*Courtesy of Run. Crave. Conquer.
As a freeze baby and worrywart, there are many things I dislike about winter, such as driving in snow, getting numb fingers while biking and leaving my apartment in general. I know it’s not quite wintertime yet, but my least favorite part of the season comes early…darkness. Everyone gets a little mopier this time of year, but I think it’s especially hard on runners. Whether you wake up before work or go running after, you can’t win. If you want to run on weekdays, you’re going to have to say goodbye to sunshine. I’ll wear my highlighter-colored clothing and begrudgingly do it, but not before I air this short list of grievances against running in the dark:
1. IT’S HARDER TO MOTIVATE YOURSELF TO GO OUTSIDE.
When it’s sunny and warm, it seems a shame to sit inside, but when it’s cold and dark, drinking spiked hot cocoa and having a Meg Ryan movie marathon sounds grand. Watching You’ve Got Mail for the umpteenth time might not be good for the body, but it’s good for the soul.
2. NO MORE WEEKDAY RUNS ON WOODED TRAILS.
This one isn’t a hard and fast rule or anything, but if you’re a scaredy-cat like me, you probably don’t run your most scenic, isolated routes in the dark—just to be safe. I usually take well-traveled streets on late fall evenings and save the good stuff for afternoon weekend runs.
3. LISTENING TO MUSIC IS UNSAFE.
When you have headphones in, you should always be aware of your surroundings, even during daylight. But tuning out the sounds around you when you’re already less visible to cars is just a bad idea. If you don’t usually run without Beyonce, times will be tough.
4. YOU CAN’T FULLY APPRECIATE THE DOGS WALKING BY.
One of the perks of running is appreciating cute canines—if I see an Australian shepherd, I know it’s going to be a good day. On dim evenings, good luck even sighting a black lab ahead of you.
5. NOT EVEN THE SUN CAN WARM YOU UP.
Sunny but cold days aren’t so bad. Even on a windy day, good old Mr. Sun can heat you up the slightest bit. But not at 6 p.m. when it’s already pitch-black outside in December. You and your Under Armour are on your own.
6. EVERYTHING IS JUST SCARIER.
The screeching brakes of a city bus. A squirrel rustling in the leaves. The sound of a neighbor taking garbage bags into the alley. Natural instincts just make us jumpier when it’s dark outside, and they make me want to cut my runs shorter than usual.
And now I promise I’ll quit whining and make the most of my dark evening runs! But first…YOUR TURN: What do you like least about running in the dark? Or, if you love it, why? Tweet @WomensRunning and @Lwynalek!