Growing up on an island in the Pacific NW, I always biked to and from school, in winter months coming and going during the dark. It was no big deal. Later, in college, I continued to bike and run in dark, rain or shine. Forty years later, I still jog in the dark, but no longer bike in the dark because I am afraid of not seeing a pothole in the road.
If my exercise is not done before 7 AM or so, it is not going to happen. There are no demands on my time at 5 - 6 in the morning. Thus, I jog in the dark 10 months out of the year in the early morning. I avoid gravel roads because I might slip or fall into a pothole. I run in a rural, country area so only have to watch out for an occasional car coming by. I want to be visible to traffic, so I have worn a reflector vest I purchased at a contractor's store about 35 years ago. Two years ago I splurged for a bikers bright fluorescent colored wind/ water resistant jacket. I am told I am quite visible to oncoming traffic. I wear a headlamp around my head, a more recent addition and one not really necessary, but it helps me see the road and sidewalks when present. I also wear a flashing light armband on one upper arm. I've been told I light up like a Christmas tree.
As I seldom run in the city, I have little to add to safety for a woman jogging alone. Almost no experience with "bad boys" out there trying to get me. But, even in the city I still jog in the early mornings with little traffic, and most of the bad guys have gone to sleep.
When in an unfamiliar area, I ask the hotel desk staff for information about safety on the streets and maybe a local map with suggestions where to go to avoid most of the traffic and to be safe.
Have fun with dark running! After forty years of it, I highly recommend it, Just be safe and smart. Sunrises are the best, since most people miss them!
9/24/12 1:33 P
I run in the dark at night. I am running in my neighborhood which is pretty safe and well lit with streetlights. I run at night for a few reasons- mainly so no one sees me! I'm still pretty chunky and slow, and just feel better that less people are around to see me schlepping down the road, LOL. Also, here in Arizona during the summer, working out outside in the daylight is almost impossible due to the heat. It sounds like you are in a pretty safe area, so I would think you would be fine. I agree with the other posters that suggested reflective clothing and pepper spray if it is legal ( and even if it isn't!). I myself couldn't exercise without tunes, so if you like me have to wear headphones, just make sure you are paying attention to your surroundings. Also, I would suggest scoping out your route in the daytime just to make sure there there are no areas of uneven pavement or other obstacles that could trip you up in the dark.
9/24/12 12:22 P
I run and bike in the dark. If you're going to bike in the dark you definitely need to get a flashing white light for the front of your bike and a flashing red light for the back. For running, depending on what the road is like you probably want to wear non-dark clothing, reflective gear, or a light. I don't wear any reflective gear or lights, but I run on the sidewalk and it's well lit.
As far as safety I have never felt unsafe exercising early at night or in the morning. I just make sure that I'm aware of my surrondings and exercise common sense. I don't see any reason to worry about safety beyond that.
Fitness Minutes: (197,897)
9/24/12 12:20 P
I run before daylight 5 days a week. I wear bright colours, but don't carry my phone, pepper spray (it's illegal where I live) or wear headphones. I run in places that are very deserted, and I feel safe because I figure no one is going to be out to get me, randomly hiding in a bush at that hour. I did get chased by a random weirdo last week, but I outran him easily..and it was near businesses that I could have ducked into if it had been necessary.
I run before daylight twice a week. My dog goes with me, and he and I both wear flashing red led clip lights. I also just got a running hat that has built in led headlamps. It is made by New Balance and its awesome for running in the dark. If you're worried about animals, you could tale pepper spray. If you're in a low crime area, you should be fine. Take your phone in case of an emergency.
Fitness Minutes: (963)
9/24/12 9:56 A
The best time for me to workout is 4:30-5:00am, which is always dark. I do DVD's inside because I am hesitant to walk, run, bike in the dark. Am I just being paranoid? I live in the country and would be on a country road surrounded with corn fields. What are the pros and cons of working out in the dark? How did you get over any apprehensions at first?