I mentioned night running in my blog and I had a few requests to write a post on how I prepare for running in the dark.
It took a very scary experience to make me rethink my night time race strategy. I always comply with race regulations: you need to carry a head torch 🔦 and a extra set of batteries with you. Perfect! I have that! These days head torches are slightly easier to open to replace the batteries but when I started you still needed a coin to open the back of the light to replace the batteries.
It wasn’t until during one of my 24-hour races when I came upon a runner struggling in darkness trying to find a battery that dropped out of his cold hands in the ankle depth mud at 2am that made me think… what if that was me? What would I do? What if there is no one around to help me?
But I change little to my lights.
Until my first UTMB! I needed to have two lights and I decided to go for lite weight over brightness. I had my normal trusted head torch 🔦 which I’ve used for numerous events where I was running in the dark and I ran with it on every early morning run. I know it and trusted it but unfortunately the foggy, rainy weather conditions up Mont Blanc was outside of my lights comfort zone and mine! I could barely see the ground in front of me while winding up this single track footpath. I had an even smaller light in my backpack because let’s face it I wasn’t planning on using it an I didn’t wanted to carry the weight. I strapped this tiny light around my wrist to lit the way for my feet so I could use my head torch to lit the path. I progressed through the night but unfortunately not fast enough and missed the cut off point.
That scared 😧 feeling made me change. I now run with two lights. One around my waist and one on my head. The one around my waist lit the ground in front of my feet and the one on my head the route in front. I now don’t have to worry about changing batteries and it helped me to run my night time races much faster because I can see 👀
Despite my lights there are a few other things to remember when you venture out into the darkness.
1. Always run with your phone 📱 You never know where you might need to phone someone for help or to inform someone that you might be out longer than expected.
2. Always tell someone that you will be running in the dark🌚. Let them know where you are planning to run and for how long.
3. Make sure that your clothing is reflective so that 🚗 cars can see you!
Running in can be scary when you start but like everything else the more you do it, the more you get used to it. I 💖 love running in the dark. It’s peaceful and I get to see amazing sunrise…