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Werewolf Runners: Best Kit and Tips for Running at night

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Posted by Cags R under Running on 12 October 2013 at 11:00 PM

The nights are getting darker and it's easy to use that as an excuse to train inside or even ditch your running all together!

Robbie Britton running at nightsThat's why we've been researching which kit and gadgets you guys would recommend to other werewolf runners to keep you running throughout the winter months so you start the new year ready for race season:

Head Torches and Lighting

Harry A recommends the Alpkit Gamma Torch for his night runs - and he's not the only one who's got good things to say about them; Gamma was voted best value head torch in the February edition of Trail magazine. with a price tag of £15/$25, it's well worth spending a little to get yourself noticed on the road or out on the trails at night. 

Our runner from downunder, Mark K, is a fan of the Black Diamond Spot Headlamp for his night runs - described as "the light to have when you can only have one", the Black Diamond Spot comes in at a higher price than the Gamma but can go up to 90 lumen rather than the Gamma's 88 (all depends how much those 2 lumen are worth to you!)

These 2 torches are great for the price - but what do the all-night endurance runners go for when it comes to lighting? We asked some of our favorite Ultra running bloggers and they had some great tips for making your lighting purchases:

First up we have GB Ultra runner Robbie Britton who recommends the Petzl Zipka (which retails at around £30/$50) for easy trails but recommends you upgrade to the Nao for more technical routes (that's right, things just got pricey!) - but that's why we've put together recommendations from the casual night time trotter to the all-night endurance athletes:

The best advice I can give is to figure out what you really want and need from the item in question. This can help figure out the best things to go for within your requirements and budget. For instance if you only run in the dark for half an hour once a week then you dont really need to be spending £100+ on something like a Petzl Nao! If however you are spending hours and hours in the dark or you are taking on technical trail then you will need something robust and bright.


For me I am looking at the very well priced and highly recommended Lenser H7. Massive battery time, super bright, dimmable and light! It just seems to tick all the boxes for me.

Cardiosaurus

Head torches aren't for everyone - especially when you're taking on longer runs in the dark:

Flint F profileOf course, you need light. You might go for a headlamp, but personally, I don't like them. They bob around and they squeeze tight around my forehead, and I end up with a headache if I run for more than 2 hours. Also, the powerful headlamps come with a battery pack in the back, which doesn't make them any lighter.

You might choose to fit your headlamp around your waist, I've seen people do that. But what I really recommend is one or two handheld flashlights, at least 90 to 100 lumens that's a measuring unit for your light's strength) each. You can either light one and keep the other for later or rougher patches in the course. - Extra batteries. Enough said!

Flint F

Flint finish line

Programmable knuckle light

Handhelds needn't be cumbersome and get in your way - Paleo Runner Mark L uses knuckle lights to be seen and also uses it as a training aid:

My solution, I wear a headlamp that has a blinking red light in the back and carry a stronger handheld. Because I'm a nerd I chose a 'programmable' flashlight.  I can get it to blink fast to remind me to do pickups at time intervals, or blink slow to remind me to turn around and run home.  If you're the type to think a programmable flashlight may be fun, here's an example of one: 

Reflective Strips and Stash

Lots of running kit will come with built in reflective strips in order to catch the eye of passing cars, it's well worth checking how bright your proper sportswear is and making purchases with brightness in mind. That said, if your favorite running top happens to be black, you can always add reflective arm bands or a high-vis jacket.

Other tips to bear in mind:

  • High-vis jackets are not always the most ergonomical design, there is an increased risk of chafing if you're wearing non-sports specific fluorescent clothing.

  • Reflective strips rely on other vehicles to work - wearing lights will give other road or trail users more time to see you. "Choose bright things, and reflective things, so you can be seen by road and pavement users.  Even on pavements ninja running can really leave you invisible to other pedestrians." - Alex D

  • Depending on how busy your running route will be, it may be worth leaving your headphones at home so you are more aware of your surroundings.

 So what's your best advice for running at night? Share it below for your chance to win!

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    Comments

    20130507190604-jedders

    I use an Energizer Advanced 7 LED Head Torch, it will cost you £15, but the most important thing is to have a torch that takes standard batteries AA or AAA, also with LED lights you can find that the lights are good for x amount of time, then fall off a cliff and it gets dark fast, so just pop them in you pocket (taped together so they can be fitted fast as you will be in the dark), also in some cases you want lights out the back, with the Energizer torch you can make it go red so it can be a rear light as well. but a head torch is not just useful for running they are really good on the bike, or on a walk etc, as you not just look in front of you but where you are looking. @alex45674 is so correct, if you are hiding people are not going see you! I think this is the best article I have read on TS. Well done!

    20160603023327-jeconiahm

    “ For ppl who drive, there's what you call defensive driving. As a runner, I practise what I like to call, defensive running. As Peter M rightfully said.....SAFETY is key, especially at nightfall. I tend to avoid dark routes or trails altogether. Its just not worth the risk. ( headphones & ear plugs are definitely a no no for me ). I understand however, that other runners may not have the luxury, of well lit routes, for running at night.....due to geographical location. In this case, my tips would be : To opt for light colored or florissant clothing. Training gear should have reflective materials on them too. For those that hit the trails... choose routes that have the least amount of growing vegetation, blocking out the sky. The moon & stars are usually sufficient, for us Werewolves....lol! "

    Brenda D and Stephen C encouraged this.

    20130929194438-sdaddy

    I only run on trails... So it may sound daft, but I take a whistle with me, as well as a decent headtorch... Just in case I go over on an ankle or something (no passers by where I go... Just me)... I always tell someone my route and how long ia expect to be out too

    Brenda D encouraged this.

    20140422015221-ptan

    My suggest: Illum urself.. ie neon apparels, shoes, head-band, flashing armband markers ;D

    Stephen C encouraged this.

    20111010141801-m

    Does anyone have specific surface to run on when running in the dark. I assume no trip hazards is the main req

    Stephen C encouraged this.

    20140811112945-cags

    @m - it depends on what you're training for, if - like @ultrarobbie - you're aiming for long runs in the dark for a race on trails, you'll need to train on trails but it's a good idea to start out on familiar routes to get used to running in the dark.

    Stephen C encouraged this.

    20130913174115-giorgioc

    Reflective strips and brigth clothing should be mandatory, in the winter, when it's easy to miscalculate sunset time - I ran my longest run (20 kms) in the winter, without having planned for it, so I ran close to one hour in the dark

    Kirsten M and Stephen C encouraged this.

    20140430192850-towardfarm

    If you have MapMyRun and your family does too, then if you post in settings when you are starting a run/cycle etc, they can see where you are from the GPS - just too technical for me how it works but I use it all the time on the hills, especially as mobile signals are hopeless in some spots. Saucony did a range of tops with clip on/off wrist torches I bought one last year and it has brought me home when I was later than I should have been, recharges with USB cable too :)

    Stephen C encouraged this.

    20141114172302-stephenc14

    My advice - reflective/fluorescent clothing and running in lit areas where possible by doing so you know the surface you are running on. I run around Dublin and there is one area I run which is unlit and the paving is uneven, which is risky that the foot lands incorrectly or you stumble. Have not run with a headlamp, not sure I want to either as I think it would annoy me after a while. Will definitely follow up on the tip of letting my loved ones know the route I am taking, just in case I fall in a ditch or something - thanks for the post!! :-)

    20140110193001-adiaphoria

    I just purchased a LED strobe light for runners. We turned the clocks back this past weekend & it is now dark by 4:30 pm...drivers are on "auto pilot" after work....hoping to not be run into again this year!!!

    Cags R encouraged this.

    20130914025027-enricm

    I found excellent all-purpose light at HEMA (here in Holland), it costs 12 EUR, thus in the same price range as the Alpkit. The main point is that it's rechargeable via USB, it's meant to be used in bicycles or worn on your clothes when you are walking... but it happens that it adapts perfectly to a wristwatch GPS. And it's very bright, no idea about the Lumen but it's a heck of a bright light with 2 LEDs. So bright that it can be safely used as front light on a bike. BEsides of this I use a reflective vest and reflective bands with blinking leds. Somebody even called me a "walking christmas tree", LOL. But safety is first.

    20130914025027-enricm

    BTW, THX for the link, just got myself the Alpkit one. The one I mentioned before is good for training on our bike paths but I need something to use in the woods. I also wear hand torches (a very small one, the size of a battery and a normal one)

    20140327205626-murrays

    Great Info...I was debating about buying the new Saucony jackets that have LED lights right in the jacket. You can plug it into a USB jack to recharge it. Has anyone bought one of these jackets yet??

    Tamara A encouraged this.

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