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Dan Summers' Guide To Nighttime Trail Running

The nights are drawing in and it’s time to start thinking about reflective kit and head torches for nighttime trail adventures. We asked running coach, Dan Summers, to share his expert tips for getting started with night trail running.

Start on easy terrain 

Head torches make everything look different and this will affect your perception of what you are running on.  Do a few runs on flat terrain such as pavement or flat grass to get used to this difference before venturing onto the trails.  Make sure you wear something reflective/hi-vis when running at night in towns or on roads.

Short local trail run 

Pick an easy local trail that you already know when you’re ready to move off road.  Go slowly and focus on every step.  Always make sure you tell someone where you’re going and what time you expect to be back.

Don’t worry about your pace

Running on trails and at night with a head torch is always slower.  Don’t focus on your pace – just enjoy the experience.

Expand your horizons

When you’re feeling confident take things a bit further if you want to.  If you’re building up for a challenge or race try to find some terrain similar to what you’ll be running on and practice on that.

Have fun! 

Running at night with a head torch on is  one of the easiest and most accessible mini adventures you can have.  Get out, have fun and open up a new world to yourself!  


Dan Summers is a running coach, mountain leader and an INWA Nordic Walking Instructor. He’s completed a number of 100-mile races and 24 hour challenges including Lakeland 100 and the Bob Graham and Paddy Buckley rounds.

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