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 running in the dark
Runworks 2005 5M Racer
San Francisco, CA
Joined: 26 Nov 2004
Posts: 1157

running in the dark Posted: Tue Oct 11, 2005 9:30 pm 

Do any of you do much running in the dark? I've been doing a bit of pre-dawn running the past few weeks, and I'm not sure how paranoid to be about lighting and reflective gear. So far I've been wearing a reflective vest and a blinking LED light. They hopefully do a decent job of helping me be seen, but they don't help keep me from stepping into potholes. I got an LED headlamp today that I plan to try on my next dark-time run, so hopefully that will help. Anyone else have any suggestions for seeing and being seen?

Runworks 2005 5M Racer
Joined: 09 Dec 2004
Posts: 222

Re: running in the dark Posted: Wed Oct 12, 2005 11:08 am 

I run at night in the winter and it's dark. i avoid car traffic as much as possible and am extra cautios about following street signals, etc. when i am in traffic. i run mostly in a sporatically lit running path along the lake and haven't figured out yet how to avoid the potholes. i've never tried the head light though or reflective clothing, so i'm probably not being very safe. what about safety from, say, an attacker? i know i'm not comfortable with my girlfriend running alone at night. fortunately, neither is she so she hits the treadmill in the winter.


South Orange, New Jersey
Joined: 19 Dec 2004
Posts: 367

Re: running in the dark Posted: Wed Oct 12, 2005 3:42 pm 

I often runi in the dark either during early morning or late night. I too wear a reflective vest along with two flashing red lights that I hook to a flourescent yellow belt. One flashes behind me and the other flashes in front. I tried to avoid wear dark clothing. My neighborhood route has street lamps and they help me a bit avoid the pot holes, sticks, and dips in the road. I've been considering getting a head lamp too but can't quite decide which brand/model would be best. I'm eager to hear which one you've purchased and how well it works.

Runworks 2005 5M Racer
San Francisco, CA
Joined: 26 Nov 2004
Posts: 1157

Re: running in the dark Posted: Wed Oct 12, 2005 9:03 pm 

Ah yes, light colored clothing is important. When I'm driving at night and pass by other walkers/runners, I'm always surprised at how hard to see they are, but the ones wearing dark clothing are just about invisible. I always wear a white shirt for my pre-dawn runs. I think the reflective vest makes most of the difference, although it does look pretty dumb.

Bricks, I can't actually say that I ever even thought about the possibility of getting attacked. I guess I figure that most crazy killers are asleep at 5:30am, and even if they were out, I've got nothing to steal. Of course with that kind of mindset, I may just be asking for trouble. I rarely see anyone on these morning runs except for dog walkers and other runners.

So my new headlamp is a Petzl Tikka Plus. It has an wide elastic strap that keeps it mounted pretty firmly on my head. I had no troubles with it moving around during today's 10 miler. I previously tried a Petzl Zipka, which uses a thin retractable cord to mount on your head. The Zipka was too loose, and slid off my head right away.

I was surprised that even with the Tikka on its brightest setting, I still found it difficult to see well. It's not so much that there wasn't enough light, but that it didn't illuminate the right areas. When I adjusted it to light to area closest to me, I couldn't see potholes coming soon enough. But when I adjusted it to point further down the road, it wasn't as bright. And no matter what the setting, everything had a peculiar flattish 2D look to it. Even though I could see the road, I couldn't quite tell where the pavement rose and fell. I think thas was partially due to the angle of the light coming mostly from above, producing little to no shadows that could serve as depth cues.

On the whole it was still certainly better than nothing, but I couldn't imagine doing a backcountry trail run during the night wearing this thing. I'm sure I'd trip on a rock and break my neck in the first half mile. :-)

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