It is about that time of year again where the daylight hours are less, the nights are getting colder, but the runs don’t stop. Unless you have the luxury of being able to run on your lunch break, you are probably running in the dark, either early in the morning or late at night. For the ultra runners out there, training runs are even longer, and could start as early as 4am or go as late as 11pm, depending on which race distance you are training for. Here we have the top tips for running at night from some of our Team Injinji Pro Athletes.
Photo by Matt Van Horn
Ditch the headlamp and use a waist light such as Kogalla. The brand Ultraspire also makes a sweet belt.
Lots of people are scared to run in the dark. It's really just like running in the day...but without light! So, get a light, grab a friend (or your dog or donkey), and get out there! There's nothing like finishing your run while watching the sunrise!
Always be aware of your surroundings and never run with headphones!
Carry a little flashlight along with wearing your headlamp. The little flashlight helps with the shadows the headlamp can portray, and also more lighting is never a bad thing, especially for pointing out rocks, roots, etc.
Invest in a good light! Headlamps have come a long way and with a bright light, you can run any terrain at night you can in the day. Also, carry an emergency backup just in case!
Wear white/reflective clothing and a head torch upfront, as well as a blinking light in the back.
For the downhills while running at night, use a waist-light or handheld light in addition to a headlight. Having light from two sources makes it easier to see rocks, roots, and undulations on the trail.
If you're on trails, keep your steps a little higher than normal. Vision is going to be compromised, so make sure that you're stepping over the ground instead of through the ground. It will really help decrease the amount of times you catch your toe on something.
Don't get too hung up on your pace during the night, especially during training. You will naturally slow down if you can't see well and feelings of sleepiness at night may further hamper your speed. Avoiding catastrophic falls is more important than hitting time or pace goals!
Turn off the music! Not only do you hear the peaceful sounds of the night you also HEAR the sounds of the night.
Wear high-visibility clothing and headlamps, have your senses heightened, and run as if you are invisible. Instead of assuming cars will avoid you, assume they will not. And the woods are always safer than the road.
Similar to any part of trail running, practice, practice, practice! Test out different gear to see what works best for you, and always remember, safety first. Practice good judgment, bring a friend until you are comfortable enough to run by yourself, and have fun enjoying the trails at night! Consider wearing Mini-Crew or Crew lengths for extra protection against dirt, branches, rocks, or other debris along the trail!