Running Safe at Night
Headlamp running adds fun and variety into your running régime. We recommend use of headlamps so you can keep up with your long runs, even through the winter. We head out in daylight, but with our headlamps we have no deadline to be back by dark.
Headlamp runs are also good practice for runners who go on long and remote runs, even if you’re not training for any ultramarathons. Some day, you may find yourself unexpectedly caught out or late – and that is not the moment that you want to be learning your night-running skills!
Get used to viewing a 2D world. Since the light source of a headlamp is so close to your eyes, when running with a headlamp you essentially don’t see shadows. This makes the terrain look very flat and two-dimensional. You can get used to this, but it takes practice. Start out on easier trails, or even just hiking, until you develop an eye for how the world appears illuminated by only your headlamp beam.
Conserve battery power. Most headlamps have adjustable brightness. Use the lowest power setting that adequately lights up your trail, so you extend battery life. On uphills, you will probably find you can take the power down a notch. Remember that batteries may get used up more quickly in the cold, so make sure you have adequate power for the time you’ll be out. On any longer run, you’d be wise to carry spare batteries. It’s dark out there once your batteries die, and you don’t want to get stuck (or get injured trying to make your way back in the dark).
Light up the downhills. Not only are the downhills faster, but the ground ahead of you is further away. So power up for the downhills, and widen your beam so you have a better view of the trail.
Play it safe. As with any piece of gear that you rely on for safety, take care of your headlamp, and always carry a spare. A lamp can fail, a bulb can burn out, your batteries can die. Make sure your batteries are fresh before you head out, and make sure you have one more spare than you think you will need.
If running at night is new to you, start slowly: choose easier trails, or even just hike them at first, to get used to the moving light. Push your limits slowly as you become more comfortable, and you will soon find the new opportunities that running trails by headlamp will open up.