I started running in the night for various reasons but the biggest being my inability to wake up early mornings. I’m not a morning person and accepting that and adjusting my life accordingly has saved me from a lot of grief. And I can now safely write about what and how I feel about it since it’s been quite a while for me (except my weekend long runs). What helps is that I stay in a safe gated community but if you aren’t then women shouldn’t even think of venturing out alone after dark or for that matter in a group specially in Gurgaon/Delhi.
1) At night there aren’t many distractions unless you choose to listen to music. It leads to more mindful running. You feel the ground more every time you pound your feet. It somehow gives heightened sensation of the body.
2) I’m usually more stressed during morning runs with a to-do-list constantly running on my mind. I now prefer to de-stress with the run and end the day on a good note.
3) I used to snack in the evenings quite a bit. Pakodas/Sandwiches/Mathi etc used to be my accompaniments with tea. I eat healthier snacks now as I know I can’t run with a heavy stomach (at least 2 days in a week).
4) In the mornings I usually find my body very stiff and warm up takes a lot of time which is not at all the case in the evenings as I’m already up and about.
5) Since I’m a bit of an insomniac, I tend to sleep better on days I run in the evenings.
6) It’s just me, the road and my thoughts.
7) It makes summer running more bearable for me.
TIPS FOR RUNNING AFTER DARK
1) Safety comes first. I wouldn’t even recommend men running outside gated communities in India.
2) Run against the traffic.
3) Preferably run without music so that you are more alert.
4) Wear reflective clothing or shoes. It could be a reflective arm band, head band, tee or shoes or buy reflective tape to stick on your gear.
5) Always carry your phone. I usually carry it in my hand for a 5km or wear my running belt.
6) The biggest challenge with night running is dogs. Read here for tips to avoid/handle dogs while on a run. The only thing I haven’t mentioned but someone has suggested in the comments is to carry a small bottle of pepper spray. I know it might sound cruel but I feel one should carry it just in case.
BEFORE YOU GO RUNNING
1) Never make the mistake of eating a big meal. If you do be prepared to abandon the run.
2) Don’t go on empty stomach either. A banana/dates 45 minutes before your run should do the trick.
AFTER YOU RUN
1) Eat something healthy within 30 minutes of finishing your workout – Almonds, walnuts, raisins, egg or another banana.
2) Don’t make the mistake of going overboard with dinner thinking you just worked out so “I deserve it”. Honestly, after working out I tend to make better choices in any case.
The only challenge is one can’t do very long runs at night but my body clock doesn’t seem to have a problem adjusting to once a week early morning run. Whether you would rather run in the morning or at night, as long as you run, and run like you mean it, you will end up a healthier person.