Maybe your mornings and afternoons are packed with commuting, work, shuttling kids, and everything else on your to-do list. And you just can’t fit in a run during the day. Maybe you just like to sleep in. Yes?
Or maybe it’s crazy hot where you live. And night running when it’s cooler seems like a better choice than not running at all.
I’ve logged hundreds of night running miles over the years on city streets, country backroads, and even through thick forest, where some nights can be the can’t-see-your-hand-in-front-of-your-face dark.
...sometimes in all-black clothing (Duh! Don’t do this, OK.)
In fact, I had one super close call while night running that could have been my last and final run, if you know what I mean.
Thinking about going for a night run? Here’s a few things to know before stepping out into the dark…
Ever Heard of ‘Knock Off a Runner’ at Night?
I was training for the Mountain Lakes 100-Mile ultra, and needed to fit in a long run on a Saturday packed with family activities.
Even if I woke up at the butt-crack of dawn, I still couldn’t finish a 30-miler without showing up late to all the things.
So I decided on a night running route to get in the miles after the kids were asleep.
I didn’t know it, but I was about to become the target in a game of ‘Knock off a Runner.”
On a recent night run...
I was running on a country road. No shoulder. A ditch on one side, blackberry bushes on the other and cloud cover blocked much of the moonlight.
I was running into oncoming traffic so I could see any headlights (that’s what you’re supposed to do, right?)
I could hear a vehicle coming from behind. But I wasn't particularly worried. I was in the opposite lane.
When the vehicle got closer, I looked over my shoulder expecting to watch it go by.
But That’s Not What Happened…
Instead the driver swerved, crossing the double-yellow line, and came at me.
I was on the blackberry-bush side of the road. I got over as far as I could.
And when the white truck whizzed by, it was so close, it whacked my right arm with it's sideview mirror. I was stunned, but not hurt. And I was mad. But it could have turned out a lot differently.
I actually called 9-1-1 and officers met me on my run, checked me out, and raced up and down the road looking for the white truck. But without a plate number or better description, it was long gone.
I really have no idea what the driver was thinking. My first thoughts…
Maybe the person was texting while driving, saw me at the last minute and swerved just in time.
Maybe the person was impaired, drinking while driving, or under the influence and just didn’t have all their marbles
Or maybe the person was intentionally playing ‘Knock Off a Runner” and I managed to escape
If You’re Going Night Running….
That close call made me take a closer look at night running. Can it be a reasonable training option to fit in a long run? Or is it too dangerous?
If you’re short on time, serious about fitting in a run, and night running is your only option, you’re probably going to do it, even if it is dangerous. Runners are stubborn like that sometimes.
If you are going night running, here’s what I recommend...
1. Wear Reflective Clothing
A vest, shirt, pants, shorts, hat, with reflective striping. You can even go with reflective velcro straps, or tape, making it easier for drivers to see you. Check out some of these reflective-gear options:
Thinking about going for a night run? It’s a great way to fit in the miles when your day is pack or daytime temperatures are blazing hot. But if you’re going to go for a run at night, be safe. I’ll see you out there.