It's crazy how fast the shorter days/longer nights crept up on me. It wasn't that long ago (it seems like a couple weeks ago, but it's been a bit longer) when I was leaving the house in the dark and returning with a beautiful sunrise behind me. Those beautiful sunrises are now happening 90 minutes later, as I leave for work, which means I'm spending more time in the dark (than in the daylight hours) logging my miles.
That's not all bad.
I live in a somewhat small Iowa town (population is just over 10,000). Although I'm comfortable running in the dark, there are numerous things I do to ensure I'm safe. I respect that everyone has their own level of comfort when it comes to personal safety, and not everyone lives in an area as conducive to being outside in the dark as I do.
While these tips are not all-inclusive, they are working for me as I continue with my training for the Route 66 Marathon:
1- Be seen. High-viz colored clothing (white, yellow, lime green, etc.) are ideal. Some clothing has reflector strips, and most running shoes have them as well.
There's a plethora of accessories available to use as well... Knuckle Lights, ViziBelt, clip-on head lamps, etc.
|Knuckle Lights in my hand, ViziBelt on my waist|
3- Run a familiar route. I have several routes of varying distances, but I try to stay fairly close to home when it's dark outside. Also, I try to utilize well-lit streets. I live a few blocks from our college's main campus...and there are street lights almost every 20 feet. The central campus sits on a span of several blocks, and it's an approximate mile in distance around the circumference...often times, I just do several laps around this area.
5- If you can, do bring a friend! Occasionally, I can persuade my friend, Barb, to join me. Trust me, the two of us are quite a sight with our blinking lights and belts in the wee dark hours!
***Have a phone with you (for emergencies)
***If you listen to music (like I do), have the volume low, so you're able to hear your surroundings
***A subtle way to "be aware" without looking scared is to watch the road for shadows. Ironically, the more street lights, the more shadows you will see (in every direction)
***If running in the dark is just not your gig, then stay inside. It's not worth the anxiety.
I'm linking up with the DC gals (Mar and Courtney and Cynthia), for their grand finale on their awesome Friday Five link-up. Please head over and check out their blogs, as well as all the other linked blogs.