The early bird catches the worm—but if there’s one thing that can rival a warm-weather happy-hour buzz, it’s a runner’s high at the end of a long day.
Yes, it’s time to rethink when you log your miles; especially now that it’s summer (longer days FTW), hitting the asphalt in the p.m. has its perks.
It’s the reason why run clubs like Black Roses in New York City and the bicoastal Electric Flight Crew have taken off, but you don’t need to wait for an organized event to get in on the post-work pavement pounding. According to Chelsea Beasley of Black Roses, you can definitely rally your own pals for an evening jog of your very own.
“A sunset run offers you the opportunity to clear your head and shake off your day with friends.”
“A sunset run offers you the opportunity to clear your head and shake off your day with friends,” she says. “Not only does it offer beautiful scenery, but in the summer it also means the day is cooling down.” (Translation: You won’t be too sweaty if you choose to end your route at the bar—juice or otherwise.)
To ensure your first group fun run goes as smoothly as possible, I asked Beasley to give the lowdown on when to go, where to explore, and who to invite along. Consider this your even-happier hour.
Here’s everything you need to know to organize a memorable sunset run with your friends.
1. Set a midweek date
There’s really no bad day to host a sunset run. (Aside from the ones with thunderstorms, that is.) But Beasley particularly likes hosting them midweek. “On Wednesday, it’s an opportunity to break up your week and gives you something to look forward to,” she says. “And Thursdays are a great day to end your run by drinking some beers with your crew!” (Or some mocktails—whatever you’re into.)
2. Pick a scenic route
For max relaxation, you can’t go wrong by picking a trail near water—whether it’s a beach, lake, or river. In NYC, Beasley’s a fan of running over bridges like the Manhattan or Williamsburg. “It lets you see the city from a totally-new perspective,” she says.
Another equally-Instagrammable option is to create a route around street-art landmarks, like Los Angeles run clubs Posing School and Blacklist LA do. Pics or it didn’t happen, right?
3. Make sure everyone’s got a running buddy
When deciding on a guest list, Beasley stresses you should keep everyone’s running speed and endurance in mind. “In general, it’s best to keep it to three or less people of the same ability, or have a larger group that can be broken up into pace groups so everyone has someone to run with,” she says.
She’s most fond of the second scenario, since people can challenge themselves by trying to jump into another group—and your pals won’t feel left in the dust if they’re having an off day.
4. Bring layers
Dressing for a sunset run can be tricky, since the temperature can change drastically from beginning to end. “This time of year, it’s usually warm enough when you start that you’re best off in running shorts and a singlet,” says Beasley. “I definitely recommend investing in Dri-Fit gear because cotton will be uncomfortable in the heat and humidity.” Once the sun goes down, she says, you should bring a long-sleeved top or jacket and possibly some lightweight leggings—especially if you’re staying out afterwards.
Oh, and pro-tip: look into stashing your work bag somewhere safe en route. “A lot of local running stores, and even some bars and cafes, are willing to host a bag check or offer lockers,” she notes. “Just make sure you get back before they close!”
5. Refuel al fresco
Beasley’s all for keeping the night going after you cool down, particularly if food’s involved. “A biergarten is a great place to end a run and a good opportunity to relax with your friends,” she says. (Just make sure not to overdo it on the brewskis—and maybe have some protein while you’re at it.)
If that’s not possible, she recommends grabbing tacos, a salad, or juice and heading to a park to fully revel in the sunset. Social time while staying in your sports bra? Sounds like a perfect weeknight to me.