Podcast: Is it safe to run in the dark?

Estimated read time: 8 minutes

David Tominsky, a technical recruiter and runner from Iowa, and myself  are discussing the merits of safety issues of running in the dark.

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Hi there, Christoph Trappe here, MyFitnessTips.org and I’ve had plenty of discussions recently about when to run and if you read this blog, you know that I like to work out in the mornings. I go to the gym 4:45. They open at 4:45. There’s a line and I’m usually getting there right after the line goes through, but one thing I don’t like to do is in the morning, is running outside. I think there are huge safety risks. I think it’s too dark. I can’t see anything. Today, I’m actually joined by David Tomisky who is a technical recruiter here in Iowa’s Creative Corridor. A technical recruiter by day, runner by night.

David: Right, awesome, so yeah, I’m Dave Tominsky. I own a business here called Core TCS. I’m a technical recruiter by trade. I run a few marathons and Christoph and I have been talking about running and when is the ideal to do that. I shared with him that I typically run when the sun has not come up. We figured we do podcast about that today.

Christoph: Well great, he’s our first guest. Thanks for joining us and here’s kind of my thought of why I don’t run in the morning. I used to run early. I get up around 4:00, 3:57, usually and then I headed out and I went on a run in the dark and I had a vest on. I didn’t put any lights on my forehead or anywhere else, but I just couldn’t see anything. One time, I almost ran into a guy who was sitting on the street. I think it was a homeless person. I mentioned it to somebody else one time, and they said where do you live? Have you ever seen any homeless people there before and I said I have not. I don’t know who it was, but there was somebody there and I think there are huge safety risks. I like to run with my headphones, of course. I can’t hear people. People say, “Well, maybe, you don’t have to wear headphones,” but I want to. I just kind of stop running in the dark. I still go on the treadmill at the gym, but I think there are too many safety risks, but David you of course have a different opinion, right. You run in the mornings before the sun comes out.

David: Right, you bet, yeah, I guess there’s a few things that you mentioned that definitely would increase the safety risks and one is running by yourself. I typically run with a partner. I’m lucky enough that I got somebody that’s pretty evenly matched as far as pace is concerned, so run with someone else and then the other thing is obviously when you’re running in any sort of populated area, when it’s dark there’s this safety risk, but also a populated area. When you’re running with headphones, listening to music, listening to podcasts, listening to really anything is fun, but those are things that you have to set aside. For me, I typically run really early in the morning before the sun comes up. Before the kids wake up, we meet out typically have a very typical route that we run and then I run anywhere from five miles to, when we’re training for a marathon, we’ll be running for many hours, twenty plus mile runs. Those are easier for us to start. The earlier it is in the day. Again, running with somebody for me is key and then making sure that you’re fully aware. You have to be fully aware of the world around you and for me I enjoy that aspect of nature. Looking up and seeing the stars is a big deal, and also I think weather related. Training in the summer gets really hard to run outside in the middle of the day. Before the sun comes up, that weather is a lot cooler, yeah, and there’s I mean there’s other reasons too but those are some of the big ones.

Christoph: The other things that I like to actually is running, starting to run right before the sun starts coming up. You have a little bit of light, right, but then you see the sun come up, but it’s kind of tricky to find it the right time. I know locally here KCRG on Twitter, they’ll tell you when the sun comes up. You can kind of time it, but again, I also have a dog, a German Shorthair. He’s now twelve years old, but I think he weighs like seventy five pounds, and somebody said to me, “Well, you can just run with your dog and he can protect you if you’re so scared of somebody jumping you” and it’s not so much that I’m extremely scared of somebody jumping me, but, I mean, I’ve seen the stories, right. Things happening on trails and they have or in neighborhoods and I just want to be wary of my surroundings so I decided that I’m not going to run when it’s dark out, but back to my dog. I stopped running with my dog when I got over three miles a few years ago because first of all he stops all the time, and then secondly, he’s twelve years old I’m not sure he can go much further than four miles anyway, and then of course, I think there was a study or a video at some point they were showing dogs that aren’t trained to protect people, how they protect people and it’s really not that effective anyway. I kind of stopped that entire idea. Take away running in the dark personal choice, right.

David: Yes, certainly, personal choice, I mean, I think that the feeling of accomplishment. I mean, you work out in the morning in a gym. I work out in the morning outside typically and I do think that feeling of accomplishment of getting that workout in early, I mean, I think there’s a lot of studies about just having a far more productive day. Certainly, feeling that the level of accomplishment early in the morning, it is key. I think that, I like the idea of running with pets and I’ve got a Boxer. She tends to run in front of you. If you don’t like running in the dark because of danger that really just adds one more element of danger. It gives you a companion, but it’s something else to avoid running into. There’s dog collars that have lights on them. There’s just one more place you could put a light. I know people that run with headlamps on if they’re running in the dark. I’m not a big fan of wearing those. In fact, one of the marathons that we ran last year was up in Wisconsin and it was called Rails to Trails, and one of the features of the marathon is that you’re running through, I think it’s a three quarter of a mile tunnel. It’s extremely dark. They actually have lamps along the way, but it still remains very, very dark and it’s a smaller marathon just a few hundred people, but you run a single file. It’s dirty. There’s little like dibits in the ground. You got to really be careful, and I think that force you to slow that pace down. If you’re the type of person likes to run for speed, certainly running in the dark makes that far more difficult. If you’re running for enjoyment, like I mentioned earlier, running to appreciate nature is just being out there and listening to the world around you and experiencing it. That’s a key for me. Before the world wakes up, it’s sort of what I’m after.

Christoph: Great, so key takeaways, I would suggest just be aware of potential dangers. Don’t just say, “It’s not going to happen to me,” but think about them. Good point with the dog. I mean, it didn’t even cross my mind. You got a dog in front of you, and you’re going to trip over the dog running there. Just be aware. Take the necessary precautions if you are worried about it or if you don’t want to take the risk.

Working out at the gym, I know sometimes, we call the treadmill, the dreadmill, but it is an option, obviously, if you can’t run outside.

David you have one more thing?

David: Yeah, I just want to point out, I think the other key take away for me is that, I mean, look for some running clubs. I mean, I think that if working out with other people and sharing that experience is good. A lot of things that I do for my career and just around the Creative Corridor is about community. Identifying a fitness community in working out with other people, I think is very helpful. If you’re going to run outside, whether it’s in the dark or light of day, the dangers are out there. Running with other people is helpful. I personally like to keep my groups small, one, two, other people. Some people run in larger running clubs, but look at those fitness clubs that are around and other people that have shared interests and maybe a shared experience level and consider that.

Christoph: Great, thanks for joining us today and keep on running.