I do most my running in the dark. Either before sunrise or long after sunset. As a busy dad, husband, and employee, running at any other time is difficult without unwanted compromises. So, I get up early (or stay up late).
Now, many people have written about the advantages of running early in the morning. However, far fewer have written about an equally important topic.
How do you run in the dark without falling flat on your face?
Over the years, I have tried many solutions. Below is my rating for each solution as well as one bonus option. For all the options, please make sure you still wear reflective clothing. Shoes, shirts, and an added running vest have worked for me.
1. No Light
It is actually possible to run without a light. After a few minutes, your eyes adjust. The light of the moon and stars often create just enough light to safely maneuver. I have run without a flashlight in campgrounds before led only by the background light of the universe – it is pleasantly liberating. That being said, if it is cloudy or moonless, it’s just plain dark.
My solution for many years. I ran with a Black Diamond Headlamp – the same kind you might see with hikers or campers. A headlamp casts a strong beam several feet in front of you. Even the darkest paths are sufficiently lit to anticipate upcoming obstacles and footing.
Personally, the main drawback was the headlamp bouncing at speed. At tempo speed (nonetheless strength or speed workouts), it was typically easier to carry the headlamp in my hand.
3. Hand Torch
My current solution. My running coach brought this solution to my attention. I ran with the Nathan Zephry (see picture below). It has an LED light, hand strap, and rear blinking red-light.
Even at higher running speeds, this light works. It simply moves in tandem with my arm swing, lighting the way forward. With the hand strap, there isn’t much effort required to hold the lamp.
The main drawback is on the backswing. There is period of intermittent darkness that you do not have with the headlamp. I supposed if you had two hand torches that would solve the problem.
4. Knuckle Lights
This is what I want for Christmas. No bouncing. No intermittent darkness. Recommended by several of my running friends. These seem ideal. If any readers have used, I would appreciate your thoughts on whether they are good as I think they must be.
There you have it! I hope everyone has a Happy Halloween! And, if it gets too dark while Trick-or-Treating, you know what to do...