Whether you are more motivated in the evening or simply don’t have the time during the day, running at night, and especially in the dark, is a common occurrence for many dedicated runners. However, running at night does present potential problems, not least safety.
If you want safe and effective runs at night, follow the helpful tips below.
Don’t forget, if available, treadmills provide a smooth surface for running in a protected area.
Doing a monthly fitness challenge is a great way to get fit and healthy without following rigid plans you cant stick to – instead, you have a whole month to exercise as and when you can to complete a goal. If your schedule is hectic and you can’t commit to classes, check out Race At Your Pace’s running challenges, which give you the freedom to run whenever, day or night.
Tips for Running at Night
Want to get out and hit the road after work? Read these useful tips first!
Wear the Right Clothing
When running at night, wearing reflective clothing is must! Whether you have a vibrant jacket, reflective arm bands, flashing lights, or all three, be sure to make yourself seen. In low-lit areas, especially on roads, runners can be in great risk from cars. Ensure you are unmissable with the correct clothing and prevent a dangerous car run-in.
Also be prepared for temperature changes. At night, temperatures may drop suddenly and leave you feeling cold. Wear layers and thermals to keep yourself adequately warm during your run.
New to running and not sure what to wear? Here is the ultimate guide to what to wear when running.
Know Your Route
A night-time run is not the time to try a new route or change things up – stick to where you know and stay safe.
Familiarity is important, especially in the dark. Getting lost is stressful enough, but getting lost in the dark is frustrating, not to mention scary!
From knowing the way back home, to being familiar with any difficult terrains, knowing your route can help you stay safe, avoid confusion, and prevent any nasty falls.
If it’s dark outside, running in well-lit areas is advisable. Plan a route round busy pedestrian areas or locations with lots of lighting to increase your peace of mind and visibility of potential hazards.
Even in a well-lit area, it is a good idea to have a head-torch or flashing lights on you to alert others as well as light up your path ahead.
Bring Your Phone
Your phone is not something you should leave behind – especially not when running at night!
If needed, you can use your phone to get a taxi, check your location on a map, or call a friend. Even if your run is in a safe well-lit area close to home, having your phone on hand for emergencies can give you increased peace of mind.
To reassure your family and friends before heading out for a night-time run, use a running app to live-track your location. This way, they can track your progress and know where to find you. There are plenty of great running apps, with many features alongside tracking, to suit your needs.
But, if your phone is with you, avoid the temptation to listen to music while running at night. Having music blaring may distract you and reduce your awareness to surrounding sounds such as a car horn.
Wait After Eating
When running at night, it is likely you will be running after dinner, or even over your usual dinnertime. It is important you eat when you are hungry and fuel your body, but also to leave adequate time after eating to then exercise.
Although causation is not confirmed, eating or drinking large amounts right before exercising can result in a stitch. Getting a stitch can be painful and also very frustrating, as it is likely to disrupt the tempo of your run and slow your progress.
See more: Stitch Whilst Running – How to Avoid Stitches When Running.
If you are hungry, have a snack, such as a banana, to keep you full for the duration of your run. You can always have more to eat once you are back home. Healthy post-run snacks include protein shacks and peanut butter on toast.
Bring a Friend
Switch out your usual evening pub trip for a healthy alternative – a catch-up run! Bring a friend or two along on your night run to make it fun as well as safe. There truly is “safety in numbers”.
Alternatively, bring along your furry friend for a night-time run. There is plenty of fun to be had running with your dog. If you aren’t sure how to get started, here are some tips for running with your dog.
Whenever you run, no matter the time of day, stretching is a vital step in your warmup and cool down. Avoid finishing your run, having a shower, and jumping straight into bed, and instead take the time to care for your muscles. Without a brief stretch session, there is higher chance of injury and muscle strain.
Don’t neglect warmup stretches either. Static stretches can actually do harm if your muscles are not yet warmed up, so be sure to do some dynamic moves and get your body in action.
Find out more about the best stretches for runners here.
Get Started with Race At Your Pace
If you are looking to get fit and healthy but have a busy life, then Race At Your Pace is for you. With flexible monthly challenges for a variety of exercises, as well as varying distance goals to keep you pushing on, we offer something for everyone. From beginners to experts, we have a community of active and motivational fitness-fanatics eager to meet their goals and inspire others – check out our testimonials!
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