What advice would you give a person going on their first night run?

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  • Have a good headlamp, backup batteries, a backup mini-flashlight and make sure the ANGLE of the headlamp is proper to not have you angling your neck in a way that will cause you to have a stiff neck the next few days.

  • Don’t freak out if you think you see things in the tree’s or bushes – the shadows from your head-torch are probably creating them! And if you can try and get a head-torch with a wide beam (I use the Petzl MYO RXP, it has a diffuser which spreads the light across the entire width of the trail, it’s brilliant). This will save you from getting ‘tunnel vision’ and running into another dimension.

  • Slow down. Even with the brightest headlamp, the contrast of obstacles will be different and the trail will likely reach out and touch you in the face if you try to run your normal daylight pace.

  • Ditch the headlamp and use a handheld light. A headlamp gives you a 2D view of the ground. You won’t see things you can trip over and it will give you a headache. A handheld light will create shadows, providing you with a 3D view of hazards on the trail. ALWAYS have spare batteries.

  • Use a headlamp AND a handheld. Both of them give you a 2d perspective, but combined you get a 3d view and can see obstacles better.

  • Use both a head “torch” and small hand held light. Holding the hand light low provides better depth of shadows…If you get LEDs the battery shouldn’t be an issue for most runs.

  • Stop running, turn off your head torch, look at the stars, breath in deep, realize how blessed you are to be healthy enough to do this sport you love.

  • Make sure that there’s a good snack, your favourite drink, and someone at home when you get back so that you can celebrate what a great time you had on your first night-time trail run. You’ll be so jazzed about it and you’ll definitely have a story to tell.

  • Listen beforehand (or have it in you mp3) to ‘Iron Maiden – Fear of The Dark’ and after that you are ready to go 🙂 Remember, animals are more scared that you are. Make sure you headlamp will not die after 1 hour (or have another batteries). Charged mobile phone would be great…and don’t get lost 🙂

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