Five Tips for Running and Walking in the Dark

by Coach Stephanie Atwood

Does running or walking in the dark freak you out?

Working out with a group creates safety even in the dark. Photographer unknown

Are you afraid you might fall?

Are you concerned about what’s lurking?

On cold, black mornings and evenings, that stay dark until many of us start working and become dark before we leave the office, we are faced with a dilemma; work out in the dark, head inside to exercise, or skip it. Two of those options will receive an OK from me and one doesn’t cut the mustard.

If you choose to work out at the gym then excuses should never be an issue.

My personal preference is outdoors whenever possible but this has to be tempered with reality.

Here are some tips to working out outdoors in the dark:

  1. Join a group or enlist a buddy to work out with you. There is safety in numbers and the more the merrier.
  2. Get a good flashlight or headlamp and make sure you have batteries that are charged. It takes some getting used to moving quickly in the dark and accepting a limited range of vision to work from, but a good flashlight will give you ample illumination to move comfortably.
  3. Most people will slow their pace or shorten their stride in the dark to allow for less of their senses filling in details. This just makes good sense when your vision is limited. Your feet need to be more attuned to the surfaces they’re touching and given a bit more time to interpret the results. Bumps and breaks don’t always show up when you’re only seeing black and shades of grey so feet have to take on additional work.
  4. Arms also need to be at a bit more attention, meaning that they will be working just a bit harder. This is to allow for a change of balance when your brain is working with information that depends on eyes less and feet more.
  5. Wear reflective clothing – shoes, gloves, jackets, pants, and hats all come with reflective strips and will up your visibility to others, especially cars. There is nothing worse, as a driver, than to see a pedestrian darting into or out of your car’s path, at just the last moment.

The Bay Area has a climate that accommodates working out almost every day outside. We are blessed with decent weather and beautiful places to exercise. With a little planning and some common sense you can have the benefit of fresh air and open space to enhance your exercise regimen. What could be better?

originally published at

by Coach Stephanie, Bay Area Women’s Fitness Writer and Founder of Go WOW Team

Coach Stephanie Atwood M.A. has been running and coaching for more than 3 decades. With certification from US Track and Field, Road Runners Club of America, National Academy of Sports Medicine and more she is truly a professional in her field and has helped thousands of runners achieve their goals. As Founder of Go WOW Team Coach Stephanie offers opportunity for each woman to find her athlete within and push those boundaries to see just how far she can reach.

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