Running at night September 30 2015, 0 Comments
Nights are closing in. The equinox has passed and sunset here in Switzerland is currently shortly after 7pm rather than well after 9pm around the summer solstice. In another three months it will be dark before 5pm. For morning runners it will not be light until we are on the way to work. Temperatures are dropping, and so it's worth thinking about clothing and equipment for the changing season.
Firstly, if you are running off-street in unlit locations, a torch is a good idea. I have a small LED hand-held torch which gives me light to see what is in front of my feet, but prefer to allow my eyes to dark-adapt. You can see a surprising amount if you do this, and I find that I enjoy my surroundings more than I would if my horizon was limited to the reach of the torch. Some prefer head-torches, which leave your hands and arms free. A couple in our running group have head-torches with enough candle-power to reach Austria, blinding everyone behind them when they turn round to see who is following, and then turning to go on and leaving us to stumble on in a red-haze.
As it is getting cooler, clothing layers allow you to adjust your temperature as you warm up during the run, and cool down again afterwards. I find that full length arm and leg coverings from Sport HG are a good foundation as they wick sweat away from the body, with shorts, shirts, pullovers, etc on top as needed. I usually have a change of clothing waiting at the end of the run in case it rains, and tie the additional layers around shoulders and waist as required. Many run with a small backpack into which additional clobber can be packed. It's cool enough now to change to Thermoprene Apex and Hero winter shoes which cope with the cold up to and including snow and ice. Last year in the snow I rinsed mud off my Heroes in a stream and my feet were comfortably warm for the rest of the run.
Finally, the accessories. A neck-warmer makes an astonishing difference to feeling cosy in cold weather, and gloves and an ear-covering hat for the extremities can be added and subtracted according to need. For wet weather I tend simply to add more layers to separate me from the water and allow the layers closest to me to warm through. Simple plastic rain protection tends to get just as wet on the inside as it is outside, so if you use waterproofing, best are high-tech fabrics which allow moisture passage outwards but not inwards.
In Sweden, renowned for it's chilly winters, they say that there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing. Telephone apps allow us to predict running weather pretty accurately now. Between the two, we can run comfortably all year round.