I set out for a run a few mornings ago, around 6:15 a.m., still very dark. And I was terrified. Of what? I guess the dark, the unknown. The street lights didn't provide much light, and my normal running path has a stretch with barely any light (maybe 80-100 yards).
For those of you who run in the early, dark morning hours, what gets you through? Am I the only one scared? I wouldn't even turn on my MP3 player, because I had to hear everything around me. I'm not set to do this again until I can gain more confidence.
Thanks for any thoughts or advice.
I run in early am (5:30-6:00 am)and it can be very scary at first. I found that after a few runs there was a routine to the activity around me. I would strongly advice not to run with headsetsYou will need to be aware of your surroundings, such as traffic and undesirables. But remember these are also things you need to be aware of when running by yourself during the day. Invest in a reflective vest, and carry a phone in case of an emergency. Other than that you should get over the fear after a few runs.
listen to your instincts. if it's a dark place to run maybe find a better route or find a running partner. not trying to scare you into not leaving the house again but you should listen to the little voice in your head when it tells you something is wrong
goals for 2011:
break 19minutes for 5k
break 2:42 for olympic triathlon probably Anthracite olympic
break 3:16 for marathon ( a long shot but it's fun putting yourself out there)
All good advice above.
I've run for many years in the early morning dark. It's much more difficult in winter because of black ice on the road and even during the summer there just seem to be more critters lose to give me a scare. But it's a great way to start the day and I don't have a lot of flexibility to run during or after work.
I also don't have money for a treadmill and my gym doesn't open until 6 a.m., which is too late for me. Nor do I have friends willing to meet me at that hour. So, I created a small loop around my house in which I'm never too far from home. It would probably look strange to anyone during the day, because I'm essentially running a .5-mile loop over and over, periodically reversing direction. But I can't see the scenery at that hour anyway. I feel safer and it has the advantage that a bathroom and water stop are always nearby.
So much for the great outdoors huh? I'd suggest wearing a blinking light since the reflective piping on shoes isn't that reflective. It won't help you see better, but it'll help you be seen.
I am a minority so if the police see me running in the dark they shine the light on me. Some people let there dogs chase me, so i have to carry protection. I wear my mp3 player to block out the ambulance and the traffic. Most of the police know me by now, so I don't get harrassed anymore. However when they hire a rookie, its the big light shinning on me. I run anyway!
In addition to the suggestions here (reflective vest, no headset, finding a better lighted path, etc) I would say that you should vary your route as much as possible. That would help foil any bad guys who might otherwise notice that "Hey...That person comes by here every morning...I'll just wait around this corner tomorrow." Nobody likes to think about that stuff and you can't live your life in fear, but making your routine as unpredictable as possible can increase your safety.
All of the above are good suggestions. I would also recommend running with a dog - yours or a neighbors. Mine runs out in front of me and "leads the way". Also I know people would think twice about accosting a runner with a dog.
i find myself worrying sometimes when i run in secluded places at night. i think to myself, later, that my worrying was silly, but when it happens, it is quite real and overpowering. maybe it was something i read about in the paper or something someone had told me about, a mugging or whatnot. i'd have a much greater chance tripping over a root or getting spayed by a skunk, but you couldn't tell me that when it's happening. just remember those feelings and if you don't want them to happen, then stay places you don't feel that way.
I have to run early because the heat where I am is incredible once the sun comes up. I never really considered the fear thing because the track is far from the road, and I run with others. I would recommend finding at least one running partner, and go to a low traffic area.
A body was found in the woods right by where I take my pre-dawn runs on farm roads, and of course there are bear, fox and bobcat potentially mere feet away from me at any given time. I carry pepper spray which may or may not do me any good but, oh well. A neighbor who runs the same route once came face to face with a bear, but still says she feels safer there than her native downtown Baltimore. I've gotten used to my neighborhood, and the little knot of fear I still feel in the darker places provides a thrill, and a reason to speed up, turning my run into a light fartlek. Call me crazy! Michelle
I have done a lot of running in the early morning when it is still dark outside. Like others suggested, do wear reflective clothing and no headset. I also felt it to be a little bit scary at first, then I got used to it. I do run alone and do not venture in isolated areas. I also carry a pepper spray with me. Once you get adjusted to the lack of light, you might enjoy the peace surrounding you as you run into the dark.
Good luck with your running.
During my pre-dawn runs, I run alongside a wooded area where a body was once found. The murder didn't occur there; it was just the dumping site. Bear, fox and bobcat are out there too. I carry my pepper spray. I figure, what the heck, I'm probably, statistically speaking, safer there than in my car on the highway. A neighbor who runs the same route says she'd take isolation over running in her native downtown Baltimore any day. I've gotten used to my neighborhood, and I rather like that little tickle of fear that I feel in the darker places; it's a thrill. I tend to pick up the pace in those spots too, making for a sort of "Fear Fartlek Workout". Now, I've just gotta remember to wear my orange hat when deer season starts.