Imagine a late night around campus. Typical sights include the caffeine-induced library dwellers fighting to stay awake, students making snack runs to the C-store or stumbling to their rooms after that final round at the Rat.
Look a little closer, and you might come across the midnight runner.
Like many other students, sophomore Mikayla Vielot makes a habit of running the loop around campus as a way to stay in shape.
But what’s different about her routine is the time she chooses to set out for her runs.
At the same time most people are sound asleep (or wish they were), Vielot finds herself making the trek anywhere between midnight and 2 a.m.
“I’m usually pretty busy during the day,” she said. “By the time I get out of all my meetings and work and finish homework, that’s usually around the time I can go.”
Vielot first started this routine during the fall semester, but the runs had been sporadic until two weeks ago.
Once the semester began to wind down, she found herself motivated to run every day for two weeks, saying it “helps with the end-of-year stress.”
And Vielot doesn’t even like to run.
“I actually hate running,” she said. “Doing it at night when it’s cooler outside makes me more willing to go. I’ve never run outside during the day.”
Though there are no known health advantages to running at night as opposed to during the day, there are some benefits that could appeal to those looking to start.
While the South Florida heat can be overwhelming for many during the day, an evening run could reduce the risk of dehydration and heat exhaustion.
It also presents an opportunity to focus on the run itself, rather than all the obstacles that could be problematic during the day.
Weaving through students walking to class, stopping mid-run because the intersection has a red light, or struggling to hear your music over the city’s noise, are no longer issues.
However, certain safety precautions should be taken late at night. Wearing reflective clothing, choosing a well-lit location, making yourself visible and running with a friend are good ways to ensure that a late-night run is as safe as it is effective.
“I don’t really come into contact with too many people at that time,” Vielot said. “It’s very peaceful. I look forward to that.”
Although it has its advantages to some, for others it simply works out better to exercise during the day.
“I used to run late in the night to avoid the summer heat,” senior Joseph Diaz said. “Until I felt it was too unsafe.”
But for those struggling to find time in a hectic day for a good time to fit a workout in, the after-dark hours could be a viable – and necessary – option.
“It’s very good to keep yourself in shape. I don’t sleep very much but exercising makes me feel a lot better,” Vielot said. “I feel more refreshed. It really does help you out.”