There is no doubt that running can take you to highs you've only dreamt of, but making night time running a routine can be even more rewarding. There is an unexplainable feeling about running under the moon and stars that revitalises and empowers you.
Think about it: while everyone else is pouring the third glass of their favourite scotch, you are out there enjoying the breezy air of the outdoors and keeping fit while at it. Nighttime running poses several safety concerns, mainly because of impaired night vision for you and other road users.
However, with the right gear, a long evening run may be just what you need to wind down after a stressful day.
10 Benefits Why Night time Is good for Running
Are you interested in ending your evening by logging mileage? There are several reasons to strap on your running shoes and hit the trail. This article outlines the top benefits of running at night and answers frequently asked questions about the topic, and don't forget the best headlamps for night running!
#1 More Consistent Workouts
Although it is possible to commit to an early morning routine, sometimes the temptation of staying in bed a little longer wins. This isn't the case with evening runs, as you are already awake, and if there is pending work, you can always put it aside and go back to it when your mind is rejuvenated.
Look at night runs as opportunities to pull yourself out of distractions and create some 'you time'.
When you prioritise your nighttime runs, you'll develop a consistent routine, and you all know that consistency is critical to reaching your goals.
#2 Improved Sleep Quality
Running at night results in better-uninterrupted sleep. You'll find it easier to fall asleep. If you are the kind of person that gets tired and falls asleep after running, evening runs are the way to go. To reap the most benefits, schedule your run a couple of hours before bedtime but ensure it isn't too close to bedtime as it may disrupt your circadian rhythms.
#3 Stress Relief
An evening run is the perfect opportunity to release your day's frustrations, stress or tension. You can also use your workout time to formulate a plan for the next day. This way, when you get into bed, you have peace of mind, so you're unlikely to get distracted.
Running lowers blood pressure, releases stress in your muscles, and encourages calmness. When released, endorphins elevate your mood, alleviating depression.
#4 Healthy Habits
Night runners are more likely to make healthier decisions after their run. For instance, you might choose a healthier meal instead of your usual fries and fried chicken. Eating healthy can help you reach your weight loss goals and even make you feel better while running.
A night run can also influence what you drink and eat at dinner. For instance, after a run, you will likely have hydrating drinks like fresh juice and herbal tea instead of alcoholic beverages.
#5 Faster Running
As surprising as it may sound, people run best in the evening hours. Past scientific research revealed that around 8 pm is the time for peak running performance. A recent study categorised runners into 'owls' and 'larks' according to their evening or morning chronotypes.
The study suggested that early risers performed best just after midday, while late risers peaked at 8 pm. It was found that the worst performance for both groups was at 7 am.
Evening runs also feel faster. Your perception of speed is related to the proximity of objects in your surroundings. During the day, distant fields approach slowly. However, during nighttime, when you see over a short distance, fences race past.
#6 More Effective and Automatic
As mentioned earlier, your vision is compromised at night. Therefore, you have to rely more on your lower-level proprioceptive skills. Your body is thus able to enter a reflexive and automatic state that has acute senses and reflexes making it effective. Because you aren't depending on your vision, you won't try to control every movement consciously, so your runs will be more effective.
#7 A Form of Meditation
Completely shut out the noise on the street and Zen out to the sound of your heart beating and feet hitting the ground. Evening runs offer you a quiet headspace to meditate and return home feeling calmer and relaxed.
#8 More Social
Making friends is hard, but making plans with friends at 5 am is even harder. Scheduling your workouts at night increases your chances of running into your friends and catching up. When you combine your workout routine and social life, you get fantastic accountability partners and a reason to always be eager for your forthcoming runs.
#9 No More Stressful Mornings
This is how challenging a morning run can be: you must win the war against the snooze button, work out, have a bath or shower, cook and eat breakfast and prep for the day. You can imagine all the rush to shower and not miss the bus.
The hurry and confusion can also make you exercise for a lesser time as you may fear running late. You can see how much trouble an evening run saves you, as you won't have to deal with the limitation of daylight hours.
#10 Fewer Injuries
Your core body temperature peaks between 4 pm and 7 pm, making these times the best to schedule your run.
A higher core temperature indicates the following:
- Your joints are well-lubricated
- Your muscles have more oxygen and nutrition
- Your blood flow has increased
- Optimum energy stores
These changes in your body enable you to run faster, safer and with little effort. Studies reveal that a group of marathon runners completed a 10-km trail a minute faster at night than daytime. In addition, moving around all day fuels and warms up your body, making the evening run even easier.
Other benefits of running at night include cooler temperatures and treating yourself to a late-night snack.
Preparing for an Evening Run
Ready for that night run? Here are some tips you’ll find helpful:
Do Not Run on an Empty Stomach
There is a debate surrounding this issue, but it is best to have light, nutritious snacks before starting your run. Snacks that contain protein and complex carbohydrates are a great place to start.
They help regulate your blood pressure and sugar levels, preventing crashes, light-headedness and spikes, which are unsuitable for a healthy training session.
Do Warm-up Exercises
Stretching helps keep your muscles warm and flexible to prevent injuries. You should, however, remember that not all stretches are recommended. According to research, static stretches can reduce muscular growth.
It is, therefore, advisable to stretch dynamically for five to ten minutes before hitting the pavement.
Squares, high-knees and jumping jacks are all ideal for warming up and loosening up before your night run. After the run, butterfly, child’s pose and forward bends will help cool you down.
Morning vs Nighttime Running: Which Is the Best
The good news is that you can run at whatever time of day you want. If you are not a morning person and you've constantly been missing your early runs, consider adjusting your plan.
It is a matter of your preferences alongside other considerations like your schedule and the weather. If your runs are becoming repetitive, schedule them for a new time to switch gears.
Take note of your body's reaction at different hours of the day. You could discover that a low-intensity run is preferable during the evening. Some runners find that intense workouts are ideal during midday. If you want to take things a notch higher, try running more than once daily.
You can go for a run whenever you please, provided you don't go over the limits. Consider your busy schedule, weather and preferences and formulate a schedule that works for you. Create a workout plan to help you achieve your goals, whether you want to lose weight or gain muscle strength.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why Is Nighttime Running Better?
Benefits of running at night include improved sleep quality, stress relief, an active lifestyle and more time. Exercising in the evening also enables you to connect with your social circle and have a more consistent workout plan.
2. Why Do I Run Better at Night Than in the Morning?
A night run comes with reduced joint pain and injury risks. This is because your movements during the day warm up your body. Besides, your heart function is at its peak performance in the evening, so most people prefer evening runs to early morning workouts.
3. Is It Better to Run Faster or Longer?
Running faster is more effective as it allows you to burn more calories even if you’re running for a shorter period.
We can't all be morning runners, can we? Ditch that fantasy and begin embracing your natural night owl status. Get up with NightBuddy light solutions and prepare to dominate the streets during your next run. Get in touch with us today.