The Top 5 Benefits of Nighttime Running
As you run through the streets at night, masterfully dodging potholes, you channel your inner ninja warrior and power through your run on high alert. There's something invigorating about running under the moonlight while everyone else is sleeping, feeling like you discovered a secret that no one else has caught onto.
Whether you're naturally a night owl, you work from dawn to dusk, or you just want to mix up your training, there are actually many great reasons to lace up your shoes and go for a run between sunset and sunrise.
Let's dive in and explore the top 5 benefits of running at night:
1. You'll run more consistently.
By the time the sun is up, you're getting the kids ready for school and rushing out the door to work. But at night, the day is done. You can put a pause on emails and texts until the next day and run interruption free, knowing that the night belongs to you.
This means you can run on your own time and run more consistently. Consistent running is key to achieving your goals, whether you’re training for a marathon or getting ready for your first 5k.
2. Running at night can actually help you sleep better.
Few things in life feel better than tucking yourself into bed after a good run. Worried that the endorphins will keep you up? A recent study at the University of South Carolina showed that people who participated in moderate to high-intensity exercise for 1-2 hours were able to go into a deep, relaxing sleep just 30 minutes later.
Photo courtesy of @the_mindful_runner.
3. You can run faster at night without increased effort.
We’re all familiar with the “am I being chased by a bear?” feeling (yes, even those of us that live in urban areas with a bear population of zero). As it turns out, there are some benefits to so-called “bear effect”. In a London University study, a group of marathon runners consistently ran at least a minute faster over a 10-km course at night than during the day–without trying any harder. According to one participant, "the evening run seemed easier, even though I was going faster."
@dhallenbeck starts at dusk and runs into the dark.
4. Nighttime running is more effective and automatic.
Instead of relying on your vision like you do when you run in the daylight, you rely more on your lower-level proprioceptive skills (where you feel your feet hitting) at night. This allows your body to go into a more reactive, automatic state with sharper senses and reflexes.
When you run more on autopilot this way–rather than consciously trying to control your every movement–your runs are more effective.
5. You can de-stress after a long day.
Running at night simply makes you feel better. No matter how bad your day was, now it's over. So go sweat out the stress and release some feel-good endorphins with a run in the dark.