View Full Version : Exercising in the Dark

01-05-2006, 07:44 PM
There’s not much daylight these days and those of us who enjoy an outdoor workout are often stuck doing it after dusk or before dawn. I’d love to hear from those of you who insist on running, walking, etc. in the dark. What factors do you use to evaluate the “safety” of your route? What sorts of things do you consciously or subconsciously seek out/avoid? Have you had any bad experiences that you haven't had during daylight?

Thanks so very, very much!

01-05-2006, 08:48 PM
I would think density of muggers would have to be high on the list. ;)

01-06-2006, 03:58 AM
I would think density of muggers would have to be high on the list. ;)

no, i only work in daylight

September skies
01-06-2006, 04:00 AM
I have a friend (he's a doctor) who will only exercise (jogging) at night because he does not like to be seen in shorts.

01-08-2006, 04:44 PM
My mother and I have gone round and round about this subject. She belives once it's dark, thare is nothing you need that badly. I say, sometimes I need my soda. :)

I walk on well lit areas and only my nieghborhood. I tell someone when I left and when I will be back. I take my cell phone, and asked to be called in case I'm not back when I should be. Try to go with someone if it's at all possible as there is safety in numbers. Wear neon color clothing, so you will be easier to see.

I was more likely to walk in the dark when I was younger the I am now, because I'm more aware of the dangers.

01-08-2006, 08:19 PM
Actually, there's nothing wrong with exercising in the dark so long as you're in a horizontal position. ;)

01-08-2006, 08:31 PM
Haha! I've exercised in the dark for the winters of about 20 (aii!) years and do I have stories to tell!

To the first part of your question, safety is job one of course. When going for a run I wear light colored clothing with reflective gear and travel on very well-known paths, normally neighborhood roads and sidewalks. No headphones, ever, night or day, and lately, I've carried a cell phone, though its bouncing in my pocket annoys me. Oh, and I tend to vary my routes and times, just in case some nut is keeping tabs. As I've aged, I have discovered that the lights of on-coming cars really incapacitates me so I simply stop and step onto the grass, period. If the car stops too, I immediately start walking to the nearest occupied house and then stop to look at them. They usually move on at that point.

When horseback riding in the dark I must also consider my horse's safety (oh, and yes, riding IS great exercise and just grooming a muddy horse burns about 350 calories) so I wear a helmet and try to keep the workout simple as my horse is afraid of snake-like shadows (the shape of hooves on arena gravel). We walk around the farm roads and stop to listen to interesting sounds and trot when the mood is right and the moon is helping. Net result: he trusts me without question and is in great shape.

Weird stuff: Once when running (I'm 5' 4", proportionate weight) I came across another night runner loping in the opposite direction. He was over six feet tall and very thin. When he came into view under a street lamp I nearly screamed because he was a mummy! I'm totally serious. He was wrapped in a wide, dirty bandage from head to waist with a down vest thrown over his back, face and arms completely wrapped, the end of the bandage trailing off one arm. You can bet all that sprint training came in handy! Once home, I called the police and the cop said "Oh him, the Mummy Guy. We know him, he's harmless, ma'am. Creepy looking though."

Fear: I don't really worry about being out alone at night except when on horseback, but even then, someone knows where I've gone and when I should return. I try to remain aware and see myself as the hunter, not the hunted. Obviously, I don't go if the neighborhood is bad or unknown. When possible, it's great getting out there and enjoying the peace and quiet of the night! I suspect I've run my best times in the dark.

Hope this helps!

01-08-2006, 08:57 PM
If you work out where there are cars, visibility is very important. You need both light-colored clothing and reflective strips or a reflective vest over all. If you're on the street or a sidewalk/path immediately adjacent to the street (without a grass or other 'island' separating it from the street), I agree, step off as each car approaches. Be aware that you can get hit by a car turning in at a driveway, so step onto grass or other non-paved surface as a habit.

If you work out where there are no vehicles, after dark there are far fewer other people. Your safety level is greatly reduced by the lack of numbers. Carry a cell phone, a whistle, a single car or house key with no identifying tag. Sad to contemplate, they'll identify you faster if you carry ID in or on your shoes, which are rarely stolen. (Good jackets sometimes are.) A business card under the insole works.

In both circumstances, no headphones after dark. You need to hear vehicles, bikes, and other pedestrians before they're where you are.

If there's any possibility of snow or ice, footing becomes an issue. In winter, you need to keep your eye on the surface. Having your head and eyes down means you can run into things at the level of your face. (Your dentist will begin repair of your broken teeth way before your doctor can fit your broken nose into his schedule.)

Maryn, who never saw the sign

01-11-2006, 11:11 PM
Thank you so much for these responses. I must admit that Cyberwraith’s post makes me want to change the focus of this article from running safety to “Mummies Living Among Us”. That may have been the oddest anecdote ever—and a cautionary tale about running, if I ever heard one!