Running at night may be the most calming form of exercise. The senses go on high alert and the stresses of the day fade to black. Unfortunately, nocturnal training can also be dangerous. Drivers have a hard time seeing anything beyond the range of their headlights and, unless there's a bright moon, staying on a path can be difficult. Avid night runners sometimes make the intelligent choice to wear a reflective road vest, but the thick plastic adds extra weight and – when combined with a forehead-mounted headlamp – makes athletes look and feel like weighed-down construction workers. The new runner's GoMotion LiteBelt 100 solves this problem by serving as both a reflector and a lamp.
The belt is wide, but light, and fits snugly just above the hips. A battery pack is located in the back and powers a 100-lumen lamp that rests just below the navel. Surprisingly, neither the battery nor the light dig uncomfortably into runners' torsos. In fact, it would be easy to forget about the belt entirely if it weren't for the illumination and the small pockets in the back, one of which includes a rubber cutout through which headphones can be attached to an audio device. Trimmed in a reflective orange, the LiteBelt 100 is clearly visible in the headlights of a car, aided by a flashing rear light. Of course, the belt is not as visible as a full-on vest (which GoMotion also sells), but most runners prefer the minimalist getup, which represents a reasonable compromise.
One unexpected perk of running with the belt, especially on trails, is that the light illuminates frogs, nocturnal birds, and all sorts of rarely seen insects. The show is mesmerizing, strange, and deeply calming. You're far from alone in the dark. [$59.95; gomotiongear.com]