My daughter, I can tell you that much. But me too, a tiny bit, when it comes to running. I pretty much never run at night after dark, mostly because I’m a morning person/morning runner. But now that the days are getting shorter, dark mornings are reality.
The dark brings with it all kinds of scary things if we want to let our imaginations get the best of us: animals, careless drivers, criminals, things that can trip us up. All of which can be enough to send us packing to the treadmill (nooooooo!!!!).
If I want to get my runs in, outside, when I like to and need to for scheduling purposes, that means I have to be friends with the dark. Over the years, I’ve learned how to do this, both when running with friends, and when alone. Here are my tips for making it less intimidating–and a bit safer:
* Run with friends–obviously, there’s safety in numbers. Having companions when you’re running in the dark means that you are much less likely to be a target for crime or even an unwanted animal encounter.
* Wear a headlamp–There are lots of lightweight brands out there on market today that make wearing a headlamp a breeze. Mine is a Petzel and when it’s on, I can’t even feel it. Headlamps let you see and be seen.
* Wear reflective gear–Ok, I’m not always great at this one, but most running gear these days has some sort of reflective trim on it–shoes, shirts, hats are all likely to include at least a few strips of reflective material. Take it a step further, as my friend Ellie does, and wear a reflective vest for real visibility.
* Run a route that you’re familiar with–Know your surroundings and know the terrain. I take different routes in the dark than I do when I have full sunlight simply because they feel like a sure bet–lots of houses, lots of other runners, and smooth roads.
* If you can, choose a time that will include the sunrise–I pretty much always hit the sunrise for a couple of reasons. For one, I know that my run is going to get increasingly lighter as I go along. For two, the pure pleasure of watching the sun rise. It’s one of the best ways to start a day, don’t you think?
Do you run in the dark? Morning or night? What tips would you add?