There’s still a little part in each of us that still believes that once you turn the lights out, there might actually be a monster under the bed and that when there’s rustling in a bush, it’s probably a bear. At Reebok Ragnar Relays, this fear just helps you run faster. One of your legs will typically be between the hours of 9:00 pm and 4:00 am, meaning you’ll be running through the night. Sure, your first instinct might be to hide under your covers until the sun rises with a sense of safety, but the night run tends to be the best part of your race. Here’s how to embrace your fear, follow the light (of your headlamp) and prepare both mentally and physically for the Ragnar night run:
One: Stock Up on Safety Gear
Make sure you’ll be seen on your in-the-dark runs. Light up the night with the required van safety bundle of 6 safety vests, 2 head lights and 2 tail lights and the optional, but equally awesome glow sticks, Christmas lights, LED belt buckles or shirts and pretty much anything else you can find that glows. Not only does this ensure you’re visible to cars and other runners (and possibly satellites), it also makes you look extremely festive. Grab a Nathan Zephyr Fire handheld flashlight and Nebula Fire headlamp to light your way.
Two: Practice Makes Perfect
So, 1:00 am isn’t your usual running time? Well, it probably doesn’t need to be unless you’re Ragnaring every weekend (not actually possible). But, there are easier ways to practice running in the dark than having your alarm go off at a time when other people are coming home from the bars. After sunset, head out around your neighborhood. This will give you the chance to figure out how to run with a headlight without feeling like an off-balanced unicorn or how to make your bright yellow vest look stylish.
Three: Bring a Friend
Whether it’s during your practice night run or during your Ragnar leg, bring along a friend (or an enemy you can out-run incase there is actually a monster in the bushes). With anything in life, you’re stronger in numbers and when you’re lost in conversation, you’ll forget about your fear of the dark. Plus, there’s nothing like a friend by you telling you “you can do it” or “I will make fun of you forever and ever if you don’t do this” to really get you moving.
Four: Bring Your Phone, but Leave the Headphones
If you’re still a little nervous but are ready to conquer your night run solo, it’s nice to have the reassurance that your van is only a call away. So grab a Tube Waistband or stick your phone in your Nathan hydration pack to keep it with you while you’re out on your run. However, for the full experience of the night run, ditch your headphones and listen to, well, nothing. (Until your teammates cheer for you, of course.)
Five: Have Fun with It
Sure, at first when you think of jumping out of a van at 1:00 am and running anywhere from 2 to 13ish miles through the night, your insides might turn to Jello. But, after you take the first few steps, realize that the rustling in the bushes is just wind and fall into a normal pace, the night run might be your favorite part of the event. You get a little bit of peace and quiet, get to soak in the view of a billion stars and brag about it for the rest of your life.
Read the 10 Stages of a Ragnar Night Leg to prepare even more to conquer your night leg.