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Running at Night: Tips and Gear Recommendations for 2021

Tips and Gear for Running at NightIf you can get a workout in 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 if only out of pure necessity because we have just so many hours in a day, and a workout at night is better than no workout at all. Sure, you could take the hit to your wallet and pick up a treadmill for running, but the other option is to face the darkness head-on.

Nighttime running isn’t all bad, and in fact, the cooler temperatures can actually improve your performance. However, night runners should be aware of the fact that the darkness does make 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.

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.

  • Get lights that charge with USB.
  • Run a route you know well.
  • Start with one mile and go from there. Beginning with something familiar and easy will make it harder to avoid out of sheer laziness.

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 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 is 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 the 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 in convenience, we turn to a kids’ tool. TheSlapLit 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

For a little bit more light, the Nathan Lightbender 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 flashing. The Lightbender can change to red, green, or blue at the tap of a button and recharges quickly with a Micro USB port. Place 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.

Skip the 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.

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 upcoming Jabra Elite Active 75t.

Dress for the Weather

Weather can change drastically in the winter from a sunny day to freezing at dusk. 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.

Brooks Nightlife Jacket

Brooks Nightlife Jacket

Speaking of jackets, Brooks makes a great one for running at night. The Brooks Nightlife Jacket has bright patterning over the shoulders and super-reflective piping on the arms and body. No matter in what direction a driver sees the jacket, something will light up. The Nightlife is water- and wind-resistant so no matter what weather you hit on your run, you’ll be comfortable. The whole thing packs into a small chest pocket if you need to throw it into a small pack or suitcase.

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.

Slow Down

With your blood pumping from an evening run, it can be hard to slow down and get to sleep. Time to hit the yoga and meditation to calm that monkey brain and gets some z’s.

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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