A really cool University of Birmingham study on time of day and peak performance has been released. While it has been known in the literature for a while that people tend to do better later in the day, the study seems to reliably predit for peak performance times based on entrained wake up.
Researchers grouped athletes according to three possible circadian rhythms; early, mid, and late, and ran a beep test on them at varying times of day.
They found that peak performance varied based on how much time had passed since each individuals entrained wake up time, that time at which they would generally prefer to wake up.
Full link here, plus the article contains a video abstract that breaks things down pretty clearly, but the highlights are:
“There are significant differences in each performance time between each circadian phenotype.”
“Time since entrained wake up is the major and most reliable predictor of peak performance.”
“Individual performance can vary up to 26% over the course of the day.”
So if you’re looking to bust that PB wide open, try to pick a time of day that suits your natural rhythm. If you’re a morning person, go in the afternoon. If you’re a night owl, go in the evening.