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As winter creeps closer and days grow darker here in the northern hemisphere, many of us runners with daytime jobs are faced with 2 options: 1 stop running, or 2, running at night.
It’s safe to say that putting your running schedule on pause during the winter months is not ideal, so let’s work with option number 2!
In this article, we are going to go through everything you need to know about running at night so that by the end, you’ll be a confident and safe nighttime runner. We will dive into:
- 6 benefits of running at night,
- 5 tips for running at night,
- 5 safety tips for running at night,
- And we will finish with our top picks of the best night time running gear out there.
Ready to become a nighttime warrior?
Let’s get into it!
6 Benefits of running at night
Go ahead and snooze your morning running alarm guilt-free armed with the knowledge that your nighttime run comes hand in hand with so many benefits. Let’s explore them!
1. It’s a way to fit running around your schedule
The morning is often fully booked.
Maybe you’ve got to get the kids ready, fed, and on their way, or maybe you’ve got to get yourself ready, fed, and on your way! Maybe you’re one for a gentle, easy morning- a cup of coffee, a stretch, and a journal situation.
Or maybe you just hate mornings.
All valid! And the good news: you can keep your morning routine!
Unless you’re a college student, the evenings often allow you more time to your self- make the most of it!
2. Running at night can make you more aware of your body
As you run around in the daylight, you obviously rely heavily on what you can see to guide you forward as you run. Your vision dictates where your feet strike, and, depending on the surface type, how your feet hit the ground.
However, when you run at night, instead of relying on your vision, you force yourself to rely more heavily on where your feet strike.
This focus allows your body to be more receptive and reactive to the ground it’s travelling over, leading to a state of sharpened sensory awareness.
3. Running at night is a great de-stresser
Some people like to unwind after a long day by settling in in front of the TV. However, if you really want to shake off the stress of the day, a flood of endorphins is incredibly effective.
No one has felt worse off after heading out for a run and the runner’s high is a real thing.
4. You can work in tune with your natural rythm
On, this one isn’t for everyone, but it may be that you’re just not a morning person!
Morning runs have amassed a lot of moral high ground. They are great, but some people are actually just night owls and no matter how hard they try, running in the morning just sucks (I’m proudly one of these people).
It’s much easier to go with your body’s natural cycles rather than fighting them. You’ll end up enjoying your runs more, and having a much more sustainable running career in the long run.
5. Running at night is meditative
Running at night means that your distractions are minimised. No daytime hustle and bustle, nothing to look at, just you and your run.
6. You’re (hopefully) already fuelled
When you go for a long run in the morning, you have to think about your pre-run nutrition so that you don’t end up crashing hard mid-run. This might mean waking up extra early before your run so that you have time to digest your breakfast.
This is not a problem for night runners, we have the advantage of having way more time awake before our run. This means that we can more easily plan our pre-run nutrition without losing out on sleep.
5 safety Tips for running at night
To state the obvious, it’s dark at night, and with darkness comes reduced visibility.
The following safety tips are going to give you the tools to 1, see at night, and 2, be seen at night.
1. Wear a running headtorch
You may not need one if your route takes you through well-lit roads, but if you prefer running off-road and on trails, a running headtorch will make it possible to keep an eye out for any sneaky rocks and roots you’ll want to avoid.
You’ll be surprised at how powerful and lightweight some running head torches are!
2. Wear high visibility clothes
It’s so important that cars and bikes can see you as you’re out on your run, especially if you’ll be crossing roads.
High visibility gear can be cheap, lightweight, and a very effective way to stand out and make your nighttime run a lot safer.
You could consider high visibility arm or ankle bands, a vest, or a high visibility waterproof or windbreaker. Keep reading for our top suggestions for nighttime high visibility gear.
3. Let someone know where you’re going
Generally speaking, when you’re running at night, you come across fewer people. Fewer people might sound like a good thing, but it also means that if you end up falling over and hurting yourself, you aren’t as likely to be found and helped by passers-by.
That’s why it’s important for someone to know where you’ll be going.
If you live with someone, tell them your route and rough timeframe. That way, if your run takes much longer than expected, they’ll be able to call you or do a sweep of your route.
There are also safety tracking apps out there. Strava premium has a feature called Beacon that allows you to share your live location with others.
4. Listen out for traffic
With reduced visibility, you’ll have to rely more on your ears for avoiding traffic.
If you’re wearing headphones, hit pause on your music as you approach junctions or cross streets. Or even better, run with no music at all!
5. Choose the path most travelled
Depending on where you live, it might be a good idea to run in well lit built-up areas where there is still a heavy footfall, even at night.
Trust your intuition, if you feel safer running in busier areas at night, do that!
5 top picks : the best nighttime running gear
As we have seen, running at night takes a little more preparation than running in the daytime… and a little more kit.
So, here are our top picks for nighttime running gear to get you out in the dark safely and in style.
Owning a good headlamp can be a game-changer. It can offer you greater visibility on the roads at night, and even give you the confidence to take on the nighttime trails!
This tiny head torch packs a punch. Weighing in at just 69g, it reaches 330 Lumens and has a whopping 40 hours of battery life as well as a red night vision setting.
With this, you’ll have no excuses not to run after nightfall.
[amazon bestseller=”biolite headlamp 330″ items=”1″]
This clever looking reflective vest (if you can even call it that), looks like the future of high visibility.
Instead of relying on car headlights to hit you before you’re visible, the noxgear Tracer360 will alert the driver of your presence from up to a quarter of a mile away.
Its X shape allows for 360-degree vision, and with its easily adjustable straps and the fact that it is so lightweight, you won’t even realise you’re wearing it.
If you’re a fan of brooks and enjoy running at night, look no further! These shoes combine an essential running item with high visibility, meaning that forgetting your high visibility gear on a night run just isn’t an option.
[amazon bestseller=”brooks ghost 14″ items=”1″]
If you’re not keen on the idea of a headtorch, a waist light can provide all the same benefits and can be a great alternative.
UltrAspire’s is lightweight and water-resistant, its wide beam means that you can be aware of your surroundings, and its steady beam prevents eye fatigue.
[amazon bestseller=”ultraspire lumen collection waist belt” items=”1″]
These reflective bands are a very cheap and effective way of staying visible when running at night. Just loop these around your arms, wrists, ankles, legs, or wherever is most comfortable for you.
It goes to show that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to stay safe out there.
[amazon bestseller=”reflective visibility walking running reflector” items=”1″]
Now you’re all set for a successful night run
Running at night may seem intimidating at first, but make the leap! You’ve got this!
Just make sure you don’t make any of these terrible pre-run mistakes: Here’s The 6 Worst Things To Do Before A Run