had a positive effect on yourself, on others around you and it propelled you to do positive things?  What if you decide to replece the raincloud that seems to always park itself over you and follow you with negative thoughts, words, and mental pictures?

What if the you started to visualize a new healthy who ate good and nourishing foods and followed through on exercise and fitness plans – seeing the new you even as you started taking small steps toward a healthier lifestyle?

Trade in any negativity you might have for a positive outlook today –  and see where it leads you!


What’s holding you back?

So you’ve decided that you have some fitness goals, or want a healthier lifestyle, or want to lose weight, or want to get into shape and have your body look a certain way, or be able to run a 5k or 5 miles …  what’s holding you back?   It might just be you.

To often people sabotage their own success before they even start something.
Today – now – you have to eliminate negativity from your mind and from your psyche.   It’s very easy to look around and blame your friends, your spouse, your co-workers, your frame, your body type, genetics, the snack food in the vending machine, the fast food restaurants, your busy schedule or any of those things around you – the list could go on and on – seemingly endless.
You could also sabotage yourself mentally and emotionally thinking about past times when you’ve been discouraged or not reached a goal –  or about diets that you’ve been on in the past (remember – diets don’t work – change in lifestyle does).

You don’t have the luxury of thinking this way.

Where you are today is the result of all of the thoughts and actions you’ve taken in the past.  Remember, that is the past and what you want to focus on is NOW.

As long as you are living and breathing, it is not too late to make a change.

Yesterday is gone, and you don’t have tomorrow yet – but you do have today – you have this moment right now.   This is the time to decide who you want to be, what kind of shape you want to be in, what kind of lifestyle you want to have, what state you want your health to be in.


  1. Decide on your goal.  You may want to work with a coach or mentor if you’re not sure what your goal should be – but once you decide on it – right it down and keep it in front of you – literally.  You need to constantly remind yourself of where you are headed and what you want for yourself.  This is best done once you decide and commit it to paper.   Even better is to have a coach or mentor that helps keep you on track.  As a part of this, you have to decide what is most important to you.  Once you understand your goal, you can start to measure the things you eat and how you spend your time against that goals.  Some things will stack up, other things you will have to give up.   It won’t seem like much of a loss as long as you keep your goal in mind and before you.
  2. Don’t be discouraged that it will take some time and effort to reach your goals.  You didn’t get to where you are today overnight, and you won’t reach your goals overnight either.  You’re in this for the long term and you have to keep your long-term goals in mind.   The one exception to the overnight thing is that it’s not a bad idea to have some mini-goals that you can check off as successes along the way.  Decide to skip candy for a day, or dessert for a week, or to exercise every day for a month.  Checking off these short-term successes can be a great encouragement toward reaching a healthy lifestyle.
  3. Place reminders of your goal around you.  This might be a post-it note on your refrigerator, or on your bathroom mirror – or maybe on the background/desktop of your computer.  These reminders help keep you on track and help keep you from getting of track.  Just like you wouldn’t head East if you wanted to go West, you need reminders of where you’re headed.  Snacks, cookies, cakes, and lying on the couch snacking and watching TV every night are probably not going to help you attain a goal of a healthy lifestyle.  That doesn’t mean you can never eat a cookie or watch a TV show – but it should help you weigh out what’s important and whether your actions are moving you in the right direction.
  4. Change what you need to change to help you reach your goal. If you want to lose weight, don’t go into the donut shop.  If you want to get more physically fit, stop lying on the couch all night every night.  If you want to quit eating junk food, stop buying it and having it in the house.  If you have healthy foods around you – you will eat healthier things.  If you regularly spend some time exercising, you will get more physically fit.  If you get good regular sleep, you will be more rested and an overall healthier person.  Incorporate the good things you want into your lifestyle and remove those negative things that got you to a place where you don’t want to be.  Remember that if you want a different outcome, some things will need to change.
  5. Forget the past.  Its gone and over and you can’t go back and change anything about it.  You have today and the decisions you make right now will move you toward or away from your goal.  Want to lose weight – you will need to change some of the things you’ve done in the past – probably both diet and exercise (see the posts on which is more important).  Want to be able to perform better athletically – you are going to have to find some ways to exercise to help you reach your goal.  Any goal worth having is worth the work to get there.   If you don’t change anything then you won’t change either – that’s what got you to where you are today.

Finally, try to surround yourself with people to can encourage you toward your goal and with things and reminders that will help you get there.  The notes and reminders in your daily planner, and on your screen, mirror and refrigerator are all helpful.  People around you that encourage you toward your goal are even more helpful.   You should create an environment around yourself that helps drive you toward your goal.  It’s your life, and you can have a healthy lifestyle if you