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Morning vs Afternoon Running - Cross Country

by Tristan
(Rock Hill SC)

I am a 15 year old male and I am in my 2nd season of high school cross country. We train 7 days a week and my average mileage per week is 65 miles.

We have had 3 cross country races this season; my 1st was an afternoon race and I ran an 18 min 22 sec.

My next 2 races were in the morning and I ran a 20 min 4 sec and a 21 min 6 sec.






I run just as hard in the morning as I do in the afternoon, but the morning races seem harder.

Any help on how I should train differently? By the way these are 5k races.


cross country running, running tips
Answer by Dominique:


Hi there,
Thanks for your cross country running question.

Your issue of running faster in the afternoon than in the morning does not have much to do with training, I think.

Most people run slower in the mornings. It is simply a function of your body still needing to wake up and warm up.

In the afternoon most people function at their best, it has got to do with bio-rhythms and there is not a whole lot you can do to change that.

However, there are some strategies you can use to try and influence your morning run performance:

  • Wake up earlier. Get up earlier and you'll be 'more awake' when you have your morning run. This also means though that you'll have to go to bed earlier the night before so you get sufficient sleep.


  • Exercise first thing. Of course, you will not want to exhaust yourself, but you could do a 20 or 30 minute walk immediately after waking up for example. This will kick-start some body systems, basically giving your body a sign it it time to start getting active.


  • Proper warm up. Take more time to warm yourself up before the race. Again, don't do anything crazy to exhaust yourself, but take some more time and your body will have to respond.


  • I would hope that this helps somewhat in getting your body ready for your morning cross country races and that you will improve your times.

    Kind regards,
    Dominique

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