Top tips for night running

Runners on a night run

There’s something magical about venturing into night-time nature. Whether you are running in an organised Night Run event, or simply running by yourself, you gain a new perspective of the world at night.

Heading out on an evening run is a great way to unwind. Deer, badgers, or a family of foxes might cross your path, while a bat or an owl or two might be spotted overhead.

Some of our outdoor places are accessible after dusk, giving you the chance savour the twilight atmosphere as you explore ancient woodland and historic landscapes (Remember to first check opening times before planning your visit).

For those looking for something more competitive we also hold our exclusive Night Run series of events giving you the opportunity to race along routes that will take you past gothic mansions, through Tudor gardens and tranquil parkland.

Taking place from October through to March these organised events offer a gentle of 1-3km run, as well as a longer 6-9km route – all safely marked out for you.


To get you run ready, we’ve worked with our friends at Cotswold Outdoor, our official outdoor retailer, to bring you these top night running tips:

Lightweight layers

Light layers are advisable for night-runs, as is a lightweight waterproof jacket, just in case. Try to avoid wearing cotton, as it retains moisture and can become uncomfortable (and chilly). Clothing made from wicking fabric can be perfect as it pulls the moisture away from the skin, helping you cool down.

Know your route

Make sure you’re running up the right hill by doing a daytime route check. It’s important to know your route, particularly if you aren’t taking part in an organised event. It is also handy to see any obstacles, like dips, or tree stumps ahead of the run. 

Be prepared

We mean physically, as well as mentally. You’ve scoped your route, got your running shoes on, so be sure to warm up.  You can significantly reduce your chance of injury with a good warm up and stretch. It’s harder to see little obstacles in the dark, too, so warm muscles will keep you light on your feet, ready for anything. 
" Running brings a cathartic freedom you can’t experience with other sports. Nothing can stop you throwing on a pair of trainers and seeing where the trail takes you. Don’t be afraid to push your limits, if you don’t try you’ll never know what you’re capable of."
- Matthew Withey, Cotswold Outdoor

The sounds of silence

It’s advisable to avoid running with headphones, or listening to music on a night run. You need all your senses working to be aware of other runners and, animals or traffic when it’s darker. It also means you can enjoy the sounds of the outdoors at night, whether it’s a squeaking bat, whooping owl or clicking cricket.


Shine bright like a diamond

It may sound obvious, but you’re going to need a torch. Most regular runners will invest in a head torch, keeping their hands free and weight balanced. Consider brightness and beam length, this will enable you to see what’s coming up along the trail. While we are on the subject of shining, embrace bright and reflective kit to stay visible.

Planning the route ahead
Night runner looking at a map with head torches
Planning the route ahead

Thirsty work

Whether short or long distance, jog or a walk, remember to take some water with you. If you don’t like to carry a bottle, give a backpack with a water bladder a try. Hands free and easy to carry, they often have a bit of space for a spare top or waterproof and your keys. 
" Our run was held at Saltram House in Plymouth... It was really good to see floods of people signing up right up until the run began. Everybody with smiles on their faces even with the cold setting in as the sun set. Even when the run began people stayed to support their friends, family, and even strangers."
- Katie Oliver, Cotswold Store Supervisor – Plymouth

Get some expert advice

Cotswold Outdoor can help you decide which bit of kit is best for you. They can recommend the latest lithium powered head-torch, or just the best set of thermal socks, if a gentle evening amble is more your thing.

Don’t forget National Trust supporters receive 15 per cent discount at Cotswold Outdoor, in store and online.*

*Full T&Cs apply. This is not to be used in conjunction with any other offer or discount. Selected lines are exempt. This offer is redeemable on production of your National Trust membership card in-store, or both members and our other supporters can email to receive a discount code to use online or in-store. Offer expires 31/12/19.

Runnners at night at Saltram, Devon

Join us for a Night Run

Ever wanted to run around the gardens of a Tudor manor house at night, or explore ancient woodlands after dark? Come and join us on a Night Run. You can book online at a place near you.