Running in the dark is something special. I am trying something new tonight, running while dictating this post in the WordPress mobile app using Google’s voice recognition. I am out in the cold. Just a moment ago a cyclist passed me going into the opposite direction. He had no light and I had no light either. We barely saw each other. I can use the lamp on my phone. Now that it’s completely dark that’s what I’m going to do after this short pause, as I start running again. But I sometimes ask myself the question: is running at night a good or a bad idea?
Running at night can be disorienting, similar to running on a treadmill
When I run on a treadmill for a while, say, more than a half hour, I feel disoriented when the machine stops. Our senses are used to seeing the landscape move forward, but while running on a surface that rolls backwards, our effective speed is zero. So our eyes see no such forward motion, and it feels odd. It’s not dissimilar to getting car sick, or sea sick. The motion oddity is just less intense. We might feel a slight, bizarre feel. Even with a light to help me see the path while running at night, I end the session feeling awkward.
One of the benefits running at night if you have a warm days is that sad it’s much cooler you will sweat too much less. Now if it’s winter time, and especially if the roads are snowy or icy, it is not a good idea to run at night. It will be even more freezing, and you’ll increase your risk of slipping on a patch of ice.
Preparing the body for sleep
It’s very rare that I run after 7 pm. By that time I am back home. Keeping a few hours between the last intense exercise and the time we go to bed allows the body to shift back into slow mode. Going directly to bed after a run can make sense if you’re exhausted, if you need to take a nap during the day. My experience with taking naps after a run, when I come back and feel really tired, is that these naps are not the best. I wake up groggy. It feels like the body’s natural cycles were disturbed. I haven’t read research or other stories on this – this is my personal experience. However, going to bed at 10 or 11 pm when finishing at 7 pm is no problem. Landscapes and views are great too, for what we can observe.
Other than that, running at night is a great way to eliminate toxins and stress from the day, and to finish with a nice shower.