It’s time to reflect on night running
15 October 2021
Safety should always be first on your list of priorities when it comes to night-time running
Making route planning, running with friends, and wearing the right kit is very important - but let’s not forget one thing that’s rather significant: it’s fantastic fun! And not only that, keeping your training going is good for you for a host of reasons physically and mentally and will make your winter one to remember.
A freeing sensation
Of course, we’re all a little nervous when it comes to running in the dark and we all must take extra precautions to make it as safe as possible, but it’s certainly worth the time and planning. Take the light for instance. The ambiance after sunset differs completely from your summer run on precisely the same route. There’s less traffic and a sense of tranquillity. It almost feels like the streets are yours. And as you have fewer distractions, you can focus more on your body. Think of it as a freeing sensation that sharpens the senses! And that’s where your Runtogether group comes into its own.
Again it’s worth stressing you must get the safety aspects sorted and your group leader will help you with that: reflective kit is a definite, running as a group becomes even more important and always take a phone with you but remind yourself when it’s dark, wet, cold and watching Coronation Street seems like a better option: there’s nothing like running the day’s care away on the pavement. It is a perfect moment to blow off some steam. The perfect stress-reliever before you drift off to sleep.
Helping you sleep
But do you worry that running late at night will make it harder to fall asleep? In fact, recent research conducted in Switzerland shows that evening exercise doesn’t negatively affect sleep. It’s the opposite. The research shows that exercise help people fall asleep faster and spend more time in NREM (non-rapid eye movement) during the night.
And night running also helps with the way you move. Running in the dark makes you think about your form a but more and as a result daytime movement becomes so much easier. Truly a win-win!
So, with the right gear and a bit of planning a whole new world awaits. And if you still need convicing allow trail runner and Royal Marine Ed Norman to provide you with all the motivation you’ll ever need:
“We all need to expose ourselves to new stresses to improve and develop as people, and training when it’s cold, wet and dark helps us deal with life stress better. Take control of what you can control and reap the rewards in all other aspects of life. Work, and relationships all become easier to deal with. The dark months make up half the year, so if you ignore training in the dark, you’ll have missed six months that you could have spent working on your personal development, health and fitness!”
Gear up for success
Sally Wallis, a mum of three and lover of night running has this advice when she chatted about her nighttime half marathon win.
“Start slow, running in the dark can be daunting at first - your whole environment changes significantly and can take some getting used to. Take it steady if you’re new to night running. Make sure you run with others.
Company will ensure that night-time running is fun, sociable, safe, and something you want to keep doing. And don’t forget to light up! Your most essential piece of night-running kit will be a decent head torch. And finally, stay seen. Whether you run first thing in the morning or late at night, high visibility clothing is vital. Choose a reflective top or jacket, with reflective accents on tights, and high-vis bands on arms and ankles.”
- One solution might be Kukri’s Fluro shirt which is now available in the RunTogther store.
Be safe when wearing headphones
And finally, on the subject of what to wear there’s the headphones you use. As we all know listening to music or an inspirational podcast makes even the toughest miles fly by. But of course, safety both day and night in an issue here. So, let’s not forget the superb AfterShokz system which really does utilise the best of both worlds as it uses bone conduction rather than earphones. So, you can listen to your music while at the same time monitor what’s going on around you. Perfect! A bit like running at night.