This time of the year, with the days so short, it’s inevitable that your available run time will dramatically decrease unless you’re prepared to run in the dark. Until recently, I’d equated that to either finding a route under some convenient streetlights, or being reduced to taking up gym membership so you could use a treadmill. OK, I’d obviously never do the latter, but I guess it’s an option for some.
I’ve recently discovered an informal running group which organises a run the same day every week at 7pm. These runs took advantage of the fantastic countryside around where I live, and the local knowledge of the keen trail runners in the group. I’d done a couple of them in the back end of summer before work commitments got in the way, and was keen to do some more as soon as I was able. However, by the time this happened the nights were drawing in. Undaunted, the group apparently kept running, doing the same thing, but lit by headtorches.
Last week I ran a route in the dark which I had previously run in the summer. The warm evening and the incredible views were replaced by a pretty chilly run when I could see very little apart from the immediate ground beneath my feet and the flashing shoes of the runner in front of me. The sounds were entirely different too; the footfall seemed more pronounced and the sounds of the countryside came to life. It was remarkably exhilarating yet at the same time restful.
So, did I prefer this route in daylight, or in the dark? Very different but brilliant experiences - I'd do either again in a flash.
Having done this a couple of times now, I am a convert to night running. All you need is a decent headtorch (I’ve invested on a 300 lumen Petzl model and it’s fabulous), and you’re away. Drop your speed, focus on where you're putting your feet, tune in to your body and how you're breathing.
Embrace the dark.....