Tuesday, 22 November 2011

The night run

This was one of the best runs I've done in along time for the following reasons:

1) It was on the spur of the moment.
2) The novelty factor and a bit of an adventure.
3) I couldn't see the big hills I had to run up!

Sunday, early evening, I'd spent the afternoon sat freezing watching my son play football desperate to get out for a run to get my legs warm. I text friend and regular running partner Brian to see if he was up for a evening run. He was having the same kind of afternoon and was as keen as me to get going.

The fog had not lifted all day, so we went out on our run at 4 o'clock which gave us about half an hour of remaining daylight. With head torches at the ready we head out across the Ash ranges (a mix of stony and woodland trails plus hills).

It wasn't long before the daylight turned to dusk but the eyes adjusted well to the ever fading light. The fog was quite thick and so the landscape was just silhouettes of trees and distant hills. It was a brilliant sensation to be running in what felt like the middle of nowhere in the dark and fog.

We took the pace fairly steady but was slowed by the gates and cattle grids along the way, which meant we could have a good old chat. 90% of the conversations Brian and me share on runs or at work are about running (much to the disappointment of work colleagues!) It felt like we were running in the middle of the night and we imagined how this run would compare to running in an all night Ultra race. We were soon put off the fact by the thought that it was only 5 o'clock which would mean there would still be probably another 12 hours of running in the dark ahead of us!

There is a few challenging hills along the way but because of the dark and fog, you could not see far enough in front to see how far the hills went on, which seemed to make them easier.

The head torches were ineffective against the fog and the light just bounced straight back at you. Most the time we spent with the lights off which gave a bit of adventure to the run and it's amazing how the eyes become acclimatised to the dark. In the final few miles we did work out that putting the head torches on the side of the head gave a dull light in front of us that was easier to run with against the fog.

I'd done this run many times in the day, but it was amazing how different it felt at night. This is something I would recommend if you are tired of the same routes, what feels like two different runs for the price of one.

After spending an hour and a half of running in the still of night across the trails it was actually frustrating to come back to civilisation, street lights and waiting at the road for cars to pass!

No Google Images, I typed in Night running not Knight....doh!

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