By Lauren MacDonald
As I’ve mentioned before, I love colder weather. When September comes around I rejoice in the cooler mornings and evenings. Most runners I know despair at the coming of winter, its lack of light and cooler temperatures. I, however, rejoice in the brisk air and as the thermometer lowers, my mileage gets higher.
In this new season, however, I’ve run into an issue I’ve never had before—running in the dark. For the past few years, I’ve been able to run at lunch time when the sun is up (even if it’s hidden behind the clouds). But with big changes in my life, I’ve been needing to get up at 5 a.m. to get my run in three days a week. And as a result, I have to admit something I never thought... I’m starting to wish for summer again! The complete lack of light in the morning (and the evening) has seriously been cramping my style.
My light-less running hours have given me a run for my money and I’ve made some adjustments accordingly. First, I’ve had to add more color and reflectivity to my wardrobe. Prior to this fall season, all of my favorite running clothes have been black or in dark, muted colors. While I own a few highlighter yellow tops and jackets, they have always been the last thing I’d reach for; now I wear my highlighter yellow wind breaker almost every day.
Secondly, I am much more aware of the route I choose to take. I am blessed to have grown up in an area with plenty of sidewalks, streetlights and safe streets. While where I live now is not unsafe, I have to be more careful to plan out routes that will keep me on well-lit streets with sidewalks that aren’t too isolated. This rules out some of my more common running routes and forces me to be more creative on how I get my miles in.
Despite all of this, I am still loving running in the dark; it just presents a new set of challenges that I have to overcome. As I wrote at the beginning of the year, consistency has been my goal for 2017 and while there have some bumps in the road, I am keeping my eye on the prize as we enter the winter and 2017’s holiday season.
Although my new schedule and the encroaching darkness makes it more difficult than anticipated to stay consistent, I am reminded of what my college coach always says “Strength rejoices in the challenge." In the face of this challenge, I’m planning my routes, wearing my brightest colors, lacing up my shoes and staying strong!
What about you? How are you coping with the dwindling hours of light? Want a safe running atmosphere even as the days get darker?
Join Fleet Feet Sports on Tuesday evenings for Dusk Runs. It's a great way to run in the evenings with other people and we'll have vendors on hand at each run to try out different products to keep you safe and happy while running in low-visibility environments.