Running in the Dark


After a bit of a break, I thought it was time to bring back my Thursday running posts.

With the change to standard time, the sun starts to set before I even leave work for the day, so I have to choose between running outside in the dark, and running on a treadmill.

Last week was beautiful in Calgary (it was above 0C – I can’t turn down a run if it’s warm out!) so I went outside to run on Tuesday and Thursday and it was awesome. I run in a safe area, along commuter pathways and am probably passed by 25-30 cyclists and a dozen or so runners on a run, so I felt quite safe.

That said, I’m always safety conscious, so before talking about how to dress for the chillier weather (that’s coming next week!), I wanted to address safety when running in the dark.

My two biggest concerns are 1) being seen and 2) being able to see, so I make sure to wear clothing with reflectivity and I also take a running light with me.

photo (66)

This is what I wore on Thursday. Yes, I wear my light around my waist. It slips and bounces when it’s on my head and I can’t stand it, so I wear it around my body. Yes, it looks dorky, but when given the choice between being safe and looking dorky, I’ll pick dorky.

I received this light as part of my entry in the Energizer Night Race and it lights up in red (for when you don’t want to blind people) and white (for when you want to see the pathway).

I also received my awesome Newton BOCO AT’s and they are very reflective.

photo (67)

This is actually a colour photo with flash of the backs of the shoes – the white areas are all reflective, so I know if someone is coming up behind me, they’ll be able to see my shoes 🙂

photo (68)

They also have reflectivity on the front of the shoes. When I looked down, I was able to see my lamp glinting off the reflectivity at the front of the shoes.

Even with my reflective shoes and my headlamp, I feel like I’m lacking some visibility on my body.

I’m super impressed with New Balance’s line of High Visiblity clothing – check out the this video of their awesome jacket and shoes!

While all of the cyclists I’ve come across have lights on their bikes, very few runners I saw were wearing and reflective year and even fewer had a head lamp. While parts of my pathway have street lamps, and there aren’t any cars to contend with, I think it’s important to err on the side of being visible and cautious. The pathway isn’t always level and I can be a bit of a klutz, so I want to make sure I don’t trip over a branch (or my feet!) when running.

On Sunday I attended #runchat on Twitter and someone (I can’t remember who) said the following: if you don’t look like a Christmas tree when running in the dark, you’re doing it wrong. I couldn’t agree more! (If it was you, leave me a comment so I can link back to you!).

Tell me: do you run in the dark? What do you wear to make sure you’re visible? Do you look like a Christmas tree?

Note: for anyone super concerned about my safety, I also picked up pepper spray over the weekend to carry with me as well.

Update: Jessica at rUnladylike has some awesome tips for running in the dark as well!

8 thoughts on “Running in the Dark

  1. I’d say I do two-thirds of my running at night. In the summer I need to wait until sundown so it’s not as hot, and then standard time puts me at dusk or in the dark after work. My shoes are reflective, my winter running gear has reflective bands (though not a ton), and in the summer there’s my pasty white skin to alert people to my presence.

    I’m running in my neighborhood, so lots of streetlights and I feel personally safe. There’s no through traffic, so it’s minimal cars and very few bicycles. However, there’s a side path I like to follow sometimes that has no lights and could be icy in the winter, which I wouldn’t see without a light. So maybe Santa needs to bring me one. Have you looked at different brands, or tried out any other ones that you didn’t like?

    • I have another headlamp that’s a bit smaller than the Energizer one, but I can’t remember the brand, so I’ll double check when I get home.

      If you wear a hat when you run there are also clips you can put on the visor of the hat – or if you wear a headlamp and a hat that’ll keep it in place better. I have a small (or maybe it’s oddly shaped) head, so most headbands won’t even stay put for me, hence the around the waist look 🙂

  2. I love that quote about looking like a Christmas tree! That made me smile. Thanks also for sharing a link to my post on National Running Safety Month. Be safe out there in the dark! You’re looking good in all your gear 🙂

  3. Hah! I look nothing like a Christmas Tree. Where I run, I have a 4 – 6 foot wide path and it’s well lit. So I don’t do any running on the road. I have to do my runs after dark and I pretty well hate it, but I don’t feel unsafe. The only thing reflective is my neon green shoe laces. But it doesn’t matter since cars don’t drive on the sidewalk. And if one were to stumble up there, chances are that no amount of reflective gear would help.

  4. My tip is run against traffic. You get the headlights but you can see what’s coming. You can go to Canadian Tire and get rolls of reflective strips, some are Velcro ones. I have my nice new running room jacket with the “hello! Here’s my butt” V on the back.

    • Yes! Running against traffic is a great tip!
      I’m super thankful I don’t have cars to deal with – just bikes and other runners. If I had to contend with cars, I’d probably spend more time indoors.

  5. Pingback: Friday Faves | Cowgirl Runs

  6. Pingback: Running in the Cold | Cowgirl Runs

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s