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Trail running at night. (Read 168 times)

njones25


    Hi all. I don't post here often, but I do follow much of the discussion. That said, I've searched for previous posts on this topic without finding any, so forgive me if I'm rehashing old points.

    The nature of my query lies in trail running at night. I am a road runner that dabbles in trail running, and I have a real desire to become more comfortable on the trails. I live in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  Chattanooga is a great city for all kinds of outdoor activities, and there is no shortage of great trails to explore around here.  However, use of these trails is only allowed from dawn until dusk. I assume this is common.  my options in pursuing training on trails (especially in the narrow window of daylight this time of year) is to disregard these laws and go about my business, or to just run on the road at night and hit the trails on the weekends.

     I suppose I'm not actually asking how to get around this impasse, as there is only one solution I can find. Rather, I'm asking if this is the inherent compromise trail runners (likely ultra runners, as they're almost certainly going to need that experience of running with headlamp on trails) must accept.  So how do you all cope with this?  Thanks for any insights you can offer.

    StellarsJJayS


      Wear a headlamp and run on the trails.  It's as simple as that.

      Always go to other people's funerals, otherwise they won't go to yours.

        -- Berra

       

      No matter how fast you are, you'll never out run a Polar Bear

       

        Most of the trails in my area are unrestricted, however, they also have a "dawn to dusk" set of parking rules.  Depending upon which trail I run on at night, I find a safe (and legal) place to park nearby, don my headlight, and head out into the night.

          If I really wanted night experience on trails,  I'd sneak in there and run' em.    I mean what are the odds of anyone being out there at night besides you?  And even if caught, I imagine the biggest consequence would be an escort out of there and perhaps some summons, but remote odds of even that.  (Well, unless you are running in Chicago along train tracks, but that is a whole other 30 page thread)...  But trail running at night?  Risks are low, I'd do it and risk the low chance of a consequence.  No harm no foul.  That is me though.

           

          Downside of running those trails at night is that if you trip on a root and take a hard dive, there is no one out there to help you get back.  Other than that I can only repeat the sign I saw when I was trail running today:  "If you hear banjos, run faster".

          .

          The Plan (big parts)→  ///  March:  Shamrock Marathon  ///  April:  24 Hour Run for Cancer  ///   May:  3 Days at the Fair (12 Hour)  ///  Nov:  New York Marathon ∞

          njones25


            Thanks, all. I assumed there was an obvious solution to this. I guess I just needed the reinforcement that this is part of the experience. As a road runner, I never had to really consider safety provisions beyond timing street crossings and watching for uneven ground.  But enough about that. Let's get back to running, shall we. Thanks again.


            Spring- wishful thinking

              Wear a headlamp and run on the trails.  It's as simple as that.

               

              +1.  And at least around Illinois the parking lots are open from dawn to dusk like Shipo says but there are no rules about being on trails after that.


              Nashville Dog Runner

                You also might want to do a few trail runs during the day first.  Get used to the trails, know where the dicey parts are, and then try that headlamp at night.

                 

                I have never fallen on a night trail run, only during the day on trails.  So, what do I know, really?  Happy running.

                www.nashvilledogrunner.com

                  You also might want to do a few trail runs during the day first.  Get used to the trails, know where the dicey parts are, and then try that headlamp at night.

                   

                  I have never fallen on a night trail run, only during the day on trails.  So, what do I know, really?  Happy running.

                   

                  I had a fall a few weeks ago, it started sleeting about half way into a 10-miler, and at about the 6-mile mark my headlight started shorting out every now and again; during one momentary blackout I tripped on a rock and went down hard enough my knit cap flew off into the woods.  Now when any precipitation is expected I make sure I wear a brimmed hat to keep the light dry.

                    trail running at night with headlamp is way cool.  only done it a few  times & on very familiar trails.  We have a watershed area about 1/2 way between my house & work. & swing by on way to work quite often & occassionaly on way home afterwork. can be kind of spooky at night expecially when seeing bright piercing eyes in the bushes or hearing something scrambling around.  think they were just raccoons or something.  have never done it on "real" trails up in the Cascades.  thinking of trying to get a small group from work to join me next time. Watershed is closed at dusk meaning gate &  bathrooms are closed, but there are several other ways to get in.  really no way to keep people out.  My running partner has talked me into joining her for a 10 mile race at a local trail system on 1/11.  trees are pretty dense & around here it starts getting dark fairly early so even with a 3 pm start a good portion of it will be in the dark.  headlamps required.


                    Ostrich runner

                      For longer runs, especially if it's really dark, I prefer my handheld to my headlamp. I'll use either or sometimes both. I think visibility is better with the handheld, I don't have issues with the head strap bothering me, and I avoid the tunnel vision I sometimes get with my headlamp.

                      http://www.runningahead.com/groups/Indy/forum

                      SillyC


                        Wear a headlamp AND carry a flashlight.  Having light from two different angles will give you drastically better depth perception for roots and rocks.

                        http://heatherrunstoomuch.blogspot.com/

                          very good idea to have both in case one happens to stop working.  will do that next time

                          SillyC


                            very good idea to have both in case one happens to stop working.  will do that next time

                             

                            Smile  Yeah, that too.  I hadn't even thought of that!

                            http://heatherrunstoomuch.blogspot.com/


                            I'm back!

                              Sorry to be off topic, but literally every time I see this thread in the current topics I think "... afternoon delight!". Which of course here makes no sense whatsoever.

                               

                              On topic, make sure you know what wildlife is common on those trails. I would not dare to run on my local trails after dark (mountain lions).

                              SillyC


                                Sorry to be off topic, but literally every time I see this thread in the current topics I think "... afternoon delight!". Which of course here makes no sense whatsoever.

                                 

                                On topic, make sure you know what wildlife is common on those trails. I would not dare to run on my local trails after dark (mountain lions).

                                 

                                Okay, I was going to post this, but was worried about getting flamed..... now I'll stick my neck out.  The idea that ultrarunners run trails at night all the time isn't universally true.  Some do, for sure, but a lot of us just do it enough to get some practice and then decide it's not worth the risk to make a regular habit of it.  Bhearn has mountain lions......  I'm in New England and our footing is rocky, rooty, and often icy.  There's a group that often runs the same trails I do, but starts at 4AM.  I don't like to start until first light if I can avoid it.  I can tell you that the 4AM group bails and continues on the road more frequently than my group does.

                                http://heatherrunstoomuch.blogspot.com/

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