If you’re too busy in the day to run, do it at night
By Ea Francisco | Lead photo by Joshua Ness/Unsplash | Additional photo courtesy of Saucony
Even though a lot of people say that exercise is best done in the morning, it’s just not possible for some of us. If you’re always too busy in the day or can’t will yourself to wake up that early, then the only time left is to do it at night. It may not be the most conventional, but you have reason to believe that it’s that worth doing.
If you’re like me who doesn’t want to be bothered during your workout, then running at night might be for you. You don’t have to put up with all the morning joggers. No more awkward greetings and narrowly avoiding that one guy who’s going the opposite direction. Less crowds also mean you can run as fast and as hard as you can without disturbing anybody so if you’re thinking of doing some interval runs, after dark is the time to do so.
When you come from a tropical country, sometimes one of your biggest challenges isn’t the run itself but the temperature. That means daylight running can be unreasonably hot. Sure, you can probably beat the morning sun, but that’ll mean waking up early just to run, which works for some people. Running in the dark means the air is at least a little cooler.
No Getting Sunburned
Night running is also great for those times when you want to be fit but also don’t want to get dark. Tanning is the skin’s response to ultraviolet light, and there’s significantly less ultraviolet light from the moon. This is great for people who want to keep the color of their skin and for those with sensitive skin. Overexposure to the sun’s rays can cause skin damage and even cancer. Studies do say, though, that the sun is less harmful before 10am; the time after that is when the sun is at it’s highest and strongest.
Some people say that exercising at night can ruin your sleep. While it does seem to make sense since exercise raises your overall body temperature and heart rate, studies show that running and any other aerobic exercise can help improve your quality of sleep. One day of running isn’t going to make you sleep better, but you’re going to feel it after three to four weeks of continuous training. One thing to remember though is that aerobic exercises should be done two hours before sleeping and intense exercise four hours before. This is because exercise stimulates your nervous system, so it’ll take some time to settle down depending on what you do.
Your Muscles are at Their Peak
What a lot of people don’t know is that muscles are at their best when it’s late afternoon and evening. This is the time when muscles are most supple and your temperature is at its peak, so you might notice that you can go harder and longer at night. A study by the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research shows that you can gain more muscle when you train in the evening than in the morning or afternoon.
Tips for Night Running
Safety is your number one priority
Run Against Traffic
When you’re out running, make sure you’re running on the side that’s facing traffic. This is so you can see any oncoming vehicles and they can see you.
Bring Lights and Wear Bright Clothes
You want as much visibility as you can at night, so wear your brightest outfit. It’s not that hard to find reflective shoes and clothes. When carrying reflectors or lights, place them on your joints so vehicles can differentiate you from an object and give them an idea on what direction you’re headed.
Run with Someone
The buddy system can ward off potential threats when you’re out running. If you can’t have someone with you for some reason, the least you can do is to let someone know about your whereabouts in case something happens.
Leave Your Earphones
With less lights to rely on, you have to be on a heightened state. You can still listen to music, but make sure the volume isn’t too loud so you can still hear cars or the surroundings.
Use Familiar Routes
There are a lot of suspicious people who hang around after dark, so don’t go exploring or testing out new paths. It’s easy to get lost when you can’t clearly see your surroundings after all.