There are only so many days each week that I can run on a treadmill. It’s good to get some fresh air and spend some quality time exercising with my two tandem golden girls at my side. I find that I am able to zone-out easier in the dark, as I have no visual distractions other than my running.
First and foremost, your #1 priority should be safety… then fitness! Putting yourself in a dangerous situation and/or getting injured is not worth attempting any workout. Here are my tips to having a safe and successful night run.
Run in a familiar, safe location. Knowing where you are – especially in the dark – is important to prevent that you don’t get lost. If you need to rack up the miles, consider running a loop route (it’s not like you will get bored with scenery that you can’t see).
Wear appropriate clothing for the weather. You’re more likely to run outside in the winter if you are wearing clothing that keeps you comfortable and warm. It’s for this reason that investing in the right clothing is worth it. How’s that saying go? There’s no such thing as bad weather, just poor clothing choices.
I always try to layer up. I start out cold in my runs and may eventually get too warm. It’s nice to just be able to remove a scarf and zip down a pullover top to maintain a comfortable body temperature. I love my thermal running tights, and sometimes I’ll double up in extreme cold temperatures.
Make yourself visible. In addition to wearing appropriate clothing for the weather, it also needs to be appropriate for nighttime running. Consider a neon-colored or reflective windbreaker to layer over your thermal wear.
Get yourself a headlamp. This not only makes you visible, but it allows you to see where you are going. With winter conditions that include snow and ice, you will want to tread carefully to avoid injury and you need to be able to see it coming.
If you’re running on the side of the road (versus a walking/biking path) then consider a blinking light to clip your back to make yourself visible from behind.
Skip the headphones. This one may be hard for some people, but running in the dark limits your ability to see it’s probably not a great idea to limit your hearing as well. Plus, headphones aren’t allowed in USAT events anyways so consider it practice for the actual triathlon.
Eat right. If you plan to run around dinnertime, have a snack 30-60 minutes prior to your run. There is nothing worse than that feeling of hunger when you are halfway into your run and the farthest distance from your refrigerator.
Two weeks until tri training officially begins, been talking with Coach Joe and he’s just as excited to get going as me! Stay tuned for updates on my weekly training.
T-262 days until Ironman Wisconsin.