If you’re a runner the chances are that winter is your least favourite time of year. But likewise, if you’re a runner you go out no matter the weather. But in winter it’s not just the weather you have to contend with. We all lead busy lives and sometimes you simply can’t get out for a run during the daylight hours. So, running in the dark it has to be.
What you need for running in the dark will largely depend on the environment around you. I live in a rural part of North Yorkshire, so if I want to avoid laps of the small towns lit streets I have to head out onto unlit country lanes. But, they’re not traffic free, even at 5am, so I have to be careful.
My advice for running in the dark
1. Wear a head torch
Whether you’re like me and running on unlit lanes or are in the bright lights of the city, a head torch is a must. For me, it services two purposes.
- It lights my paths (yes, I know that a bit obvious)
- It ensures I am seen by drivers. This is where using one in towns will help. You might not need it to light your way but it helps you be seen.
I use a Petzl TACTIKKA® + and I love it. It’s certainly not the most powerful head torch on the market but for its price, size and weight it packs a punch. This model has 3 power settings for the white light (I’m on the most powerful most of the time) and a red light setting too. It’s all controlled via a single button on the top. Some reviews slates it’s build quality and suggests it’s not waterproof enough in the rain, yet I’ve used it in rain and snow and it’s never failed me.
2. Wear high visibility clothes
I know this is obvious but you’d be amazed at how many people I see out int he dark not wearing it. I will admit that I don’t always bother either, but I should. A simple running gilet isn’t going to cost you much cash and it’s well worth it. Of course, you could go for a bright rain-proof jacket, hat, gloves, legging, shoes – the whole works if you like.
The old rule of be safe, be seen really is spot on advise.
3. Tell someone where you are going
Just in case, it’s a great idea to let someone know the route that you intend to take. If like me, you often don’t plan a specific route this can be a pain but well worth it if an emergency should arise.
4. Don’t forget your dog
Duke runs with my almost all the time. When I take him out in the dark he wears an orange flashing collar so that he is more visible too.
More advise for running in the dark
I’m afraid I’m not good at taking my own advice. I often run in dark clothing, don’t tell Helen where I will be going, and do other daft things like wearing my headphones. But, you adapt advise to suit your needs – don’t you? Take the headphones thing. At 5:30 am, on very quiet country lanes there is little chance of me coming across a car. I’d probably notice the headlight before I heard it anyway. Plus, nature can be freaky and the headphones block out the pheasant squarks and rustling in the undergrowth!
Now that winter is really setting in you might want to check out my 8 tips for running in the snow.