I’m a night runner. Running in the morning is the worst thing on earth, but come 6 p.m. or 8 or especially 10 and I’m ready to run!
Tuesdays on the run hostess with mostest Patty from No Guilt Life is not a night runner. She’s the first to admit how much she hates it. Sometimes she posts her morning runs before I’ve even rolled over to see what time it is in bed (and it’s not the time difference).
The only reason I started running was to run the Strip at Night, when it was actually at night. That race is barely at night now. I found runDisney while looking for night races; Wine & Dine is still my favorite race, even if I was sick for the first one, and will remain my one runDisney race every year.
I could offer plenty of night running tips I guess. But really, it’s just what feels right for me. I basically only run at night unless forced to get up early for a race. I run better and faster later, after fueling all day. I’m not a morning person and no matter how sucky the day is, I’ll be full of life around 10 p.m, and can go until sunrise. I work from home, have no kids, and can run whenever I want, and I still choose the dark. Tuesdays hosts Erika and Marcia have you covered for the basic tips, so check out their posts.
I will say this: if you’re training for a night race, run at night during training. Figure out if you like it, and figure out your fueling. I don’t mean a short run. If you’re running a half marathon at night, go out and do your long runs at night. Figure out what time you crash or get your second wind. ( I should probably do this for morning races instead of just always running at night!)
Oh and if the course is not a trail and the race director hasn’t mentioned headlamps, leave it at home. Trust me, they’ll tell you if you need one or if one is required. And if you insist on wearing a headlamp anyway, point it towards the ground. There is nothing worse than getting a blinding light in the eyes from a runner on an out and back. Even worse are the chatters who are swinging their head around while they talk to their friend, creating a strobe light to avoid. (sorry pet peeve). Headlamps are great for training runs when street lights aren’t available, but usually not needed in a night race (unless its on a trail). If you do get a headlamp in the eyes, slow down until you can see again. You don’t want to trip on that crack in the sidewalk.
And I’ll add, use common sense and do what works for you.
If you can’t normally drink six beers and dance until 4 a.m., don’t pound beers before the race. I’m not even talking about proper fueling or hydration, I’m talking about doing what works for you.
If you need coffee to not fall asleep for a late movie, then bring coffee to the corrals. If a late movie seems like a nightmare, a night race is going to be even worse!
I’ve seen people do crazy things before night races, like eat a giant plate of sushi at 4 p.m. when the race starts at 8. And I’m not talking people who eat sushi all the time, but people who never ever eat sushi and decide to experiment on race day. Then they blame the race water for their issues. (This actually happened!)
I’ve also seen people not eat at all in fear they’ll be swishing around. They plan their last meal to end before noon for a 10 p.m. race. That’s 10 hours before the race even starts. Would you run in the morning without eating the night before and not eating breakfast? That’s the same thing. I’d die. I’d starve. I’d fall over dead begging for a cheese sandwich.
In the runDisney program for Wine & Dine, Jeff Galloway says to stop eating 2-3 hours before the race, not 6 and definitely not 8! Aim for dinner, a light one, to start around 3-4 hours from race. Better to eat several small meals than a large breakfast and just mini snacks. And as usual, aim to be well hydrated a couple hours before the race so you aren’t stopping to get rid of all that liquid. Especially if your night run is on a trail!
With Wine & Dine in a couple weeks, I figured I’d share my 24-hour race day schedule for Wine & Dine…
- Dinner around 9 p.m. Friday – I eat a normal dinner. I used to not drink the night before, but I’ve given up that silliness. I choose a restaurant that’s not super heavy and I’ve eaten at before. This year, I’ll be at Citricos. I promise not to have more than one Salted Caramel Manhattan, glass of champagne, and bottle of wine.
- 8 a.m. Saturday: Wake up and have a protein shake, then nibble on a bagel. Most people should probably have a bigger breakfast, but I’m saving myself for…
- 11 a.m. Cheese and Wine pairing: I used to sip my wine, but again I’ve given up that silliness. This is what makes the food & wine festival so great.
- 1 p.m. I grab a couple dishes from the Food & Wine booths. I’m a fan of the grilled steak skewer at Patagonia and the Kielbasa and Pierogies at Poland.
- 2 p.m. nap time – I don’t normally nap before night runs, but I want to hang out at the after party. This is why we “run” Disney.
- 5:30 p.m. Wake up and start getting ready
- 6:30 p.m. Dinner consists of rice or cous cous, with zucchini and cheese. I used to have some edamame in that, but I’ve recently learned that is a trigger food. This year as I’m not doing meat-free (still plenty plant-based, but with minimal meat added in to diet), so we’re adding in some crumbled Italian sausage for protein. This is a pretty normal meal for me, so I know my belly can handle it. It’s a small portion but enough to fill me up.
- 7:45 p.m. Get on the bus. No reason to be at the corrals early, I always get on one of the last buses.
- 9 p.m. I eat the snack I have shoved in my SparkleSkirt pocket. I can’t eat bananas or protein bars anymore, so I do a small bagel with a chunk of cheese. But a snack is a good thing. Especially if you aren’t use to staying up all night.
- 10:15 p.m. My corral leaves and I’m off. There are photo lines to wait in.
- 1 a.m.ish I head to the after party and eat, mostly cheese (do you see a theme?) and drink frozen drinks (why are they all frozen even in the rain?). The after party is amazing because the lines are short. In 2014, it rained so it was totally empty. But even on other years, most people seem to just get on the bus to head back to hotel.
- 3:30 a.m.ish We either walk to our hotel or take a cab–don’t get on the bus! The $10 cab ride will be the best investment you’ve ever made.
What I really want is a night race where you run through the world’s best wineries tasting wine and eating oysters: The Marathon du Medoc at Night. That is my unicorn.
What night tips do you have to share?