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Tips and Gear Recommendations for Night Running in 2021

A man running at night.
Lear Miller Photo/Getty Images

If you can squeeze in a workout while the sun is still shining, congratulations, you’re a time management pro. If you stay late at the office or spend what little time you have outside of work fulfilling personal and social obligations to friends and family, though, you’re not alone. Many people have taken up night running out of pure necessity because a workout at night is better than no workout at all.

Sure, you could always pick up a new treadmill for running, but the other option is to face the darkness head-on. Nighttime running isn’t all bad. Night runners take advantage of the cooler temperatures to maintain their fitness levels without getting drained by the changing temperature. However, you should exercise caution when running at night, as the darkness makes it harder for cars or bicycles to see you. These are our top tips and gear picks for getting through your early morning or evening runs in one piece.

Stay Illuminated

Running with a headlamp can feel bulky and even painful. They either bounce around too much or are so tight they leave a dent in your head afterward. But they can be a real life-saver on night runs to illuminate your path and alert cars when you’re in their path.

BioLite Headlamp 200

BioLite Headlamp 200.

The BioLite Headlamp 200 has a wide band made from moisture-wicking material that evenly distributes the light 50-gram load, preventing any forehead dents. The 200 lumens offer plenty of light for you to see the road and for drivers to see you. On low, the light lasts 40 hours. The high mode won’t last all night, but at three hours, it will get you through a tough trail section or a creepy back alley. When it’s time to recharge, just plug in the Micro USB cable.

SlapLit Rechargeable LED Slap Wrap

NiteIze SlapLit LED Slap Wrap.

For the ultimate convenience, we turn to a kid’s tool. The SlapLit Rechargeable LED Slap Wrap by Nite Ize is a mouthful to say, but it’s easy to use. Inspired by slap bracelets, just slap the SlapLit on your wrist, arm, or ankle. The USB-rechargeable battery inside gives you five hours of constant or flashing light. The reflective patterning lights up in headlights for extra flash.

Nathan Light Bender LED Band

Nathan Light Bender LED Band.

For a little bit more light, the Nathan Light Bender LED band is like a (stylish and safe) Christmas tree. It’s waterproof, sweatproof, and lasts for eight hours with constant light or 16 hours of flashing light. The Light Bender can change to red, green, or blue at the tap of a button and recharges quickly with a Micro USB port. Place it on an arm or a leg so others can see the movement to know you’re a runner.

Track Your Progress

If it’s not online, then it didn’t happen. Jokes aside, tracking runs can help with accountability and let friends know where you are.

Garmin 245 Music Running Watch

Garmin 245 Music Running Watch.

The Garmin 245 Music Running Watch syncs while you run with the Connect app to share your location with selected contacts and to send alerts in case it detects an accident. The watch can store 500 songs from Deezer, Amazon Music, or Spotify (but be careful with headphones at night). The GPS tracks your running, pace, and other stats along with a heart rate monitor.

Use Secure Headphones

The beat of the music can be a great motivator. It can also cover the sound of a 2,000-pound hammer on wheels that’s driving right at you. Running at night demands more attention, so either skip the headphones or get a pair that lets you hear better. Remember, be hyper-aware of your surroundings.

AfterShokz Aeropex

AfterShokz Aeropex.

AfterShokz Aeropex headphones (pictured above) vibrate the music through the bones in your head so your ears are left open. If you want more traditional headphones, wear one earbud of your wireless headphones, like the Jabra Elite Active 75t.

Dress for the Weather

Weather can change drastically, so make sure you have what you need to get through whatever wind or rain is forecast. Don’t pull a calf muscle 5 miles from home without a jacket.

Baleaf Men’s Jacket

Baleaf Men's Jacket in bright green.

Your choice of clothing can make a huge difference when running at night. The Baleaf jacket’s reflective stripes and logo enable drivers and cyclists to see you in low-light conditions, which helps prevent vehicular accidents. The hood, meanwhile, is large enough to shield your head from light showers or unexpected drizzles. This makes the jacket ideal for all-weather running. It also comes with six pockets for storing your essentials, from keys to a 5.5-inch phone.

Salomon Reflective Cap

Salomon Reflective Cap.

Hats can be the ultimate protector during bad weather, keeping the rain or sun out of your eyes. They can also be the ultimate visibility tool. The Salomon Reflective Cap looks like any other running hat during the day but lights up like a floodlight at night. The soft, absorbent band is comfortable even when you’re sweating. The AdvancedSkin Shield fabric breaks the wind when you’re facing less-than-ideal conditions.

More Running Tips

Make It Easy

Once the sun goes down, it’s easy to get comfortable at home and want to skip your workout. Set up everything you need to run before you need it, so going on the run becomes inevitable — or at least easier.

  • Get lights that charge with USB.
  • Map a route you know well.
  • Start with 1 mile and go from there.
  • Always begin with something familiar and easy so you don’t avoid the run out of sheer laziness.

Slow Down

With your blood pumping from an evening run, it can be hard to slow down and get to sleep. Time for yoga and meditation to calm that monkey brain and gets some Zs. For yoga, start with poses like Downward Dog, Pigeon, and Low Lunge or your favorite YouTube Yoga. For meditation, check out our guide to meditation for men. Your body will appreciate even a few minutes of stretching and mindfulness.

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