Running in the Dark

It’s that time of year again where it’s super dark in the morning and getting darker earlier and earlier in the evening. I know a lot of people retreat indoors for their workouts once the daylight hours are shorter. Over the years I have grown more comfortable tolerable about running in the dark. It still freaks me out and I think of all the “what if” scenarios. I think it is possible to run in the dark safely. You just need to be smart and alert.

How to Run Safely in the Dark -

  • Wear reflective clothing and/or a headlamp, blinking light. You want to be seen by cars. You also want to see where you are going. The last thing you want is a sprained (or worse) ankle. I got an upgrade of a headlamp last year for Christmas and was amazed at the brightness compared to my old one. Definitely one of my ‘must haves’ when running in the dark.
  • Wear ID.ย I wear my RoadID for every run and now even when we hike. It’s vital for emergency sake when you can’t speak for yourself.
  • Buddy up.ย If possible meet up with a friend. There’s safety in numbers.
  • Enjoy the silence. Leave the ear buds at home. Even if you only have one bud in, it’s still a distraction. Listen to the music of your footfalls instead!
  • Stick to well lit areas. Now is not the time to explore a country road with no sidewalks or street lights.
  • Bring your phone. I carry my phone in my SPIBelt with no problems. In addition to having access to a phone if needed, it can also be used as a way to track you. Last year, Ron did that to me (unbeknownst to me) when I met up with a new running buddy for the first time. When I got home from the run, I started to tell him about our route when he cut me off and said “Yeah, I know.” He knew our exact route just by logging into “track my iphone.” Pretty cool but also creepy!
  • Switch your route.ย Don’t do the same route at the same time every day. Try to be unpredictable.

Most importantly, please use common sense. If you don’t have common sense, then stay home.

What are your tips for running in the dark?

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41 comments on “Running in the Dark

  1. I’ve never ran in the dark (intentionally). The one time I did, I was with a friend and we ran real fast trying to catch the light. lol

    Definitely a flashlight and a buddy. ID too! (And a cellphone, which I had with me! Thanks goodness!)
    Kierston @candyfit recently posted..Starting Fresh….My Profile

  2. Great tips!
    Almost all of my runs are at 5am, in the dark, year round. I pay attention to which houses have bedroom lights on. In a case of emergency, or if I felt threatened, that’s where I’d go. They’ll hear me and get to the door faster than someone who is asleep. I’ve also memorized which houses in my hood have dogs. If there’s a human predator in the vicinity, there’s nothing I want more than a barking dog.
    Jamie @ Rise.Run.Mom.Repeat. recently posted..Finish Line EngraversMy Profile

  3. I run in the dark all the time (just got back!) and will admit I skip many of those things. But headlamp and familiar, well-lit routes are my go-tos for early morning running when I am doing it solo.

    We will get a tiny bit of early morning sun back in a couple of weeks when the clocks change! (temporary, though!)
    misszippy1 recently posted..Intuitive racingMy Profile

  4. I think the headlamp/flashlight/knuckle lights need to be used in combination with a reflective vest and a tail light. The more reflective and light-projecting you can be, the more likely you are to be seen. We had a cyclist hit here in Annapolis a couple of months ago. After that happened, I started wearing my reflective vest all of the time when I run. Last week, I saw someone running at night wearing all black and I wanted to pull over and tell them how dangerous that it is.

    Be safe.
    Alyssa K recently posted..10K Across the BayMy Profile

    1. Oh no! That stinks! Hopefully you find another one. We actually had to dismantle our treadmill when we moved into our current house. It wouldn’t fit through the door either. I’m glad we did because it was heavy enough in pieces!

  5. Ha! If you don’t have common sense then stay home! Lol!!! My neighborhood does not have street lamps so it is wicked dark!!! I have started runs while it is still dark and I have a headlamp and a flashlight app on my phone…yeah my vision in the dark is that of a 90 year-olds! These are great tips! I tend to not run alone in the dark simply because I am too friggin scared but I run with a group in the evenings in the winter and it really is a neat experience. I have grown to like it….and their company!
    Fancy Nancy recently posted..Wordless WednesdayMy Profile

  6. Great post. I refuse to retreat indoors, but I do end up starting to switch my times to midday or afternoon when it gets colder. Right now I’ve become a lot less comfortable running solo in the dark hours of the morning for a few reasons. I hate that feeling too. I definitely agree on changing up your route, finding well-lit areas AND if possible areas of higher traffic volume where people will see you. And Brooks NightLife is awesome awesome reflective gear.
    Heather (Where’s the Beach) recently posted..Was it a Run or a SwimMy Profile

    1. Totally understandable why you are a little spooked…you’ve had a couple of not so pleasant experiences lately. Brooks Nightlife gear is awesome…I think it can be seen from space!

  7. RunID has a great free tracking app…you can set it to call someone if you are inactive for a designated period of time. Very reassuring to me since we have a creeper in the area who has been grabbing women “joggers”.

  8. Great tips! I too must run in the dark soon, and I won’t go alone unless I run with my dog. I think it is important to be really alert when you’re out there and pay attention to your instincts. I am always a little paranoid about anybody running in the dark because I was attacked once running early in the morning. I was able to escape and run away, but it still affects me more than 20 years later.

    Also, if you can run with a buddy, make sure that someone knows where you’re going, and when you expect to be home.
    Debbie @ Live from La Quinta recently posted..Weekly Reader: A Little TurkeyTrot InspirationMy Profile

  9. After running for hours in the dark the other night I’m pretty sure I won’t be doing it again any time soon – it is not my favorite. I have some cool pink knuckle lights if you want more light!!
    Kim recently posted..Wacky WednesdayMy Profile

  10. What a great post on being safe running in the dark! I don’t have a headlamp, but I use knucklelights to help light the way. I feel like the headlamp just squeezes my head too much.
    Stephanie recently posted..Rain Run: SoakedMy Profile

  11. It’s definitely getting to be that time where running in the dark is more and more likely. I like all these tips and I think the most important is to bring your common sense. I know I plan on running in the dark in the future which reminds me I need to dig out my neon shorts and reflective gear!
    Laura @losingrace recently posted..Something I am really bad at…My Profile

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