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Running at Night


I've been running regularly for more than 6 months and see no reason why that will ever stop. With a 10k behind me, I'm training to do a half marathon. The twist in my regimen is that I usually run at night with my samoyed.

Running at night is a different experience from running under the day star. There are less people, less traffic, it's cooler, and more dangerous.

Tip 1: stay on the right-hand side of the road.

If you're going against traffic, the headlights will constantly ruin your night vision. Most cars are set up to shine the headlights a little to the right, which means you're getting far more lights shined in your eyes if you're on the left side of the road.

Tip 2: thin-soled shoes are dangerous.

Since I started running, I've become a huge fan of Vibram Five-fingers shoes. My first model was the Treksport. I step on a few liquidambar seed pods every time I go out. With the Treksports I feel them but it does not hurt much. The one time I wore my pair of KSO's, I hit a rock at full force and have not worn them since. When the strap on my Treksports broke, I bought a pair of Speed and have found the protection satisfactory, but not quite as good as the Treksport.

Tip 3: try using a metronome instead of music.

I tried listening to upbeat music when I started out, but it kept distracting me. For me, running is more mental than physical, so this is rather important. I installed a metronome app on my phone and started at around 80BPM, taking two steps to a beat to reach 160 steps per minute. It's hard at first, but once you get into you it becomes easy to line up your steps & breathing and really pack the miles on. It's also handy on race day to keep yourself from overdoing it early in the race.

Another advantage over music is that the tick of the metronome doesn't drown out the sounds around you. The additional sensory information can be crucial at night.

Tip 4: have a regular route and stick to it.

This is an unusual one for me. Any time I run during the day, I take off in a random direction and try to find new routes every time. At night, I pretty much always take the same 5 mile route. I know where all of the sidewalk bulges are. I know where people smoke in their driveways. It really helps lighten the mental load and keep me safe.