A journal of running, healthy food, mountains, bikes and technology by Julia Revitt

Don't let the lack of light put you off running, get yourself a light and a running buddy and hit the trails! Every year as soon as the clocks change I swap my weekday runs to indoor aerobics workouts. This year I really want to keep my hard earning milage up so that I don't have to start over again in spring.

So I had a look on the internet and bought myself a basic head torch for £35 from Amazon. You can spends £100s on head torches but I only wanted a cheap one so I could see if I got on with running at night. It turned up in the tiniest box you ever saw last Tuesday morning. I popped the batteries and immediately blinded myself for about an hour! Please don't switch on your brand new head torch whilst looking directly at it. I walked around the flat in it and found it to be really bright but how would it handle on the trails?

I tried it on a drizzly Thursday evening. The start of my run is through some leafy single track out to a wider trail and I wasn't sure if my head torch would be up to the job. I switched it on, set it to half brightness and half width and set off. It lit the trail splendidly and I was able to run off road at full speed. Mr R rode alongside only using the light from my head torch. I found it lit up the drizzle and my breath but nothing too distracting – although blowing my nose with a white tissue was a bit bright!

My chosen head torch is the LED Lenser H7. You can change the light to be wider or more focused and it can be brighter. It fits securely on my head but stays in place better when wearing a hat or buff. Not sure how long the batteries will last but I'm chuffed with it right now. The dark makes boring, repetitive routes interesting and navigation challenging. I find that running outside in the dark lifts my spirits almost as much as running in the sunshine and it is often the best part of my weekday!

Obviously running at night has some different challenges:

  • If you're going off road it's a good idea to angle the head torch down a bit so you can see the trail in front of you and avoid any trip hazards.
  • Make sure you have a running buddy with you as everyone you meet looks like a dodgy, menacing murderer!
  • If you're running alongside a road – turn your light off as you will confuse and blind the tin box drivers.
  • Know which route you are taking and don't try any new stuff.

One tip though, don't look directly at oncoming pedestrians or Mr R riding alongside – they don't like it!




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