Night Running: Pros and Cons

 <- My vest was not this cool.

I’ve always been partial to running at night. Twelve years ago when I first started running I was fat (so proof that anyone can run). I can remember someone remarking that the only reason I could run was because my weight pushed me forward (though I remember this asshole distinctly, I’ll withhold the name to protect their identity.) Yep – it was a brutal comment to hear, but nonetheless gave me the drive to continue running.

For a few reasons, I think that running at night is the bomb-dot-com:

  • Running at night always seems more peaceful. The darkness provides a bit of a safe-haven if you’re a little self-conscious; when you’re not super stoked to publicize a rosy face, runny nose and the look of death from running.
  • If you’re like me (swivel head) there’s actually less to see at night, so you can focus on your breathing (or just remember to breathe period.) And technique.
  • It’s a huge stress reliever. If you’ve had a particularly hectic day, go for a jog. I guarantee by the time you come back, you’ll feel better about whatever problems you had prior.
  • Finally, I like to belt out songs while running and this just seems less strange at night. I do tone it down if I happen to meet someone on my travels, but I guess it helps that I can’t see the expression on their face.

 Now there are some downfalls to running at night: 

  • Cars. Make sure you wear reflective bands. When my parents bought me a running vest several years back, I felt like a complete tool – however, I’d much rather wear a running vest than the grill of a car.
  • Weird people come out after dark. Be mindful of who is around you. Keep an ear bud out or turn your music down so you can hear better. And it doesn’t matter if you live in the nicest, wealthiest neighbourhood as my mom says “Rich people are weirdos too, sometimes the worst,” (this advice she gave while I lived in NYC.)
  • It’s hard to sleep after a night run. During my university days I could work until 11 p.m. and then go for a run, not the case anymore. If I run past 8 p.m. I am wired for most of the night.
  • It’s dark. Duh. Know your route so you don’t hurt yourself. Actually, I do the same 5K route pretty much all the time and I still managed to slip off the pavement and complete a full somersault in front of a mortified dog-walker.

In spite of the cons, running at night is still my favourite time of day to run. I feel stronger at night and I always have my best runs. If you are going to run at night, make sure people can see you, take ID and your cell phone (just in case you need to call a cab!)

I’m interested to hear from other runners who get out in the wee hours of the morning, or on their lunch breaks. Let me know what time of day you consider the best for a great run and why!

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