Running At Night - Steph's Top Tips
As the nights lengthen it becomes pretty difficult to fit all your running into daylight hours but with a little extra planning and some good kit choices you can stick to your training schedule and enjoy the buzz of running in the dark.
Running after nightfall doesn’t have to be a chore. The novelty of running in the dark can invigorate your runs, and familiar routes you have run a hundred times will seem totally new at night. Night-time events such as the Illuminator are fantastic fun, and if you can get in some night running practice you will feel confident and ready to race come event day.
Urban Night Running
If you’re running in a town or city with decent street lights you can plan routes that are well lit. You could even do laps of a set distance so you’re never too far from home. When running near traffic, reflective gear is really important as it will make you visible to people in vehicles and on bikes. There is loads of cool hi vis and reflective running gear available including vests, blinking shoes, arm bands and jackets with built-in lights. Reflective material on your arms and legs is particularly effective as the movement makes you even more noticeable. I would ditch the headphones when running near traffic as it is much safer to have all your senses alert.
Night Trail Running
If you head away from built-up areas into the countryside, night running can be totally amazing: it really feels like a completely different experience. The trails have a special feel to them in the dark and with the beam of your headtorch illuminating only your immediate surroundings it will feel like you’re going super fast. Take a minute to stop, turn off your headtorch, let your eyes adjust to the light and you will be amazed at how much you can actually see. On a clear night the view of the moon and stars will be well worth having braved the dark and cold!
One of the benefits of the longer nights is you don’t have to get up crazy early to be out at sunrise. This is an awesome way to start the day and will energize you for the day ahead.
Night Running Equipment
It’s important you have suitable kit for night running. Make sure to wear plenty of layers and take a rucksack or bum bag with some extra clothes. I often start wearing gloves and a hat, then put them into my bum bag once I have warmed up. A good headtorch is vital and will make all the difference to your night-time running. There are a huge range of head torches available so if you’re unsure go and have a chat with the staff in your local running shop.
Friends in the dark
If you’re nervous about running on your own at night meet up with friends or join you local running club, you’ll be surprised how many people are up for running in the dark. So, as the nights draw in don’t worry about missing out on training, put on an extra layer, grab your head torch and enjoy the thrill of running under the stars!
Just in case you need a little motivation to run in the dark here is a short clip of testing the new lightzone