When did you last experience a satisfying and fulfilling run? With busy schedules and hectic work hours, most people do not feel that they have enough time to balance so many activities in a day. However, if you want to stay healthy and fit, then a compromise needs to be made. You could try shifting things around in your day’s plan, but can you really spare the precious hours of the day? What about the night, did it ever come across your mind to go running at night? When the sun goes down, the runners come out!
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With more runners turning towards night runs, you too can explore the benefits, the convenience and the rush associated with it. Lace up and get ready to enter a whole new world of running. Read on to find out tips for running at night.
Now that you have decided to start your journey into the night, you need to make it a commitment.
Hey, it’s not challenging!
It’s just like what you would do for a day run or workout, you need to make a night schedule. This enables you to start your run and finish before it gets too late in the night. Do not compromise your sleep, you should be able to make time for both.
Another challenge that comes with this type of running is in winter, where it starts to get dark earlier maybe around 5 or 6 in the evening. The cold temperatures can also make it quite off putting and without proper dressing you could catch a cold. To stay focused, plan ahead and enjoy your runs, read our tips on running at night.
One of the most important aspects that you should learn, when it comes to running at night, is how to make your runs as safe as possible. Your personal safety is always a factor, whether it is a day run or workout, you should always keep your health and security first.
Make sure, for any type of run, that you know about your running pace, heart rate, and potential conditions or injuries. Be precautious, as over exerting yourself can be extremely dangerous for your body. Consult a physician if you have an existing heart condition or injury, to understand just how much you should be running and for how long. To learn about your BPM and heart rate zones, read the article Find Your Heart Rate Zones While Running.
Other aspects of running at night to consider:
When picking a night run route for yourself, make sure it is close by to your home, for convenience, or at an optimal distance from where you live so that you do not spend time traveling back and forth. Ensure that you plan to run on a good path, that is well lit and has enough space on the road for cars and commuters on foot. This makes certain that other cars and vehicles can see you and that you can see where and what you are running on.
Make sure you know every corner and bump in the road, so that you are familiar with it at night, preventing the risk of getting lost or straying away from your path.
You may want to wear a great running outfit or just happen to have all black workout clothes, but do not compromise safety for clothing. Especially at night, it is best to wear comfortable clothes, good running shoes, and most of all make sure they are brightly colored or have reflective material. Buying a reflective vest could come in handy to reflect off of passing headlights. You can even add strobe lights to your clothing, red lights on your back, and white on your front to be entirely sure you will be spotted.
Letting your friends and family know about your running schedule is a good practice in case of emergency. You should always inform someone before a run and perhaps about the route as well so that they know how or where to find you.
Keep your route simple by finding a nearby path, easy to access, good for runners, and not too long. You can try to find a path that loops back to where you started or back to your home. If looping is not possible, then try finding a path which continues for a distance, and then doubling back on the same route to your starting point.
Wondering what to wear or carry for your night run? Check out the top night gears for runners.
If you have chosen to start running at night, then you are up against colder temperatures or unforeseen weather changes. Therefore you need to pack and wear the right clothing for your run. You will require a variety of equipment to prepare for your run and overcome all obstacles. With these items, you will ensure your safety and comfort on any one of your night runs.
One of the foolproof methods to stay seen while running at night is to don a reflective vest. Get a light or medium weight vest that zips up and can also work to keep you warm. This reflective material helps reflect the lights coming from vehicles or street lamps to ensure you are visible to anyone coming your way.
This is not deemed an essential item, however, it could come in a time of emergency. The strong light will guide you through the darkness and clear your path. You can find less heavy models that could be easy to wear and not hamper your run.
These lights can be worn on clothes to signal to other commuters or vehicles that you are on the road. They are especially helpful when there very dark paths ahead, or routes that you are uncertain about. Cyclists use similar lights on their clothes and bicycles to protect themselves. Make sure you have red lights on your back and white lights on your chest, this is to ensure to others around you, as to which direction you are going in.
Try not to go running at night with headphones or playing music. This is because you will need to be aware of your surroundings, specifically at night, and by distracting your hearing you could increase the risk of getting into an accident.
Besides procuring the necessary equipment, route, clothing, and shoes for your run, there are other important factors that you should definitely consider. Have you thought about your nighttime warm up routine or choosing the right food for your late workout? Here are some tips on what you should think about before planning your run.
Have you thought about your nighttime warm up routine or choosing the right food for your late workout? Here are some tips on what you should think about before planning your run.
Due to the shift from running in the daytime to nighttime, you may have to delay your dinner or evening meal. This may leave you hungry before your run or craving a snack. As your last meal was probably lunch, you will need to replenish your strength and energy with food. So here are some pre run snack recommendations to best aid your run.
It would be best to take a snack about two to three hours before the run. This means taking the right quantity of carbohydrates and protein before you run either in the late afternoon or evening.
After running at night, you would most probably go straight to eating dinner to re-energise yourself. This is better than just taking another snack or a post run smoothie. To improve muscle and recovery you should eat foods high in protein. Hydrate yourself well and try to eat as soon as you complete the run to give your body time to break down the nutrients. You will need to ensure you provide an adequate time interval between eating and sleeping. Delaying food could alter and mess with your sleep patterns, something you definitely do not want.
As you may not have that much time to thoroughly warm up and cool down, try to fit in a walk or activity that involves movement to ensure that your blood starts pumping. Do you find no time for a good long run? Then you can shorten your run further to allow a good warm up session. Never forget to warm up or cool down as they are both vital accompaniments to your running and bodily health.
Running at night is a beautiful experience, step outdoors to run through the street or track and enjoy the sounds and sights of the night. Embrace the darkness, its mystery, and wonder. Now that you know more about running at night and are more comfortable giving it a go in future, remember to always put safety first, and proceed with caution. Let us know more about your experience, and give us your suggestions in the comments below.
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