Everybody who’s ever rowed crew knows that coaches love rising the team before the sun, basking in all that pre-dawn glory before the rest of the world has even hit the snooze button. But nighttime rowers are also hardcore in their own right, logging miles on the erg long after the sun has set and the kids have gone to bed. So who’s tougher – or rather, who’s smarter? What really is the best time for rowing?
According to some studies, the ideal time to engage in physical activity is actually the mid- to late-afternoon. Your body is warm, your muscles are loosened up, and you generally tend to feel awake, alert, and better overall. But, many rowers argue that the best time to run is whenever you can get it done.
Here’s the Dark Horse take on the age old question of when should I train?
IS THERE AN IDEAL TIME OF DAY TO TRAIN?
Not across the board. It largely depends on your daily schedule and how training fits into it. As long as you’re taking care of the basics around your run, like sleep, hydration, proper nutrition, and a warm-up and cool-down, and the time you choose creates the most seamless fit into the rest of the day, that’s the best time to train for you and your situation.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS AND DRAWBACKS TO TRAINING IN THE MORNING?
Obviously, getting warmed up and ready to exercise is the first challenge. Rolling out of bed and straight into your running shorts can make your sessions feel pretty sluggish. So often times it pays off to have some time throughout the day to get your body moving first. Many athletes are also fighting against time to get hydrated and get in a solid pre-workout breakfast early in the morning.
On the plus side, training early in the morning means you get your row done so you can focus on your day without having your training plan hanging over your head. It will let you eat what you want when you want, you can spend more time with your kids or friends, and it definitely starts your day off on a good note. Plus, training in the morning in the summer months can offer cooler temperatures.
WHAT ABOUT NIGHTTIME TRAINING? WHAT ARE THE PROS AND CONS THERE?
Night training certainly provides a chance to decompress from a long day, and I find that most night athletes find more groups and opportunities to train with people. And you can always head out for a drink after and make training even more social!
The downside of night rowing sessions is that you are going to be limited to an indoor erg session when the sun goes down.
ANY ADVICE FOR FITTING TRAINING INTO A BUSY SCHEDULE?
This is tough. The first step is acknowledging that life stress and training stress affect your body in very similar ways. When life gets busy, you have to simplify training.
If the morning is the best time to train for you, then acknowledge that keeping it simple and having consistent small victories daily will bring you further than swinging for the fences a couple days a week and striking out the rest. I advise planning your big workouts and long rows for the weekend, or pick one or two afternoons or evenings a week for the more intense sessions so you can just worry about your shorter, more relaxed rows in the morning.
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Yours in fitness, education and knowing when is best for your body.
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