When you’ve got a goal in spring and time is of the essence you can’t skip training in the winter. And alongside the temperamental British weather and never knowing whether it’s going to rain or shine, there’s another aspect that can really impact on your running plan – the dark.
Whether you’re a morning runner or prefer a quick 5K in the evening, there’s no escaping the darker times. Not that it’s a bad thing. Some racing fanatics who have run an evening race or something like Thunder Run will shout from the roof tops about how exciting it can be to run when the sunsets. But of course they’re only saying what it’s like in organised situations. If you’re just pootling around town, it can be a bit more of a hazardous situation.
Firstly, there’s all the traffic you have to contend with. From pedestrians who can’t see you coming unless you say “excuse me” and startle them to cars, bicycles, motorbikes and every other vehicle that seems to think they own the road. The humble runner is just an additional thing to think about on the already congested roads.
Then there’s the personal safety aspect. Unfortunately, we don’t live in Unicorn Universe where everything is sweetness and light. Bad things happen. But you can help prevent them by taking certain precautions. And these include the following options:
- Switch to running at lunchtime
- Only run on the treadmill in winter
- Join one of the amazing running clubs or groups close to you
- Stop running altogether
These all have their benefits, well, almost – although the “stop running” option does mean you can channel all your energy into smashing it at the local pub quiz. Then again, they do limit your training plan and you still have the problem of visibility on the road.
Getting up at silly o’clock to train before work took dedication, motivation and a bit of reassurance on my part to the partner that I could a) see where I was going and b) had a way of him knowing where I was. And thanks to the Zephyr fire torch (£6.99), I was covered. This handy torch meant I could spot puddles in the distance and also attract attention, thanks to the rather loud and ear-piercing siren. The light spurs on my shoes also We also downloaded find my friends on our respective phones and I would text him when I arrived at work.
Fast forward to now and I have whole load of new toys to play with and #FireUpMyRun, thanks to a box. Of course, when I wore all Orion belt strobe light (£10), Pulsar Strobe (£10), Hyperbrite strobe (£13.99) and Light spur (19.99), I looked like a Christmas tree but when have I ever cared what I look like when running. I was also sent a Bandolier (£18.99), which is a reflective vest and a Fire & Ice bottle (£11.99), both of which I’ll probably use at some point. For now though, I’m sticking to the lights so I can be seen far and wide, glinting in the distance like strip lighting at a discotheque.
While the flashing high visibility gear may not stop the darkness, they do add an extra safety element to my training. And for me (and my partner), it’s important to know that when I’m out there, plodding away, listening to the Today programme interspersed with 90s tunes that I can at least be seen.
Nathan products are available at Runner’s Need, Sweatshop and other good sports stores.
How do you cope with running in the dark? Let me know below.