November 10th, 2023
As we transition into the fall and winter months, daylight becomes a precious commodity for outdoor runners. Whether we like it or not, many of us find ourselves having to run in the dark – either in the morning or evening – in order to get our kilometres in.
But fear not: with the right precautions and strategies, you can continue with your morning or evening runs safely and effectively throughout the fall and winter.
Running in the dark: SAFETY FIRST
Before we delve into training tips, let’s emphasize safety. When it comes to running during the darker hours, it’s crucial to prioritize your well-being. Here are some key tips to keep in mind.
Wear reflective gear. Invest in reflective clothing to ensure you’re visible to motorists. If you’re in need of some shopping guidance, check out this article from Runner’s World.
Use a headlamp or flashlight. Illuminate your path and make it easier for others to see you! An example of a great headlamp is found in the above article as well.
Stick to well-lit routes. On top of wearing reflective clothing, try to choose well-lit areas, such as streets with streetlights or popular running trails.
Run against traffic. If you must run on the road, run facing oncoming traffic to see and react to cars.
Carry identification. Always carry identification and a phone for emergencies. This goes without saying during all hours, but especially in the dark when you’re not as easily spotted by others.
Run with a buddy. Whenever possible, run with a partner, your personal trainer, or join a running group for added safety. If you’re running alone, try to at least let a friend or loved one know where you’ll be.
Pay attention to your surroundings. You may encounter different obstacles and distractions compared to daytime running, and other people or vehicles might not see you as quickly. For this reason, it’s best to leave the headphones at home so you can be as aware and alert as possible.
Use safety apps. You can download running apps that offer safety features like live tracking or emergency alerts, providing an extra layer of protection.
Layer up. As the sun disappears and temperatures drop, layering your clothing is essential. Don’t forget to wear moisture-wicking fabrics to stay dry!
Consider indoor alternatives. If running outside is not an option, explore indoor alternatives like the treadmill or indoor tracks.
WHEN AND HOW TO ADJUST YOUR TRAINING
Running safely in the dark requires a few adjustments to your routine. Here are a few pointers to get you started.
Plan your routes ahead of time. If you’ve been running in the same area during daylight, consider re-evaluating your path. You may need to choose a more public area that’s friendlier to foot traffic.
Check local sunset and sunrise times. If you’re looking to minimize your time in the dark, this information will help you schedule your runs accordingly.
Warm-up properly. Cold muscles are more prone to injury, so ensure you spend some extra time on your warm-up. The last thing you need is a fall in the dark!
Running in the dark may present challenges, but with the right precautions and mindset, you can continue to enjoy your runs safely.
Prioritize visibility, stay alert, and adapt your running routine to make the most of the daylight available. With these strategies, you can keep up your fitness goals while navigating the darker months with confidence.
Remember, the transition may be a bit tricky, but it’s just another part of the journey on your path to becoming a stronger, more resilient runner!
If you’re looking for a running partner, Nielsen Fitness can help! Many of our personal trainers are equipped with years of running experience and knowledge to support your training goals and help keep you safe while you’re at it.