Every year as the summer comes to an end, whether running at night or in the early morning, it means one thing: Darker training runs. In order to maintain our weekly mileage, we have to either become friendly with the treadmill or embrace the darkness.
Training Tips for Running at Night
Here are some tips to keep you safe when running in the dark:
Plan your route
If you live near a town, you can usually find a route that is 100% lit with street lights. Consider starting from where you work or a local gym. Keep in mind any road crossings or subways and avoid them if you can. When running at night, if you need to pass a busy path, be sure people headed your way — whether in a car or on foot — can see you.
Share your route
Let someone know your route before you go. If you can estimate, let them know about how long you expect it to take. If it’s been hours, they’ll know where you’ve been and can look for you or call for help. An unexpected injury or strain can mean a long walk back, so it’s a good idea to carry a mobile phone and spare change.
Vary your route
Try to change the time of your run, the direction and vary the route slightly. Don’t make your run predictable to others, especially if running at night alone.
Equipment for Running in the Dark
There are now fantastic pieces of equipment that can make running at night much easier and safer. My night time running equipment of choice is:
I recommend a good high-visibility vest or jacket to be seen and a headtorch to see where you are going. In addition, on rough ground or trail, its advisable to take a small handtorch to spot the tree roots and bumps in the road.
Running at night with a headtorch, especially on dark roads, can improve your posture. Tilting the light downwards means you have to run with your head up. Be aware of where you are looking and avoid looking at your feet.
Pacing in The Dark
Running in the dark takes a bit more care, so expect the run to be a little slower than a daylight run. By all means, run to pace if you have a well-lit route, but take account of the difference — especially when off road.
As a final thought, winter running always seems a bit less appealing, especially when it’s cold and wet, but remember to dress for the middle of the run. Over dressing can be as uncomfortable as getting too cold, so take into account the extra high-visibility layer before putting the extra jumper on.