I am soon to move to the country and, as it is almost British winter time, I am a little concerned that my regime will be seriously affected by the lack of street lighting.

I am considering my options but have struggled to find an authoritative opinion on the subject.

  • 2
    Night Vision Goggles. – MDMoore313 Oct 24 '13 at 13:30
  • 1
    "Are they heavy? Then they're expensive, put them back" – Mild Fuzz Oct 24 '13 at 13:31

There are a few considerations when running at night:

  1. Making yourself visible to others, i.e. motorists, cyclists, etc.
  2. Providing vision for yourself
  3. Where to look when running

You don't want to be staring down at your feet. Like mountain biking or other high speed pursuits, you want to be looking a few feet ahead so that you know what is coming for footing. So, you want a light that can shine out ahead of you as well as down, and provides enough light to illuminate the path ahead.

My personal favorite combination (which is also mandatory for Ragnar events, which are 24 hour relay running event is as follows:

  1. Headlamp - You can get ones that clip onto a hat, or you can get them mounted on head straps. Find what is comfortable, if it isn't comfortable, you won't use it. My personal preference is the Petzl series of head lamps. You also need to consider the lumens, or light output. I prefer 50 lumens, as that gives me about 10 seconds of visibility at a 7 minute mile pace. If you run faster than that, you need a brighter lamp so that you don't outrun your light.
  2. Rear red solid or flashing light - Almost any brand will do, you just want a light in the back for visibility
  3. Reflective vest/clothing - You want something that will reflect both from the front and back - My person preference is Nathans, as you can get quite minimally structured vests that still provide a lot of reflection.

As long as you have the basic elements of a light in front for footing, a light to the rear to alert others, and some sort of front/rear reflective capability, you should be fine to run if there isn't much illumination.

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I'm not exactly living in the country side, but runing on tracks that basically circle around a village. What I found interesting when running outside without any own light source:

It isn't a problem as long as there is no artificial light source. With stars or moon the eyes adapt to the low light pretty well, and I was able to see enough for my runs. But in some places strong lights from gardens and in the worst case from a sports ground where so blinding, that I basically saw nothing at all when it wasn't hit directly by the light.

Of course is highly dependent on your surroundings.

So my recommendation is: explore your new routes during the daylight and try if you actually need a light source at all.

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