TotR: Why I Don’t Run in the Dark

Today’s topic on Tuesdays on the Run with Patty from My No-Guilt Life, Erika from MCM Mama Runs and me is Running in the Dark.  While the Winter Solstice is behind us and the days are getting longer, it’s still dark when I leave for work in the morning and dark when I get home from work at night.  So how do I get my runs in when it’s dark outside?


The short answer is that I don’t run in the dark.  Unless I’m racing, my runs are all while the sun is above the horizon.  Strangely enough, in Florida it’s a little easier for me to get my runs in during the winter even though the daylight hours are less because it’s usually cool enough that I can run anytime during the day, unlike the summer when runs must be timed right at sunrise to avoid the brutal heat.  On weekends, I tend to run around 9 or 10am and during the week, I like to get my runs in on my lunch break.  But never in the dark.

Why I don’t run in the dark (as told by movie posters):


photo credit: Disney Pixar


My main reason for avoiding the roads when the sun’s down is that I don’t want to get hit by a car (or bus or truck or motorcycle or bike).  There are some great light up and reflective devices that can help with this, but as someone who’s often driving pre-dawn, I can attest that it’s still hard to see runners.  And people driving at those hours may be more likely to be tired or inebriated.  None of which I want to share the road with if possible.


photo credit: Twentieth Century Fox


I don’t know that this one is quite as rational, but when it’s dark outside I feel like I’m more vulnerable to being accosted or harmed by bad guys.  Maybe not terrorists, but bad guys none the less.  I know some people actually run with concealed weapons and I do have a can of mace but when it’s dark, it seems like I’d have less warning if someone sketchy was lurking around or following me.



photo credit: Warner Bros


This one is a big one for me.  On the few occasions I have run in the dusk or dark, I’ve found that I tend to trip over things like sticks and pine cones a lot.  Things that during daylight I can see with no problem become major falling hazards when it’s dark.  Running with knuckle lights or a headlamp would probably help a lot with this one.



photo credit: Universal

And I know this one is completely irrational.  And totally silly.  And yet, when I’m out on a quiet road under a dark night sky and I hear a rustle in the bushes or see something skitter in the edge of my vision, I start running faster because I have a bizarre phobia about werewolves.  I think it’s from watching some horrible werewolf movie as an impressionable adolescent.  I’m not sure which one, but it’s the one where the werewolf’s face suddenly pops up through a window and it scarred me!

I know that tons of people run in the dark and escape all these fears (in fact I haven’t heard of a single runner-werewolf encounter) but my schedule is flexible enough that I can generally get my runs in during daylight hours and I’m just more comfortable with that.

If you’d like some actual advice on how to safely run when the sun is down, check the other posts in our linkup today!

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TotR: Why I Don’t Run in the Dark — 30 Comments

  1. I don’t like running the dark either (I’ve only done it twice-a training run for wine and dine and wine and dine itself) mainly because it’s hard for me to fuel correctly for a long run.

    Most of my runs are in the morning with a 630-8 start
    Juliana recently posted…WDW Marathon Weekend: 2015 WDW 10kMy Profile

    • I really prefer running later in the morning, but in the summer I have to get out there at dawn if I don’t want to melt!

    • Thanks it was fun to find the poster images! Good luck with Cherry Blossom! I really need to find room in my budget for a racecation for that one!

    • Thanks! Don’t forget that any running post is always welcome to link up, you don’t have to use our suggested topic!

    • I’d definitely need a headlamp. I’m pretty lucky that I have a flexible schedule at work most days so I can usually squeeze a run in during a super early or late lunch.

    • Ack! Coyotes would be pretty scary to encounter. We did have a fox in the neighborhood for a while but he disappeared after a few months.

    • Thanks! I think if I could find a nice stretch of road to run on with a few other people that I would love running at night. I do love night races, but I’m just too paranoid about the (probably imaginary!) dangers of running alone after dark.

    • I love running in the dark when it’s a nice well-lit race with plenty of other runners. Dawn and dusk are ok, but 9am or 10am is when I feel most comfortable!

    • Ha! I don’t really like driving at night either. Since I’ve turned 40 it seems like my night vision just isn’t what it used to be!

  2. I have a hard enough time getting motivated to run when it’s light. So running in the dark is really just not going to happen. Not to mention I just don’t feel safe running in the dark unless I’m with someone.
    Stephanie recently posted…Walk By Faith, Not By SightMy Profile

    • I’m with you, I don’t feel safe running alone in the dark at all!

  3. There’s a group of runners in my tiny town that routinely run in the dark, but I’ve never joined them. I’d feel safe enough with a group, but I live in Maine and it is even colder when the sun goes down and I hate the cold!

    • I think I’d feel safe with a group too, but there would still be that tripping in the dark problem for me. I can’t imagine running in Maine for 75% of the year regardless of the day/night variation (although from June to August I bet it is perfection!).

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  5. Hah! I just howled when I saw your last reason. (Sorry – couldn’t resist.)
    I won’t run in the dark for sort of the same reason. For me, those heebie-jeebies come from seeing Bela Lugosi in Dracula and then watching Dark Shadows when I was very young. I would be okay if someone else were with me, but there is no way I would be out there by myself!

    • LOL! See, I have no fear of vampires at all, even when I’m alone at night… Guess those movies just hit us at impressionable ages!