Trail running is one of those sports that bite you in the same way that the travel bug bites. Road runners who discover trail often never go back to tar and relish the fact that exercise comes complete with a wonderful dose of nature and fresh air. If you happen to live in a country where the sun goes down early in winter, do not fret. Trail running in the dark is really not as daunting as you may think. Here are our top five reasons to give it a go at night.
1. Experience Tunnel Vision
The most important part of successful nighttime trail running is to have a strong headlamp. It serves as your lifeline when negotiating your way over hills and dips. In the dark your sight is compromised and you will feel as if you have tunnel vision. This makes it all the more exhilarating and it also means that your other senses are on high alert.
2. Tune into Nighttime Sounds
Even if you’re running through your neighbourhood park, everything seems a little bit more mysterious at night. Not only is there a greater sense of quiet all round, but you’ll also hear a collection of sounds unique to nighttime. Different bird sounds and even croaking frogs can be heard as you navigate your way through the wild.
3. Brain Exercise
Trail running generally requires you to focus and concentrate completely on what you’re doing. Uneven terrain coupled with unexpected turns make trail running much less monotonous than pounding along on the road. Throw into the mix darkness and you have an adventure that requires serious attention and concentration. It’s a body and brain workout!
Winter no longer needs to lead to a lull in your exercise programme. With nighttime trail running you can run at 7pm or even at 3am. It really frees you up to run at any time of day and in any season, but don’t run alone..
5. Adrenaline Pumping
Nighttime running is an adrenaline-pumping adventure of note and the best part is that it can be undertaken pretty much in your backyard. Head to your nearest park or riverside path if you live in a city, strap on your headlamp and get ready for some intrepid exploring. You will find that everything is a little bit more magical at night.
Petzl Wolfpack Trails offers evening trail runs in Cape Town. More details here.