Need a running headlamp to log some miles after dark?
😴Maybe the only time you can fit in a run is late at night after the kids are in bed.
⌚Maybe your preferred running schedule is in the wee-hours of the morning, before sunrise, when it's still dark outside.
🏃♂️Or maybe you're signed up for a 24-hour race, ultramarathon, or long-distance relay where you'll be running through the night.
If you're logging miles in the dark, you need a running headlamp to light the way.
Here's what you need to know...
Run all night...in the dark...through the forest. Sound a little crazy?
Twelve years ago, I'd never done it before.
I'm pretty sure my friend Mike hadn't done a trail run at night before either.
But he was crazy enough to go with me.
Even better, if a cougar, bear, wolf, or Bigfoot came out of nowhere, all I'd have to do is outrun Mike. LOL.
Honestly, neither of us had good running headlamps.
Truth: At the time, I didn't realize there were brighter running headlamps and halogen-style lights for trail running as bright as high beams on a car.
We climbed our way up the trail heading north, within earshot of the Clackamas River.
Every now and then the forest canopy would open up, revealing a starry night and moonlit sky.
Once we stopped, turned out all our lights, and just let the magic of the night sky, the stillness sink in.
And eventually, we popped out at the other end of the trail near Fish Creek...lights already dim from weak bulbs and batteries.
Not long after that first night trail run with my friend, I ran the Cascade Crest 100-Mile Ultra.
And to be honest, I was ill-prepared in more ways than one, including the running headlamp I used.
Fortunately, I subscribe to the mantra "Relentless Forward Motion" and just went in search of a better running headlamp.
Here's the running headlamps I've used over the last 12 years...
If you want to do some serious price shopping for a running headlamp, and you don't need one right away, try eBay like this:
Then sift through the results.
You'll find some low-priced headlamps with a high lumen count. But you might have to wait 4-6 weeks for overseas shipping.
I've bought a few other running headlamps and handheld flashlights this way that I've used for running at night.
If you're looking for a running headlamp to do some night running or racing, a good headlamp will make a big difference.
In my early days of running at night, I didn't have a good running headlamp.
For a while, I ran with a headlamp and a handheld flashlight just to create enough light to see the trail enough to run.
Fortunately, there's a lot of great headlamps available to light the way when you're running at night...
Need a running headlamp? Here's what to look for:
Lumens = the brightness of the light.
In my experience, 300 lumen or less isn't sufficient for trail running at night.
It's OK for road running in a city or neighborhood with some street lighting. But it's not enough to see the ground to safely run a trail.
Tip: Look for a running headlamp that's 500 lumen or brighter.
Here's another potential deal breaker when it comes to choosing a running headlamp...The battery.
You don't want to keep fussing with running headlamp when you're trying to run at night or navigate a trail.
It needs to be comfortable. And it needs adjustable straps to get the fit just right.
Top strap recommended: Some running headlamps only include a single adjustable strap that goes around your forehead. IMO...headlamps with an additional top strap provide stability and better fit to keep the headlamp from bouncing around when you run.
Brain squeeze prevention: If you're running in the dark for hours (at the Mountain Lakes 100 I was in the dark for about 10 hours), you might start to feel like your running headlamp is giving you a brain squeeze. Try wearing a beanie or headband, and place the headlamp over it.
If you live and run in a dry or desert region, you might not have to worry about running in the rain.
But in the Pacific Northwest, it rains about half of the year.
Waterproof and water resistant running headlamps tend to have more rugged casing and rubber washers to protect the interior of the headlamp and prevent water and moisture from getting in.
Every running headlamp's buttons, settings and features are a little different.
Most LED headlamps have a couple of settings or brightness options (which can help prolong battery life)
But you want to make sure the buttons work for you.
Tip: One of the reasons the Fenix HL60R Running Headlamp works well for me...it has a single side-button that controls all the settings and I can use it even with mittens on.
Create a WeeView and tell us about it.