Night-Time, Bedtime? Think Again.....
As we now start to venture into darkened nights, we now find that our runs start to get darker and darker. Not only are we having to think about how to be seen but also how to see as well as all of the other challenges that running at night has. Whether you are going for a jog in low light or running throughout the night, this blog will give you some tips and hints as to how to manage it.
I love the challenge of running at night. Having to keep an eye out on the trails keeps my mind occupied while the temperatures drop and you become one with the night. Whether you’re running first thing in the morning before the sun rises or late at night, it certainly takes a lot of dedication and motivation to be able to drag yourself out while others are sat in their homes, snuggled up to a blanket. Once you’ve found your motivation, you certainly won’t struggle to find it again when you find the peace that is the night.
Safety, safety, safety!
Plan your route according to the terrain and amount of light available. I personally love running in pitch black with just my head-torch but I plan a route away from any other traffic without any risk of endangering other runners with my lack of visibility. With less runners on the paths, roads and trails, also be prepared to bring your phone incase of any emergencies.
Be prepared to get a little lost. Unless you’re able to run the route with your eyes closed (because it sometimes feels that way), be prepared to get a little confused as to which route to take. Many fitness trackers allow you to track previous routes and give you real-time guidance en route.
If you’re running and need to be seen by pedestrians, cars and bikes, reflective gear is the way to go. If you’re not a fan of running in bright yellow, there are many options out there for the fashion-conscious ones among us such as the DynaFlyte 3 Lite-Show trainer.
I tend to use glow sticks while I run, as I can easily tape them to my leg without worrying. Having said that, if you don’t have a leg made from metal, consider investing in a good strobe to allow for 360 degree visibility. Flashing strobes can be great to warn drivers from a distance but if you’re running with a group, they can be very distracting for the runners behind you so be cautious of others around you and buy appropriately.
With potential crime around, look at local crime reports to spot safer areas and look at routes that are mostly street-lit. For those that may struggle to get ready for darker runs, make yourself a playlist with motivational music and speeches to kick you into gear.
If you aren’t a confident runner, be careful with music and consider purchasing some high-quality, but low volume headphones that allow you to be aware of your surroundings. During the night, your senses are heightened so try not to block out your ears too much with loud music and allow yourself to embrace the night time calls.
The Cold Nights
With darkness comes the cold so ensure you wrap up appropriately depending on whether you run hot or cold. If you’re running overnight, between 2am-5am is the most difficult time, when your energy levels are low and you are in need of a lovely, warm drink. A nice warm bowl of salty soup can kick away the cramp and keep you warmed up for a good night of running.
Windbreakers and leggings can be your friend when you’re stuck in the cold winds and a fresh pair of socks when you’re freezing your toes off can be your best friend. Gloves and a hat can be a lifesaver and a good jacket can make a real difference to getting yourself out there to embrace the cold.
You’ll be surprised how your mind will play tricks on you when you’re running throughout the night. Songs in the likes of ‘Baby Shark’ will circle round your mind and you’ll find yourself having full conversations with yourself - this is certainly where the fun starts!
As soon as the sun rises, you’ll find yourself with more energy as the blue light waves hit your skin so be prepared to run faster and feel better as the sun comes up.
Running in the dark can be a huge joy as you sprint past the buzzing pubs and nightlife, knowing you’re on your way to a new PB. You’ll sometimes feel invincible as the dark ground rushes beneath your feet. The adrenaline will keep you going and the kit will keep you motivated. You never know, you might turn out to be a real night owl!