What Is Midnight Running?
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What Is Midnight Running?

What Is Midnight Running?

Most people associate running with getting up at the crack of dawn, strapping on a pair of shoes, and braving the chilly morning air.

But a new movement is challenging this stereotype by encouraging more runners to go for a run late into the evening.

The “Midnight Runners” movement involves a group of keen city-dwelling runners who get together a few times each week for some late night exercise.

The sessions are fun, friendly and energetic, with music playing as the group runs through a metropolitan locale.

It is a global movement with regular events in many major cities including New York, Sydney, and Los Angeles.

It is particularly popular in London, where dozens of runners regularly get together for missions around the city.

But is Midnight Running for you?

In this post, I’ll share the origins of Midnight Runners and what’s involved in the average session.

I’ll also look at how Midnight Running might affect your health.

The Origins Of Midnight Runners

Midnight Runners was created when two friends in the UK made a commitment to run a marathon together, but discovered they couldn’t find enough time to train.

The harsh UK winters also sapped their motivation for early morning runs.

They decided that night running might be a great way to squeeze some training into their busy days.

They enjoyed it so much that, in 2015, they decided to form a night time runners group via the website MeetUp.

The initial meetup consisted of 13 complete strangers, but they quickly became friends as they ran around the city.

They decided to make the sessions more exciting by using small portable speakers for music.

This meant that runners could chat with one another during the session, as they weren’t wearing headphones.

The other idea that bolstered the popularity of Midnight Runners was not having different pace groups.

Runners would simply go at their own pace, with the fastest group pausing intermittently to let the others catch up.

However, the fastest runners would do boot camp style exercises while waiting, including burpees, pushups, and sit-ups.

These ideas made Midnight Runners, a very social, fun, and engaging activity.

It quickly grew in popularity and there are now groups in dozens of major cities.

What Is Midnight Running Like?

This great article on the Matador network describes the experience of Midnight Running well.

It typically involves a group of between 10 to 50 people, with some special events attracting hundreds more.

There are leaders who are usually designated with an armband or wristband.

The leaders will carry portable speakers and organise the exercises which are performed while waiting for other runners to catch up.

The events attract sociable people who are very friendly and always happy to have a chat.

Runners get to know one another very quickly and you will soon discover which runners are super competitive and which are in it for the fun.

The nature of the Midnight Running means very different kinds of people get a chance to interact and learn more about one another.

There are also longer events, including midnight to midnight marathons and team events for the super-keen runners.

Overall, it is a very social activity with a positive vibe, which makes it a highly addictive form of exercise.

Is Running At Night Good For Your Health?

But how healthy is running at night?

Is it better than running in the morning?

There are several pros and cons for running at night.

The most important factors to consider include:

All running is good for you

Regardless of when you run, you will are still obtaining the numerous health benefits that exercise provides.

Midnight Running will build strong bones, strengthen muscles, improve cardiovascular fitness, burn kilojoules, and help you maintain a healthy weight.

In addition to those fantastic benefits, Midnight Running will also strengthen the immune system, reduce insulin resistance, reduce stress, and even help you live longer.

Less risk of overheating

Because it is so much cooler at night, there is much lower risk of overheating.

This allows you to push yourself even harder than normal, as your body temperature won’t rise as rapidly (leading to better results from your workouts).

Reduced exposure to harmful UV rays

Another brilliant advantage of Midnight Running is that you won’t be exposed to harsh ultraviolet rays (UV) from the sun. Reducing UV exposure is a good thing as it can cause premature ageing and increase the risk of skin cancer. You also won’t have to wear sunscreen or a hat, which improves your comfort levels and makes it easier to prepare for a run.

Midnight Running is an extremely fun social activity

One of the main reasons for the sudden popularity of Midnight Running is that it is a social activity. The focus is on fun and participants quickly become friends. This makes it much easier to remain motivated and can actually improve the effectiveness of your workouts.

Boosts energy reserves

If you exert yourself when you are already physically tired (as you would be late at night), your body will adapt by developing larger energy reserves. This can improve your health and help you train for longer running events like marathons.

It may disrupt your sleep cycle

One potential downside is that late night exercise may disrupt your circadian clock. You may find that cellular respiration close to the time that you are normally preparing for sleep makes it harder to get to sleep.

Night time hazards

Another potential downside of midnight running is that you may be exposed to some additional hazards.

These may include:

  • Trip hazards (it’s hard to see in the dark)
  • Less visibility to motorists (wearing bright colours is advised)
  • Potentially dealing with drunk people who are on their way to the pub

Apart from those minor issues, midnight running is an exciting, fun, and effective way to exercise.

Definitely worth checking out.

To learn more, visit the Midnight Runners website or look for a group on Meetup.





Stephen Coleclough
Stephen Coleclough

Stephen Coleclough is a personal trainer and online fitness/nutrition coach from the UK. He loves heavy squats, smashing PRs and bacon sandwiches. You can follow him on Twitter at ColecloughPT.

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