Running in the dark?

Hello all. I'm here in search of advice and, probably, a bit of a kick up the backside. Feel free to administer both or either!

Have had a bit of a terrible time of late with my emotional state. I use running to manage depression and anxiety but through a combination of recent events too crappy to go into and the dark evenings I've gone a week with no runs (does me no favours at all!). Decided this cant continue, and on impulse entered a 10k for next weekend to get my *rse into gear. If I don't go out a couple of times this week I'll fret horribly next weekend rather than having what I hope will be a lovely time battering my legs (and the troublesome Black Dog) into submission up and down one of my favourite mountains.

Any tips for winter running when you leave for work and get home in the dark? It's a fell race so I'd really prefer to run off road but don't have a head torch so thinking streetlit pavement might have to suffice?

Jolly me along, folks


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21 Replies

  • I just had a week off due to emotional trauma and family issues, but went out this morning and felt fantastic. 40 mins of peace, calm and watery winter sunshine. Legs fine, breathing fine, actually felt better than when I do it 3 times per week. I carry a little black puppy round with me quite a lot of the time, and there's nothing better than a run for sending him off on his own for a while.

    I can't offer much help about running in the dark because I rarely venture out of the house at all in the dark, but please be careful. I saw some posts recently about super bright head torches - there were some links - I'm sure someone will put one up if they read this. Pavements tend to be bumpy and slopey. If I'm on a quiet village road, I tend to run in the road and get out of the way if I hear a car coming - less chance of going down a dip or hole.

    Good luck with the race!

  • Thanks. Did get out for a beautiful 4 miles this morning and as you say, it always helps. Just think I need to keep my head in the game so I don't embarrass myself at the weekend!

  • Also, oh my goodness self-absorbed alert, so sorry to hear you've had a crap time too. Hope things look up soon.

  • Hi TTF sorry to hear you've been going though it. I'd get some flashing leds and a headtorch and hit the pavements or if you have some playing fields near you try running round them (less chance of potholes). The dark mornings and getting home in the dark make things tough. Might be worth having a chat with your GP to see if they can suggest anything. I have a norwegian friend who uses a lightbox to combat seasonal affective disorder. Well done for entering a 10k - we'll all be virtually cheering you on. Good luck

  • Thanks for the support. I'm looking at head torches but for now I need a 'quick fix'. Sadly I think street lights might be it which is a bummer because I'm a trail/field/hill/mud/woodland sort of girl at heart and Tarmac hurts my hips.

  • I'm with you there tea. I much prefer the woods although the bridle ways are so soft my shoes are covered by the time I get home. At least I have easy to clean legs ;-)

  • Saloman fellraisers are a total treat on squishy hillsides, though a little pricey if you're not harbouring secret wishes to be Joss Naylor when you grow up.

  • Oh Tea, you don't need a kick up the bum at all Good for you for entering the 10k .You have got a goal and a purpose , which is brilliant !

    Just get out there and enjoy it Missus !

    I run in the dark, I just stick to roads with street lights and wear a yellow dayglo running jacket with reflective strips.

    I suffer with the Black Dog too, but running has really helped me, it doesn't seem to yap at my ankles as much when Im running ! :-)

    Good luck to you, we are all rootin' for you ! :-) xxx

  • Thanks. Running really is the best antidepressant there is, I think. Will find something garish and head off under the lights. Have no idea how the 10k will go, but will be with a good friend and it's in a beautiful landscape so can't be bad.

  • Hi Tea Fairy, sorry to hear that the black dog is being troublesome. I am running in the dark now, but I generally go before work as I prefer to run on an empty tummy and also, once I get in from work I go into slob mode and can't get my a*** in gear to go out again! I set off at about 0515-0530 and stumble down my own little unmade close in the dark and then trot randomly round the street lit roads for about 35-40 mins till my 5k is done, by the end of which time the lights on the side roads have come on too. I don't have a head torch but do wear a reflective jacket and some cheap arm bands with flashing red LEDs on (very stylish!). I actually find it quietly cheering running at that time in the morning: I feel more energetic afterwards and slightly smug as most sensible people are still in bed. Even at that time I see the odd dog walker or other jogger, people heading for work and opening up shops. I listen to farming today on R4 and find out about all sorts of things like the English apple industry, fetrtilisers, and raising pigs, and I heartily recommend it! Hope you feel better soon. Good luck with your 10k: I can't imagine running that far!

  • The dark mornings and evenings have brought me to the conclusion that I will probably only run at the weekends for most of this winter, unless I decide to start work late sometimes. But I am self employed and my boss is a bastard....... so I probably won't do that.

    Actually, the therapeutic value of wading through mud, by the light of a headtorch on a cold morning, is much diminished in my mind (after last year's experience) and I think I can survive on one (or two) weekend runs and do not intend to fret or feel guilty about it. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves about running and if we have lofty ambitions then that is appropriate, but for most of us it is not strictly necessary to push quite so hard, once the habit is established and running is part of our lives that we could not live without. I agree with you that running is the best anti depressant going, but self imposed pressure to run is not going to be productive and you should make sure that you enjoy each run that you do. Don't fret about your upcoming 10k run. It is for pleasure and if you will feel better about it by getting out a few times beforehand, so well and good. Otherwise just fit in what you can and relax.

    Keep running, keep smiling.

  • Very wise words as always, Iannoda. I do enjoy reading your replies and advice....

    Regarding your boss, I would complain to your HR Department if I were you. Oh no, wait ....... :-) xxx

  • I there lit sports field near you you can run on ?

  • Can you buy or borrow a head torch?

    Are you on our facebook group?

    I suggest committing to some morning runs ( ONLY with headtorch though otherwise not safe) and you will feel energised the whole day....

    we will be rooting for you, and you will so nail that 10k....enjoy it, thats the main thing......

  • Sorry you have been having a tough time. I haven't got tips for that, but in terms of running, I go out in the dark mornings. I have a hi vis vest and a belt with bike led lamps. I've also invested in a head torch recently. I know it is £££ spent but worth from a safety perspective. Other than that, I probably would stick to well lit areas, as it can be eat to lose footing, even on routes you think you know well. I have, several times nearly tripped on kerbs etc, and that is in dry weather conditions. Rain and snow can change ground conditions easily, especially in the countryside.

  • Thanks all. You're lovely. Will attempt a couple of streetlit runs and report back after the race next Sunday!

  • Head torches can be the same price as a prescription....

    Can you borrow a dog and a waist-belt lead to help you feel safer?

  • I am sorry Tea to hear the black dog is being bad, I also suffered the black dog until running helped me not only get him off my back but then throw him back in the cage and lock it with a huge padlock.......well done you for entering the race that's the first step xxxxx I have always run in the early morning so mostly it's always dark when I run except around the summer solistace when it's light 24 hours a day. But I run roads so since you're off roading I would get thy pert running bum to a manly hardware shop and get yourself a head torch xxxxx

  • Running in the dark can be a bit of a bummer sometimes, especially this time of year - the way I think of it is that the more I run now then the lighter it will be in the summer!! Also when I can, I will try and run in the morning just before the dawn - there is nothing like running and seeing the sun rise - it really gives the whole trip some go out in the dark and return in the light - emotionally and physically cleansed that is of course excusing the sweaty running gear!

  • In the winter I make sure the heating doesn;t come on before I arrive home from work therefore there the house is cold and I am not enticed to stay in it, rush upstair put your kit on and get back out there. keep foused on the natural high you will get at the end

  • Right you, kick well and truely here!!!!!!! You WILL feel better once you go out and just run. I am speaking from experience. I had an 8 week break from running during a change in depression meds- I was just too tired to run. I have been back for a week now and already I'm reaping the benifits. Run on the pavements and stop making excuses. I quite like running in the darkas there are less people and it is more difficult to see just how red my face gets ;-) So, go on out and enjoy it. You will feel better!! Good luck

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