Some people are afraid to run trails in the dark. If you fall into this category, fear not! Not only can learning to run at night be fun, it can also be easy to overcome it holds great advantages.
One great thing about night running is how it changes the old into new. You can head out and run the same ol' trail you always run during the day and at night it will both feel and look very different. I love how I can run terrain that I might otherwise hike at night because my perception is more present and my mind can't talk me out of running a hill that I can't see so far ahead. It is an awesome way to build strength! It also awakens other senses that you take for granted when you run during the day. Especially on familiar trails.
Running at night also has other advantages. Especially if you hit more technical terrain! It will help sharpen your reaction times and improve your agility which will translate over nicely come spring when the days get longer and your new year goals get closer.
Lastly, learning to run at night can help you fit in your longer runs and will allow you to maintain your endurance base during the shorter winter days.
flashlight or headlamp?
The first thing to ask yourself when deciding on what light option is best for you is whether you want to carry your light or wear your light.
The flashlight might give runners more precise focus but you'll have to hold it and most new night runners need the focus and confidence in their skill before they are comfortable holding a flashlight.
The headlamp is hands free but some people don't like the light angle and it can sometimes make it difficult to distinguish some technical terrain due to the shadows it can create.
Some people use both.
Most people find it more comfortable to use a headlamp and it your headlamp has at least 100-lumen (preferably 200+ lumen) the trail will be lit nicely ahead of you. Just remember you can't wear a hat with a brim while wearing a headlamp as the brim will cause your lamp to shine too high and far ahead of you. You are best to wear a headband, toque or hat backwards as it will help keep the headlamp in place, yet not obstruct the light.
There are lots of lamps on the market and depending on your budget and needs, you'll want to do a bit of research before purchasing the right one for you.
I use the black diamond Icon lamp and I love it. It is light, comfortable and provides ample light. You can purchase this lamp at True Outdoors if you're in the market for a new one!