After injuring my lower back by deadlifting a large box of decorations (tip – bend your knees), I began my running streak aiming to run 1 mile daily from December 3-31.
As I’ve learned from previous December streaks, I don’t always have time during my regular workouts to get that mile in, so I will be tackling many of them in the late afternoon/early evening. I know many of you are early-morning runners, so I guess it’s time for my annual post on running in the dark. Here are my 3 top tips to safely navigate your dark 0’clock runs.
See and Be Seen – Don’t even think about going for a run or a walk anytime after twilight or before sunrise without these items:
- A headlamp or flashlight. I prefer wearing a headlight to keep my hands free, or I use Knuckle Lights.
- A reflective vest or reflective cuffs on your arms and legs. You want a car or bicyclist to know it’s a person on the road and that you’re not part of the pavement.
Watch Your Step – Even if you run the same damn loop, every damn morning, it’s totally different in the dark. Get in the habit of picking up your feet and go a little slower until you get comfortable in the dark.
One Earbud Out – I often listen to music or podcasts when I go for a run, but at night or in the early morning, I keep one earbud out with the volume on low.
Trust Your Gut – This one applies to any situation and bears repeating. If you are running or walking anywhere, anytime, and something doesn’t feel right, your spidey senses are tingling, but you can’t quite put your finger on it, trust that and immediately change your route and go in the direction of people or a busier street, turn around and go back the way you came, cross the street, stand under a street light or knock on someone’s front door. If you have your phone (which you should have ALWAYS), call a friend and if they don’t answer, pretend you’re talking to them. I hate to end on a cautionary note, but we’re all adults and we know what’s what.
I love running when it’s dark outside. Sure, it can be a bit disorienting at first, but once you get used to it, you might like it too!
Now go run!