Monday, November 21, 2011

Basic Tips for Trail Running at Night

As winter arrives, it becomes more and more likely that some of your runs will take place in the dark. If you’re a road or sidewalk runner, for the most part you can utilize streetlights to see your way. In the countryside, a full or partial moon may be enough. However, when you hit the trails, you need to think about bringing your own illumination, bet it a flashlight or headlamp.

Flashlights and headlamps vary widely in weight and brightness, and come in a variety of light sources, such as halogen, fluorescent, LED (light-emitting diodes) and conventional tungsten light bulb. These types of lights range in brightness, energy efficiency, durability and cost. Some units allow for adjustability in brightness and intensity of focus, others come with rechargeable battery packs, are water-resistant or waterproof, and still others offer multiple types of light sources. A flashlight has the benefit of being pointed in any direction desired, but must be carried. A headlamp is hands-free, but the head must be turned to light up the sides of the trail.

Combining headlamp and hand-held flashlight gives greater depth perception. The combination of light angles can highlight trail obstacles, remove some of the shadows cast by a single light source, and helps find trail blazes.

Another, more unusual option is to acquire a sternum-level light or wear them a light on the waist.
Road or trail, in the dark it pays to see and be seen -- be safe out there!

Running Times


  1. When I saw the post name I thought the obvious answer was "avoid it"

  2. That pic is very cool. I need to break down and get a headlamp this year...I always depend on my friends and I guess that's not really fair!

  3. Very topical post. I just did my first nighttime trail run, and I was really glad for my headlamp...and really impressed with it. I'll definitely do more night runs on the trail; of course, it helps that our tri club has a regularly scheduled one...I'll do a lot of things alone, but this probably isn't one of them.

  4. Interesting pic!

    I'm too chicken to run when it's so dark - even with a headlamp and flashlight:)

  5. Love the picture...

    I run in the dark a lot just because if I run before work this time of is dark...if I run after is my options are to run in the dark in the dark. I started using a headlamp this year and love it. I am much more visible now too!

  6. If I couldn't read English I'd assume that all I needed to do is take my shirt off and ingest a handful of acid. Then my night runs would go perfectly.

  7. Very cool. I am in the market for lighting and winter trail shoes for a February 50K I want to do. I am looking forward to seeing what running in the snow is like and what tools help success.


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