TRAINING: Trail running at night – Get used to it

Arguably (yes I argue with myself) my biggest perceived challenge in running a 100 mile trail race is the obligatory nighttime portion.  Given that I’m not as fast as Rob Krar or Timmy Olson (nor as awesomely bearded,) I cannot possibly run a 100 without logging some miles in the deep, dark night.  This is definitely something that will challenge me in attempting my first 100’s in 2014.

time to get started

time to get started

So, night running will be an integral part of my training plan over the coming months.  I want to have lots of time to get my mind used to running trails at night.  One good thing about where I live, this time of year, is that the days are short.  This means that night running is possible basically anytime after dinner.  I went out last week at just after 7PM and the sun was quickly making its way around the edge of the earth as we know it here.  This is nice because it allows for a few hours of running in the dark without disrupting my old man bedtime too much.

Another critical part of night running is equipment.  I will use these runs to play around with different options: lighting, clothing, glasses, etc.  I don’t have great low light vision, and will likely use prescription glasses to help with this.  The other obvious necessity is the best lighting setup possible to help my eyes see whats in front of me.  I have been running with just a headlamp, but plan to try combining this with a handheld flashlight.  I want to see whether this helps with depth perception to avoid misstepping over roots, rocks, and other obstacles hiding in the darkness.  I also want to try different clothing combinations to shift from daylight warmth over to the inevitable temperature drop at night.

I think running at night is one of things that you just have to get out there and do in order to get better.  That’s my hope anyway!

What tips and tricks do you have for running at night?  Are you a headlamp or flashlight user? Or do you use both? Any mental tricks to keep going at night?

lots of cool stuff to see, even in the pitch black

lots of cool stuff to see, even in the pitch black

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3 responses to “TRAINING: Trail running at night – Get used to it

  1. My go to lighting system used to be Petzl MYO XP on my head in a spot setting and Petzl Tikka XP on my waist (Petzl has a belt adaptor) on a diffuse setting. Always worked very well.

    I’m now using the Petzl NAO though and like the extra lumens.

    Nighttime running in training for race preparation is good to do occasionally, but I sometimes think that too much emphasis is placed on it. However, during the winter months, with less daylight, it will become more of a requirement anyhow.

    • I’m following in your footsteps Derrick. I upgraded from the MYO RXP to the NAO and can’t get over the difference.

      I already am feeling much more comfortable with it so tend to agree that it may not need as much focus as my uninitiated mind originally thought. However, as you said, the next few months will have lots of dark running whether we want it or not.

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