Thursday, November 10, 2011

Don't be afraid of the dark

After my post about 10 Reasons to become a Winter Morning Runner, Page from Twenty Six and Then Some asked a very good question - 
"I must admit, my biggest fear and the reason I don't do it is because I'm afraid I'm going to get kidnapped or something!! What do you do to quell that fear?"
And as a woman and also a morning runner, I must admit that is one of my fears too.  Even though I leave notes and let Brian know my routes each morning, if something were to happen, no one would really know.  I could get hit by a car, become injured or be kidnapped and it would be a while before anyone would realize I was missing.

But these scary thoughts shouldn't deter us from running in the morning!  Here are a few things that I do to quell that fear -

Run your routes in the daylight - Become very familiar with your normal routes while it is light out so that it will be easier in the early dark mornings.  It is all about becoming comfortable and if you know that the second house on right has a flag that flaps or a dog that barks, you will be less likely to be scared because you will be familiar.


(If possible) Start your run in the dark and end it in the light - Certain times of year allow for this, usually not in the winter but with daylight savings time this will be possible at least for a few more weeks.  Find out your local times for dawn and sunrise.  For example, if dawn is at 6:26am and sunrise is at 6:56am, start your run around dawn or 6:30am and that way you will start in the dark but end your run when its light out.  That way you slowly ease into running in the dark. 



Wear a headlamp - This provides light for you to see as well as light for motorists to see you so it is twice as helpful.  Being able to see the road ahead of you is vital to making a morning run easier and you are less likely to step in a pot hole or trip over a branch.  It may look funny to wear one but no one is out there anyway to see you.

Run on well lit routes - Even with a headlamp, a dark street can look uninviting to a morning runner so I try to run routes that have street lights or neighborhoods with houses that leave their outside lights on.  If you see a dark street and you feel uncomfortable with it then don't run that way.  I have changed my route many times just because I have a funny feeling and don't think I should run down a certain street - always trust your gut feeling!


Becoming comfortable with running in the dark is a process and often takes time to get used to but is well worth it.  In my 5+ years of morning running I have never been approached by anyone, no car has ever stopped to talk to me or ask directions and I have only scared myself with my own shadow a handful of times. 

But while running in the daylight/afternoon, I have been stopped many times by motorists asking for directions and have cars scare me by honking at me.  The dark mornings may seem scary but usually there are very few people outside and very few motorists on the road.

Happy Morning Running!

13 comments:

Rena said...

When I do get out in the morning, I usually quell my fears by telling myself that scary people come out at night, because they are too lazy to wake up that early in the morning. I think my biggest problem to morning running is that I would just turn my alarm off. It's hard enough for me to get up thirty minutes before classes.

Mon Amour said...

I love all of these tips! I am getting a RoadID too in case I get eaten or something I can then be identified

Elizabeth said...

Great post! I am a morning runner and I hate running in the dark-- but I deal with it. Most of my typical route is through neighborhoods that are decently lit and safe. But when I transition between neighborhoods, there are areas that are not well lit and I am extra careful there.

Kim said...

I like running in the morning, but I now have a work schedule that requires me to be in the office by 7am, so it's really hard. I definitely need to pick up some dark-appropriate clothing and accessories.

Christine said...

Good for you! I live in a very small town and don't like running in the middle of nowhere, not even when it's daylight! I'm scared of dogs and anything else that could chase me. Unless we are a group! :)

misszippy said...

All good tips. I am an early a.m. runner and so face the dark many times during the year. Often I am with friends, but when not, I am uber aware of my surroundings and stick to familiar, well populated streets.

Laura said...

I LOVE early morning running. I always wear my RoadID and always tell my hubs where I am going so at least he has an idea of where I am. If I am really leery....I just so loops around where I am comfy.

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

Great post! I plan on purchasing a head lamp this weekend, not for morning runs but for evening runs. I used to run in the morning but now that i work earlier, I just can't get out of bed at 4:30 to run (I do not have the discipline that you do!).

I never felt unsafe when running in the dark, I think my biggest discomfort was runnign into a wild animal, actually. One time a deer ran out in front of me, and I nearly ran into him, and that scared the crap out of me!

Page said...

Your point about running routes that you already know is key! I'm going to have to man up and get to it this winter! Thanks for the advice!

Cindy said...

great tips! hubs is crazy paranoid so won't let me run alone in the dark, so goes with me. i think he is more scared for me than i am! haha!

Chelsea said...

I feel like I live in a very safe area, so my biggest fear is falling. My headlamp is my #1 piece of gear in the winter.

Molly said...

Once I started running in the mornings, I realized there were so many other people in my neighborhood who run or walk their dogs, so it's nice to know I'm not really alone. : )

destination262 said...

I have often had the same the fears about running the dark. Thank you for doing this post! I think having the headlamp is good idea, and being familiar with your route. I tend to look for routes that are more well lit and try to find a running buddy if possible.