Neil, a founding member and coach of Dunerunners and a few other members were waiting for us next the lifeboat station in Caister-on-Sea. I grew up in Norfolk but there are still so many places I've never been. The sound of the sea accompanied Neil's explanation about how best to use a head torch and what the session was going to consist of.
TOP TIPS FOR TRAIL RUNNING AT NIGHT
- keep light on your feet - so you a quickly adjust if you land on an uncomfortable surface
- make sure your light is bright enough - if you're shopping, look for a torch with at least 60 lumens of brightness
- focus your torch about 4 metres in front of you - your brain processes what you see and tells your feet what to do
- ease in - running trails, and running at night both take more concentration than road running or daylight running. Give yourself a chance to get used to it.
At the end of our session (after everyone had attended to their Garmins) we talked through how we'd found it. It seemed mad to run in the dunes at night. But it was amazing! The sound and smell of the sea was in itself invigorating. The constant adjustments that trail running requires make for much more of a full body workout than the repetitive motion of roadrunning. The concentration level required made everything else leave my mind - I couldn't help but be present in the moment. It was also really nice to be trusting someone else to lead the way too.
At the friendly local pub we talked kit, trails, and left with an open invitation to return. I gained a lot of confidence in running with my headtorch and I will definitely be hitting my usual trails at night. And I can't wait to tag along with the Dunerunners for another run again soon. Thank you Neil for having us!
Find out about the Norfolk Dune Runners here. And check out the main page here for events and training sessions around the UK.