Every other runner has probably discussed, argued, and written about the benefits of running – the adrenaline rush, the runner’s high, the sense of achievement and the super cool and aesthetically pleasing running apparel.
I probably agree with all of them but here is another icing on the proverbial cake (We probably deserve that slice after a good workout).
Running at night is great.
Most working adults do not have the luxury of going for a run in the evening like the typical student athlete. By the time we get home and have dinner after a long day at work, it is usually past 9pm. Who has the energy to put on those running shoes to hit the road?
Well, on some days, I look forward to having midnight runs. I make a mental note of the time I had dinner and wait that magical 2 hours to know that I can safely go for my run without hurting my digestive system.
Running at night is a different experience. While the Sundown Marathon is a good example, that is not quite what I mean. After all, it is a properly organised event with all the bells and whistles; road closures, traffic marshalls and water points set up along the way.
What I have in mind is getting to know the city intimately while I run. As with every first world city, Singapore takes on a different personality and character late into the night. It is not just the bustling nightlife or the yummy supper places (I run without money so I can never be tempted), but you see a side of Singapore that is rarely glimpsed anywhere else.
As I go for my run, sometimes I see an office worker who looks tired and dejected from a long day at work wearily walking home. As I pass him, I just want to reach out and give him a high five to cheer him up.
Sometimes, my running route brings me past my neighbourhood hawker centre. As I run past, I smile and wave to a hawker stall owner, who just finished counting the day’s earnings, cleaning up the stall, and is heading home for the much needed rest before the cycle repeats again tomorrow.
Some nights, I see the empty buses driving along the route, and I wonder what goes on in the minds of the bus drivers. What motivates him to stay awake and drive this route, even with no passenger in sight?
The little stories that I run past are never ending, and I see something different every night.
Beyond that, the stillness of the night can be sometimes deafening when you’re running by yourself at night. The air is cooling, yet humid. When there are no cars on the road, you hear your own footsteps and you realise that your gait and form is off; you have been landing way too heavy.
And then there are times when you had a really difficult day at work and this silence gives you some alone time to contemplate on the day’s events. It is just you, the road, and your thoughts.
The 30 minutes (or more, depending on your fitness) is just enough time for you to reflect, perhaps come to some conclusion, or an acceptance that some things are out of your control, like the traffic light that demands you to halt while you wait to cross a road.
At the end of my night run, I feel tired, but great. It is as though a weight has been lifted off my shoulders, and a sense of relief and exhilaration is washing over me. There are days when the more tired I feel from work, the more I want to put on those shoes, and give my mind a break.
Lastly, I love running at night because there will be no one around to see me when I have to walk!