Running in the Dark

This morning, after finishing up a shorter run, I realized that I suck at running in the dark. It’s not that I’m scared to run in the dark (although I used to be) or that I run slower (I actually run faster) it’s just that I am totally unprepared for anything that could happen.

Take today for instance. It was chilly when I woke up so I put on my running tights (black no reflector stripes), a long sleeved tech shirt (also black with dark purple panels), and my running shoes (blue, red, and black with no reflector stripes). With me I took my watch, my keys, and my iPod. I didn’t have any identification or my iPhone with me and Ian was fast asleep at home with no knowledge of what route I’d run.

Now I am usually totally fine and nothing strange happens to me but I’m not sure it’s worth taking that chance anymore… weird and scary things have been known to happen to runners. Plus, when I’m running in the morning most stores and businesses are not open, if I’m uncomfortable or feeling nervous there is really no where for me to go.

Here are some basic things that can be done to improve the safety of your early morning/evening run?

  • Try to run in well-lit areas as much as possible. In Chicago, most parts of the Lake Shore path are pretty well-lit. If you’re running on streets make sure to run against traffic.
  • Be visible- this means wear a reflector vest/headlamp at all times. Also wear brightly colored clothes.
  • Always carry identification and a cellphone.
  • Vary your routes and/or run with a buddy.
  • Listen to your instincts, if it doesn’t feel safe to run in a certain area don’t run there.

In terms of how I plan to make my morning runs safer, I’m going to finally purchase a Road ID so that I always have identification and emergency contact information with me whenever I’m running or cycling. Also, I think my mom might also have an old reflector vest that I can steal. I like to run early even during the winter and given that my running jacket is black, having a neon vest might be a good idea.

Do you run in the dark? How do you make sure you feel safe?

This week has been mentally exhausting. I’m not more tired than usual but feel wiped out by the end of the day. What gives? Hopefully the weekend will reinvigorate me!