A guide to running at night
We are in the depth of winter here in the Southern Hemisphere; the mornings although lighter can be darkened with low setting cloud not to mention wind gusts and rain. Look forward to the end of the day; the sun has set early; the grey clouds are still around and you are trying to muster up motivation to go for your scheduled training run. But what if running at night could be something you look forward too, invigorating even?
The 10 best tips for running at night
- Night time running helps curb “bad” habits such as unwinding in front of the “box”, giving you renewed motivation and even a better night’s sleep. When you get home, before you turn on the TV, or start cooking dinner get changed into your running gear and run straight out the door; don’t over think it; just do it. When you return from your run, you will be refreshed, invigorated and might even find you have more time in your evening because you have reset your mind and opened it up to a world of energetic possibilities.
- Night running gear differs a little from our day to day running gear; you need a head torch to help you see and we recommended wearing reflective gear in order to be seen by passing vehicles or fellow runners/pedestrians. It can also be cooler at night so dress accordingly; buff, gloves even a long sleeve or rain jacket.
- Listen to natures call or voices during the night run not music. Music tends to over-stimulate the mind which might have a negative effect on your sleep. Music also drowns out the sounds desensitising you to what’s happening around you. If you listen to a podcast or audio book, you can still easily hear the world around you or better yet, keep your ears open to the soundtrack of nature at night, its magical.
- Safety is paramount especially when running by yourself; remember to bring your phone with you. Your phone is a one stop shop for safety; you can call a taxi, use maps to find your way home, text your friend or partner or call emergency services if your run hasn’t gone to plan. Be sure to know the emergency features on your device such as;
- Let out a loud siren noise
- Call emergency services
- Alert your emergency contact with your location
- If you wish to run alone or can’t find a running partner such as a friend or canine friend then let at least one person know you are running and where so they know when they can expect you back. It’s always recommended to have someone know your whereabouts if you were to get stuck in a downpour or run into any type of troubling situation. Safety in numbers as they say.
- Choose the path most travelled. Run in well-lit areas or choose areas that feel the safest to you. Trust your intuition (its hardly ever wrong) and keep all your senses open to sounds or movement that are out of the ordinary. Most importantly, keep calm and trust that nature has your back; we can easily panic ourselves at night so keep your wits about you and enjoy the freedom of night time running.
- Believe it or not, you can run faster at night without increased effort. In a London University study, a group of marathon runners consistently ran at least a minute faster over a 10-km course at night than during the day—without trying any harder. According to one participant, “the evening run seemed easier, even though I was going faster.”
- One of the many benefits of running at night is; it forces you to rely more on your lower-level proprioceptive skills allowing your body to go into a more reactive automatic state with sharper senses and reflexes. It’s kind of like your body is on autopilot which make your runs more effective.
- Everything quietens down at night; less cars on the road, less people which gives you a wonderful opportunity to tap into your internal self, serving as a form of quiet meditation. Night time running allows some quiet headspace and to focus solely on following the rhythm of the breath.
- You feel like a warrior by embracing your night owl status. The air is cooler, fresher even, the world around you quiet and you just feel tougher by owning the silence running fearlessly through the streets or trails; running to greater awareness and better sleep patterns.
We are not all morning people
We get it, mornings can be difficult so time to lace up after a hard day of work, run off that stress and turn that tiredness into a peaceful energy to help you run free into the night and sleep heavy until the morning.
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