So, when do you run?
If you’re like most humans, you have a job, which means you run early–or late. But how early and how late? And how do American time-of-day workout habits compare to runners in, say, China, India, or Switzerland?
We were curious. And so, working with our partner RunKeeper, we looked at 177 million runs logged by users of the app from 30 countries.
The graph above shows the percentage of runs that people in a given country record at any given hour during the week. Note: Hover over it to pause the animation and show all countries at once. On average, most runners–wherever they are in the world–do not want to crawl out of bed and bang out miles: 18 percent of all recorded runs take place between 6 and 9 a.m. compared with nearly 32 percent between 5 and 8 p.m.
Compare that to the same chart, but for Saturday and Sunday:
Here, it’s clear that people are more willing to get up and get stuff done on the weekend. Nearly 32 percent (again with the 32!) of recorded runs happen between 8 and 11 a.m., while just 12 percent of runs are logged between 5 and 8 p.m.
Another way of looking at the information is in the pie charts below, which show the popularity of weekday evening runs and weekend morning runs.
Earth shattering? Perhaps not. Why heap more onto mornings than we must, and why leave a long run on the horizon for hours? It’s the outliers that make data like these pop:
Forget about hitting snooze in India. Runners there log 22 percent of their weekday runs between 6 and 7 a.m.; the rest of the world, just 6 percent. It’s hot in India, and traffic is insane–getting out early can save you a bit of discomfort on both fronts, says Gael Couturier, a runner and former editor of Runner’s World France who now lives in Mumbai. “Traffic is nuts,” he says. “Getting hit by a car is a real danger.”
And don’t hate the Swiss for their midday mini-boom, in which 10 percent of their weekday runs are completed between 12 and 1 p.m. You can maybe hate them for their two-hour lunches, but the country also has long, dark winters. “There aren’t too many days when it’s possible to run in the morning or afternoon without darkness,” says Runner’s World Germany (which is also sold in Switzerland) editor Martin Gruning.
And finally, night owls rule the roads in China, Taiwan, and Korea. During the week, 14 percent of runs take place between 9 and 10 p.m. A possible explanation: there’s too much going on, especially for young professionals, so running slips to the back end of the day. “City life is busy,” says Li Ying, an editor at Runner’s World China. “A runner should think more about the job, the family, [and] so has little time for himself to run. The night would be a good, suitable choice for him [or] her.” Plus, says Ying, night running is a good time to meet up with friends, chill out after a long day, and relax before hitting the sack.
So when do you get out? Or, maybe more importantly, when would you rather get out?