By Su Reid-St. John
With daylight saving time ending this weekend, many walkers and runners will soon find themselves pounding the pavement in the dark. And while morning exercisers wants to get a bit of a boost from the lighter sky, it will not last long.
I've always preferred exercising in the fresh air, whether it's dark or light. Before my daughter was born, I worked out in the evenings; now, I do it super early in the morning as I'm going through the time my husband leaves for his teaching job. Well, I'm used to working out in the dark. Here's what I've learned about staying safe:
Be visible. Wear at least one major reflective piece (I'm talking about a vest, jacket, or belt, for example-that tiny silver logo on the ankle of your black running tights is not going to do the job). This way you'll be on the road. Do not have one? Click here to read about my favorite after-dark workout wear. And even more visibility, clip a flashing light onto your waistband.
Go against traffic. If the driver does not come to see you. Leave your iPod at home. [1
Carry your cell phone. You hate to think there's an emergency, but let's be realistic: It happens. And if it's dark, fewer people want to be around to help you. Make sure you have your ID with you, too (I love my RoadID wristband-no need to pull my license from my wallet and hope I'll remember to put it back). Another idea: invest in a travel stix, a nifty credit-card-size flash drive that stores your medical and contact info.
Buddy up. Not only is it safe when two people are running together, but having a workout is a great motivator too. It's not easy getting yourself out there at the crack of a dawn or after a long day at work.
And hey, the whole thing is not so bad. Think of it this way: No need to worry about what you look like!