8 Tips for Night Trail Training
So happy that it is FRIDAY! Which means it’s Fit Friday. Check out the latest video:
I have an amazing long run planned on the trails and a fun brick workout on tap for the next couple days but before I start my weekend, I wanted to talk about night trail training.
The time change has everything pitch black by 5 PM around here. It was an hour past that this past week and I was standing in a parking lot in the pouring rain discussing running route options with my friend, Charlotte. She is one of my many Type A friends that loves to maximize time blocks as much as I do, so we established a week night run to get in night trail training instead of just meeting for coffee and needing to get in our independent runs in afterwards.
Night training is an important aspect of longer trail events. If you are doing events that are going to take you into the wee hours of the morning, it is important to have some solid training sessions in the dark under your belt. Everything shifts at night and it is a completely different way to train physically and mentally. It helps to improve your agility and reaction times because you have less vision and need to rely on your reflexes.
It is also very clear when you need to call it a night because you start getting clumsy and tripping over more rocks and roots.
My tips for night running?
1. Go with someone. Trust me. I don’t care how motivated I feel, I am less likely to want to go out into the dark after coming home from a long day at work. Especially when it is pouring rain like it was this week. Having someone with you allows you to go longer, further and safer than you could go alone. And knowing they are there waiting for you will have you showing up in the first place.
2. Bring a flashlight or headlamp.
I suggest something with a minimum of 200 lumens. You can pick one up at your local hardware (and I mean Home Hardware…), running or adventure store. I have a Petzl for my longer adventure races and an Energizer one for short, easy trail runs like the one I do on week nights.
3. Wear layers. It gets cold at night and if you get lost out there, extra layers will be invaluable.
4. Watch your step. Be aware that you see less than you think you do, especially during fall and winter with snow and leaf cover.
5. Be visible. Have some sort of reflectivity on you. I often wear a jacket with reflective elements or wear my trail shoes with reflective bits.
6. Bring water. I use a hand held water bottle by Nathan. It carries my keys and a gel just in case I get lost.
7. Make sure someone knows where you are going if you are alone. I am THE WORST at this. I live alone. I have Road ID that I haven’t figured out how to make into a bracelet so it’s in a drawer. My family doesn’t even know the last 4 races I have done, much less when I go out training. This is why I do night training WITH someone. If you are alone, do NOT pull a Jessica.
8. Enjoy! Running at night is a total rush and a completely different experience then you would normally get during the day. You hear different animals, you see the trails in a different way and it adds interest and variety to your training routine.
Do you do night training?
What’s on tap for the weekend?