It’s early morning, or perhaps you arrived home after a long day at work. Either way, the last thing you want to do is run, but you know you should get out there and move your body. “It’s cold. It’s dark. It’s wayyyy too dark right now. I will do it tomorrow.” That has been all too familiar for me, some days!
Lately, though, I have been practicing the art of running in the dark, on both of those occasions: after work & early before the sun rises. In the summer we are blessed with bright (ish) skies at 5AM, but now that winter is drawing near, we aren’t so lucky. However, you certainly can run in the dark, though there are some things you should keep in mind. In today’s post I want to share my personal tips with you & things that I have been utilizing as I run into the night, or into the morning of a brand new day.
- Have a running buddy: Whether furry (or not), running in numbers is a helpful way to make you feel safe on the roads. It can be lonely, and a little scary, running on your own especially if you are just starting out. On shorter recovery runs I love to bring Nala with me, and she loves to get out there too! This is a great way for us to bond as well as protection for me if we are ever approached by someone. Nala is a good protector, and if you are running with a friend or a small group, this can be a good way to deter any onlookers or people with ill-intentions.
- Run in a familiar neighbourhood: I found a loop that is exactly one mile in distance and passes my house twice. I ran this loop three times on my most recent evening run. This is helpful because I can easily run to a neighbour’s if I feel I am in danger, or I can sprint my tush home if need be. Plus, the streetlights are extra helpful in helping you identify anyone approaching you or any animals nearby.
- Mix it up: I know it is a scary thought, but try not to run the same route at the exact same time every day. Sure, you may think it is no big deal, but there is always the “What If?” factor. What if someone is watching you? What if someone is calculating how long it takes you to do that certain loop? These are all things to take into consideration, especially if you are running solo.
- Gear up: Wear reflective clothing so on-coming traffic can easily spot you. I also run with a reflective hat and gloves that have reflecting striping on them. Further, you can find a reflective vest, headlamp, knuckle-lights (or other light gadgets that you can easily clip to your clothing, shoes, etc), and apparel to help you be more visible when you are out there in the dark.
- Be aware: Now is not the time to zone out to music on full blast. I personally do not run with music when I am out there early in the morning or late at night as I want to be as aware of my surroundings as possible. However, if you DO want to listen to your latest playlist, I recommend only having one earbud in and having the volume relatively low so you can still hear the world around you.
- Communicate: Tell someone about where you are running that evening or the next morning and approximately how long you think you will be gone. I keep my phone in my pocket as I run that way, in the event of an emergency, I can call for help or someone can reach me if I have been out for longer than anticipated.
It may take a bit of time and preparation to be ready to run in the dark, but it is important to take precautions to ensure you stay safe out there on the road. There are tons of resources out there for more safety tips, so I highly encourage you to explore those options if you want to learn more.
Do you like to run in the dark? What is your number one safety tip?