Running Outside in the Dark

We’ve made it to Thursday! Hope your week is going well so far- and that for those in the path of the upcoming snow storm, that you’re prepared and ready to hunker down! I won’t lie, Mark and I are fortunate to have planned a trip south for the weekend! I do love a good snowstorm, but I’ll take the Miami heat for now!

I have switched up my running schedule a bit this week and have traded morning runs for after work runs. After a long weekend of running later in the day, I’ve found it tough to adjust to waking up at 5:30 am- plus, the evenings have been a bit milder than the early mornings!

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I have also mixed up my routine a bit and have run half inside, half outside. I live three miles from work, so run-commuting is relatively easy if I am prepared!

  • For Tuesday’s workout, I ran 5 miles inside, 3 miles home- all easy pace.
  • Wednesday’s speed workout, I ran a two mile warmup, then three X 1 mile at half marathon pace (7:41-7:47 on treadmill), and finished the workout by running home at an easy pace.
  • Tonight I’ll either split up the run or just take it all outside- it depends on the temperature!

Same path, different seasons:

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If the temperatures aren’t unbearably cold, running outside in the dark can be a great way to mix up winter runs from boring treadmill workouts! Let’s face it: until daylight savings, we will all be forced to deal with darkness- so better to tackle it head on.

There are many tips for safely running outside, but here are the tips that I follow:

  1. Invest in the right gear. Wear bright and reflective clothing. Wearing/carrying a light is best.
  2. For winter running-layer up with appropriate clothing! I wear running tights, long sleeve thermal shirt medium layer zip, and light outer jacket. I also cover all extremities with gloves, headband (reflective), and also wear a neck warmer. For more information on what you should wear while running, check out this helpful site:
  3. Run with friends if you can!
  4. Don’t listen to music- it’s too distracting and you will need to rely on your senses more in the dark than during the daylight hours.
  5. Run in lit areas- sidewalks are key! Pay attention to your surroundings and icy paths.

rsIMG_2153My favorite reflective headband, purchased @runningwarehouse.com.

Running in the dark can be daunting, but also can be rewarding if done right. You have to find your motivation. So, sign up for a race or write down some other goals that you can look at when the sun sets so early and you need some extra inspiration to get out there!

What are some of your winter and night-running tips?

Are you a fan of working out in the morning or evening?

What motivates you to run/workout?

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15 thoughts on “Running Outside in the Dark

  1. I just posted about the darkness too (and that I’m kind of over it). :) I have a friend going to Miami this weekend as well. I will be equally jealous of all people getting to spend some time in a warmer state with some sunshine!

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  2. I’m definitely more of an early morning runner–I like getting it out of the way first thing, because once I’m home from work all I want to do is park my butt and relax! I totally agree on wearing reflective gear and ditching the headphones–I don’t listen to music unless it’s light outside. I’m not really competitive with others, but self-competitiveness motivates me. I like pushing and challenging myself!

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  3. I used to bike home from work at 3:00 am. I felt it somewhat spooky hearing all the noises around me so I decided to listen to music. I got home faster than I ever have. I realized I was even more spooked by not hearing everything around me. I honestly thought I’d just spent too much time in law enforcement, but now you make me feel more normal.

    I am a fan of working out at whatever time of the day works, but I am not a morning person, so I’d rather wait until daybreak. My motivation is my health, but I enjoy being out doing things. While it isn’t exactly working out, I enjoy being active.

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  4. Morning, day or night all offer different things when it comes to running so I try to take what they give me. I generally work out earlier in the day though.

    I’m currently running in the am (getting up at 4:30) so I can squeeze in an hour or so before the girls get up and I’m off to work. I don’t care for the dark.

    I recommend layering in the winter. Multiple layers you can adjust are better than bulky layers you might get stuck with. Stay reflective and carry a light.

    I don’t listen to music and I recommend people don’t, but if you must keep it low. You need to hear what is happening around you day or night.

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  5. Love the pictures.

    When do you find yourself most motivated to run? I find I enjoy morning runs but can never work up the motivation to actually do them. Most of my running happens in late morning or early evening, but even then – I never feel like there is a time of day when I feel most excited to start my run.

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  6. I love running outside and early morning. But my best tip for winter running is that no matter how much reflective gear you have on, many drivers will still not notice you (to include when you wear some pretty fun flashing light attire), so be prepared to yield right of way to the vehicles. You may even have to stop and let them drive past depending on the road conditions, so try to choose roads that have a decent size shoulder, instead of a road with a ditch instead of a shoulder.

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    1. Thanks so much for your note- I can’t agree more! I do like to think that pedestrians sometimes have the right of way, but that isn’t always the case particularly in the dark. Have fun out there!

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  7. I’ve also been running at night more lately because it’s so cold and dark in the morning! There are also many walkers in my neighborhood at night, so in an attempt to avoid startling people, I make my footsteps louder (stomping, if they aren’t getting the message) as I’m approaching.

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  8. I prefer morning runs. I am most energized then. I do love running in the dark tho. I noticed that when I run in the dark, it seems easier. Perhaps it has to do with depth perception so things don’t seem as far away. A trick I do when I want to listen to music, but need to be aware of my surroundings is only using one earbud(my right). Personally, I prefer listening to nature and taking in everything. I save the listening to music when I’m doing track workouts. If you are going to run in the dark, try to stick with a place that has activity, especially if you are female. Also, let someone know where you will be running and about how long you think you are going to be. I have a reflective vest I wear for night running. I never assume the driver of a car sees me, I step off the road if there is no sidewalk to run on.

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