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What time is best to train?

I currently do the majority of my training early in the morning before breakfast (apart from a coffee). This includes all my aerobic as well as anaerobic work. My theory being that my body becomes more efficient in using the few nutrients in my body, so come race day after carb loading and a pre race breakfast my body will think its party time with all the extra nutrients.

However, when I do train in the evenings i tend to cover more miles/less effort/quicker time. I guess this is as a result of eating during the day/warmer muscles etc.

This means that the actual quality of work that I do in the evenings is better.

Whaddya reckon will benefit me most on race day?


  • Hmmm, well i've never heard that school of thought on the morning training before! I guess it could have its advantages though, as you've pointed out, in theory. Personally however I am of the belief that for a training session to be beneficial you should be fully prepared and for want of a better term 'up for it'!

    For this I think pre-training nutrition is required, as I think your suffers without it.

    Have a think about what is going on in your body in the morning. Overnight the body has gone into fasting mode, this primarily involves the use of fatty acids for energy, which helps to save the carbohydrates for the heart, and most importantly the brain, which cannot use fatty acids for energy so requires a constant supply of glucose.

    So you get up, and your body and most importantly your muscles have been using fatty acids to supply them with energy, using a process called beta-oxidation to break down the fatty acids so they can enter the energy cycle. This process is comparatively slow, which is why during intense exercise carbohydrates are used preferentially over fats, this is why you feel a bit sluggish.

    So when you go out in the morning hard you are really shocking the body, as it tries to switch over to using carbs for energy, a source which has been depleted during your overnight fast. Personally I dont think this is a good idea.

    I train in both the morning and evening, but my morning sessions are primarily recovery and technique based sessions, quite relaxed, and often done in the pool. I also always eat breakfast an hour before - porridge of course!

    My hard sessions designed to increase aerobic capacity and speed are reserved solely for the evening, where i have lots of nutritional reserves built up from eating in the day.

  • bennybenny Posts: 1,314
    People with a normal day planning (lets say approx from 6-7 am till bed time 22-23 pm), are normally at their best aerobic and muscular capabilities in the afternoon/late afternoon. I don't know the exact numbers,but this is grosso modo what research has shown.

    On the other hand,don't make the huge mistake not to train on the same hour of day that the race will be. In other words, if you train in the afternoon/evening and your race is at 7 am, you'll be wondering who's body youre racing in.[:(]
  • nivaghnivagh Posts: 595

    I've heard before that doing aerobic exercise in the morning before eating anything encourages your body to burn fat as an energy source, since you haven't taken on anything else.

    When I cycle to work, I have breakfast when I get there rather than before leaving, and I am three or four minutes faster on the return journey (11 miles), though I have a suspicion that where I work may be at slightly higher altitude too. May have to get out an OS map and check!

    I think that a three to four minute difference over 30 seems quite a lot unless there's some altitude in play as well.
  • Seems I am missing something in my life. I train when I can, which depends mostly on work, wife, when the pool is open and daylight for the bike riding. Training at a specific point in the day as well - Definitely one variable too many[&o]
  • I'm with you an that Ash. My training is squeezed around my family and work responsibilities.

    Can't really complain though, I work a rather neat 7.5 miles away from my house and either run or cycle to/from work each day. Throw in some chronically early morning lido swims (how long can I keep these up in the coming months...?) and that's my training regime. At least its easy to follow.
  • BritspinBritspin Posts: 1,655
    Depends on my shifts, 7am-2pm I sprint my cycle to work (banaa & juice before), do stability/weights work for 40-60 min, eat cereal, sprint back home at 2ish, run to pool, swim, run home 7 eat.

    2pm-10pm, up at 7.30-8ish, run to pool, swim, run home, eat body weight in porridge cycle to work & cycle home, or do a hard run session if it isn't a swim day. Long rides on Sun & easy run sess on Sat.

    So all of the above early & later training, chuck in some studio cycling classes early evening 2x pw & thats me.
  • TTX PROTTX PRO Posts: 225
    well im a time-trialist.for me the best time to train is 9/10pm at night.
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