Somehow, I seem to have turned into a morning runner. And somehow, I seem to have turned into a girl who gets up pretty early to run in the dark and I LOVE it. I’m not quite sure how that happened but as mornings get darker and daylight runs get rarer, I thought I’d write a little ode to the dark runs!
I must confess that my dark runs are not particularly early. I set the alarm for 5.30, have a cup of tea and head out at 6am. It’s very dark at 6am these days but still warm enough to get away with just a vest top/tank top and a skirt.
When I started writing this post, I turned to the Queen Bee of dark running, the lovely Erin who somehow I have still never met. (If you don’t read her blog, you should do!) I knew she had much more wisdom on dark running than I did and I wanted to pick her brains. Erin runs VERY early due to her family schedule, leaving the house at 4am. I’m in awe!
So, in conjunction with Erin…here’s the low-down on Dark Runs.
Dark Mornings vs Dark Evenings
For some reason, I generally cannot get on with evening runs. Erin runs evenings/night time occasionally if necessary but I really struggle to be motivated. Once evening comes, especially if it’s dark, I just want to hunker down with my boys, drink some wine and pretend to study whilst I actually surf the web. I am definitely on Team Mornings!
Things we love about dark runs
- Watching the sunrise. There’s something incredibly magical about starting off in the pitch black and watching the sky slowly start glowing brighter and brighter. I’ve seen so many beautiful sunrises since I started morning running. Magical.
- Seeing the lit-up places. I love running past the fire-station, brightly lit in the darkness and I also like seeing the lights of the (still locked) bathrooms in parks. I like seeing which houses have lights on as people wake up. I like running past the dog-parks and watching the dogs tearing around at some ungodly hour.
- Being able to wear shorts or a skirt and not bother shaving your legs. No-one sees stubble in the dark!
- Pressing the button at the crossing and seeing the newly installed super-bright crossing lights start flashing and sparkling. Makes me oddly happy.
- Having the town more or less to myself. There are people around – generally old people out for their morning constitutional – but mainly it’s just me and the other morning runners.
- Having your run done EARLY!
- The lack of guilt about taking time away from your family!
- The endorphins definitely make me nicer in the mornings to my family.
Things we like…less
- Bathrooms are closed. Generally this is fine but I do have to plot routes around the few open bathrooms that I know of at petrol stations, gyms and supermarkets JUST IN CASE. Erin lives somewhere with a bit more nature – I’m jealous!
- Getting up is never fun. Getting out the door is never fun. Once you’re running, generally it’s fine!
- I don’t get to listen to podcasts or music so all I hear is my puffing and panting.
- The risk of tripping and falling on uneven pavement or being hit by a car.
I’m very lucky that my town is super-safe but I’m still aware of the risks of early morning running. Being attacked is unlikely but let’s never be complacent – Erin suggests meeting up with a friend or taking a dog. My cat Charlie is unwilling to run with me so that’s out for me, but company is by far the best way to keep safe. Some women do carry mace (which is illegal in the UK so makes me feel VERY badass even owning it) but neither of us have done that so far. The time may come…
A bigger threat is falling over or twisting ankles so I have to watch where I put my feet more carefully than usual. Erin uses a head torch – she recommends the Black Diamond Sprinter headlamp which is rechargeable via a USB port (hurrah). My roads are pretty well lit, so I don’t do that.
The other risk is being hit by a car. Erin summed it up beautifully – ‘don’t be a ninja’. Yes black is universally slimming and doesn’t show the dirt, but it’s NOT a good option for night running. Dark colours are also NOT good ideas. Wear all the neon, wear all the bright colours… and we both wear some stuff to help us shine out.
This little thing attaches to my waist band and flashes on and off and I adore it! If you click on this link (not an affiliate link) there are some awesome shapes at the moment – I rather fancy the pumpkin and the ‘Elsa blue’ snowflake ones. It’s $10 and makes me feel pretty safe.
Last week I invested $18 in two very bright lights for my front and back. I’ve worn them a few times and feel MUCH more visible and safe! Inexpensive and pretty fab.
Reflective wrist bands
Click here and you can get 5 for $9. Super-quick and easy to wear and they could save your life. I wear them on both wrists like wonder woman.
My reflective vest is a bit clunky so I tend not to wear it. I really want this one for $16 which looks a bit cooler. Kind of.
If I had loads of money, I’d get this New Balance Glow Vest. Santa?
(No affiliate links. Just clunky normal links to stuff I like)
So…summing it up…
- if you can get out of bed, morning running is the best.
- sunrises rock.
- plan for emergency MRPs*.
- don’t be a ninja.
Thanks to Erin for all her pearls of wisdom!