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):
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.
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.
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.
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!