DARKNESS…are you scared of running in it? Do you think the boogeyman will come and get you?! There are many ways to actually enjoy running in the dark, and I am here to provide you with a few tips and ways you can survive it. And not only survive it really, but have FUN and love doing it! Because running should be fun, and if it isn’t then what are you doing it for?
Let’s get to it!
1. Safety in numbers. Really the number one way to enjoy running in darkness is to grab a few of your closest (craziest) running buddies to have with you along for the ride. Whether it is a 5 AM jaunt before sunrise or galavanting in the night after work, you can guarantee you will have 1,000 times more fun if you are with others. I personally love my early morning runs with my die hard runner buds, they are the main reason why I love morning running during the work week.
2. Light it up!! There are so many excellent options for headlamps, you can even buy them super cheap at places like Lowe’s/Home Depot etc. I love my Petzl headlamp from REI, it has endured many a dark trail run. They are especially helpful if you are interested in running ultras, many times these races start and/or END in the dark so you will want to be well prepared. I know friends that like the lit up reflective vests too and also you can put blinky lights on your hydration pack if you carry one on your back.
3. Watch that fancy footwork. Always be sure to watch your footing in the darkness, on the trail and even on pavement. It is easy to miss spots and take a tumble so having lights to see and being cognizant of your foot placement makes all the distance.
4. Stay alert/run against traffic. This is one of the things I love the most about trail running is that you don’t have to worry about traffic at all. But when on the ROAD be sure to stay aware of your surroundings at all times. I do not wear headphones when I run for this very reason. If I listen to music at all it is low volume and I’ll carry my phone. And always try to run in lit up areas that are well populated especially if running alone.
5. Realize that running in the dark will make you super TOUGH mentally. Not many people enjoy running outside when it is cold and dark (and this is without a doubt the time of year that many runners lose focus and/or interest due to lack of motivation) so just you getting out there and roughing it out will make you a total BOSS. You don’t have to go super long, either. Even a quick 3-4 mile jaunt will make all the difference and come spring time you will be totally dominating your races. Believe it.
How is your training going? Anyone have any sweet runner reflective gear they’ve bought lately?