Running Alone In The Dark….

I haven’t had the pleasure of running in the morning for quite some time.  Shortly after the marathon last year, we moved Mr. Michael into a “big boy” bed.  The idea was that I had been spending a lot of time in the rocker sitting beside his toddler bed and I was EXHAUSTED.  So we moved the lil man into a full size bed, which we put on the floor cuz he was so tiny and I feared he would fall out and get hurt.  During the bed swap I prayed that he would have the space he needed to stretch, turn & flip throughout the night without waking but apparently that wasn’t the real problem.  He really just wants his momma with him all the time.

So for the last 6 months, I have been floating between beds, half asleep, confused,  and not sure where I am when I awake.  I just follow the screams for “momma”.  This has left zero very little time for morning runs.  Frequently, hubby has to wake me up because I’m still sleeping in Michael’s bed when he leaves for work.  Not good!  But things have been changing over the last month or so.  My lil man is sleeping til about 5:00 or 5:30 am before he bullets out of bed to start his day.  And most importantly, he is sleeping for longer stretches at a time.  Good, Great, AWESOME!  So I decided to try to start adding the morning runs back into my routine. 

How do you feel when you haul your ass butt out of bed to run alone in the dark?  Are you scared?  I am!  I never used to be but dang, with each year of age, I think I develop a bigger pile of nerves.  Thankfully I live in the middle of nowhere so traffic isn’t an issue.  We don’t have any a lot of creepy people roaming our country roads, so basically it’s just me, the coyotes and any unleashed dogs that decide to give chase.  Ugh!  I’ll take the coyotes before those biting dogs any day! 

There weren’t many stars out this morning but everything was clear and still frozen.   Thankfully I had the light of the moon since I couldn’t find my knucklelights.  The road was actually well-lit with this lopsided moon. 

I tried not to focus too much on the moon since I didn’t want to fall into a hole, or off the side of road, while obsessing looking toward the sky.  So I just tried to focus on running an even pace in the middle of the road.  I have a default pace when I’m tired, grumpy, can’t see, scared or it’s dark:  9:30.  I’m pretty sure that my pace for 4 miles this morning was a 9:28ish.  That’s my pace.  My comfort zone.  The spot I go back to when everything else is uncertain.  Running in the dark is very uncertain.  So many things can happen.  I wouldn’t recommend it.  However, if you are trying to get more time out of your day and need to run in the dark, here are a few tips:

  • Be aware of your surroundings at all times.
  • Don’t use an ipod and if you do because you too hate hearing coyotes kill other creatures of the night, then only use on ear bud and keep the volume low.
  • Run against traffic so that you can see the drunken madman swerving all over the road and be prepared to dive into the ditch.
  • ALWAYS assume the vehicular traffic CAN NOT see you.
  • Wave to cars like a happy idiot as they pass you.  This will foster a sense of community between you, the runner, and them, the driver.  They will start watching for that “idiot runner” when they are driving to work.
  • Take your cell phone.
  • Tell somebody your intended route or leave a map by hubby’s coffee pot.
  • Avoid routes with unleashed  aggressive dogs/pets.
  • Always trust your gut feeling, if it feels wrong it is wrong.  This FREQUENTLY changes my route. 
  • Carry pepper spray or something with which you are comfortable using if you need to defend yourself.  I like the Wrist Saver from Personal Savers, they have a pink one now!  Here is a pic of mine:

Check out the link HERE on how to defend yourself with pepper spray!

  • Wear reflective clothing, multiple items.  I don’t even buy clothing without reflective accents.
  • Use a headlamp or KnuckleLights.
  • Be ready for anything.

Ideally, it is always safest to run during the daylight hours and with a friend if possible but as a mother, wife, full-time employee, runner & triathlete, that’s not always possible for me.

Do you any have any running in the dark tips?  Anything I missed?  Help me out!

Happy SAFE Running!                                                                                                 Amanda – TooTallFritz

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17 thoughts on “Running Alone In The Dark….

  1. I run a lot at night in the winter alone. It’s a scary place! Not only because of crazy people but because you can’t see where you are stepping very well! It’s easy to fall in a hole or trip! I love that wrist band pepper spray! I must get one of those!!

    • I have fallen in little holes before & twisted my ankle. I try not to “worry” about it happening again but I do try to be cautious. I’m a ground watcher too so when I trip, fall or step in a hole my initial reaction is….. How did that happen? LOL!

  2. If it is dark when I run, Libby goes with me. I am not sure she would fight to the death for me but having even a little pitbull running with you seems to keep the strangers at bay

  3. Oh…. I remember the zombie stage where you hop between beds. Exhausting! I stick to the major roads in the dark, which I hate. And do a lot of the things you mention. Even in the daylight someone always knows my approximate route and the time to expect to hear from me upon my return.

    • We didn’t have the zombie stage with our daughter, she was a hard sleeper from the very beginning! It was hard to get her down but once she fell asleep all was well. Each kid is different; it’s amazing!

  4. Great advice! I often run in the dark, and probably should be more scared than I am, but I live in a big city and feel pretty safe. I don’t usually listen to music when it’s dark out, and if I do, it’s VERY soft so that I can stay alert to what’s around me.

    • Don’t we all feel safe in our environments? I too feel very safe but I still try to be aware that anything can happen. We also need to remember to vary our routes so that the same people don’t see us at the same time every single day. I think I forgot to add that to the list.

  5. Even with all the lights and gear, i can’t make myself run in the early am before the sun comes up. It’s just too scary where i live in the city. Thats why i actually don’t mind the sun coming up at 5:30am during the height of summer! :)

  6. Thanks for the great suggestions/advice about running in the dark. More recently I became more nervous running in the dark, but still do when it is only what my schedule will permit.

    • I think (hope) it’s natural to be nervous. I try not to let my fear trump the need to get out there and move but some days it’s hard, particularly when the coyotes are howling or yapping as I’m trying to leave my driveway!!!

  7. Good list of reminders! I try to keep my ID on me (it could be the only way that they identify you, god forbid!) as well as some money. While the $$ come in handy if you need a drink on a long run, I’ve also considered it “collateral” if you get mugged…

  8. great post! I went running in the dark yesterday morning and got spooked by a bunny! ha!! I have an ID information tag that attaches to my shoe, it gives me a little sense of safety and it’s hard to forget when always kept on my running shoe!

    • I have 2 different pair of trainers that I switch between. I think I just need to get a second one for my other shoes so that I don’t get “lazy”.

      And bunnies & squirrels and ANYTHING that moves gives me a jump too. Then I laugh at myself for being such a scardy cat!

  9. Pingback: Safety 1st, 2nd & 3rd….Plus Giveaways | TooTallFritz

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