If only I had the time to run, seems to be the lament for a lot of us who struggle to fit in running during the day. Well, how about after the day, asks Radhika Meganathan.
Have you ever considered running after the sun had set, with the stars above you keeping company? Poetic, but not practical, you say? Come on! Consider the pros:
- Better chance at forming good habits. It’s so easy to hit the couch in the evening, switch on the TV and all good intentions go out of the window. When you opt for a night run, you then automatically fight against lethargy and be proactive, by choosing to run either straight from your work or once you arrive home, before or after dinner.
- Better life co-ordination. For some of us, running in the morning is just not done. You might be a night owl, wake up a tad too late and greet a scorching sun. You might have an early shift, by way of work or other life commitments like an early school run. And let’s not forget certain issues of intimacy. “My husband doesn’t run, and we both work, so I really do not want to miss the early morning cuddle time with him,” confesses Sheila*, an ardent runner. Universal Solution? Night runs.
- Better mind space. Each day brings new goals and routine obligations, and it can get quite overwhelming when you try to accommodate your passion for running in the early morning chaos (or midday work blues). Naturally, when you choose night runs, the ever-busy day is over and you are free to breathe easy and truly savour your running time. “I always get my run done however late I get back from work. I prepare dinner for kids and go for a run at 8:30pm or even later,” says Srimathy Vardan, investment banker in New York.
- Better sleep. Modern day stress, overuse of gadget and bad work-life management have lead to poor sleeping patterns, and seemingly a whopping 50% of people complain of poor sleep in the night. The problem is, if you don’t sleep well, then you don’t perform well the next day. With a night run, your body is pleasantly tired and ready to welcome some deep sleep – an easy, natural and healthy remedy for a complex health issue, a free one at that.
Now that we have convinced you that running is the night is the next best thing, here are some pointers to keep in mind while you burn the not-quite-midnight oil to run:
- Always keep your phone with you, fully charged and with the latest tracking apps. Investing in a head lamp and clothing with reflective strips or piping is a great idea.
- Never run in unknown roads; keep to well-lit, well known roads and paths, even if you live in a safe neighbourhood.
- If you need music while running, opt for a audio book or podcast, since you will still be able to hear outside sounds over your headphones.
- Do not eat too rich or too much food before your night run. Eat at least two hours before the run, to avoid gastrointestinal issues.
- If you can postpone dinner until after your run, you will be able to burn some good calories! But if you have type diabetes, you should run after dinner, as studies have shown that it can help lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.
- If you do have dinner two hours before a run, then chances are you may wake up at 3am with a roaring hunger. To prevent this, always have a banana or a protein shake as a post-run, pre-sleep snack before going to bed. Good night and good running!