Running in the dark

In the dark

Now that the nights have really drawn in and it’s dark not long after 4pm, most of us are running at least some of our weekly mileage in the pitch black.

Of course, many of us take the sensible precautions such as high visibility clothing, a head or chest torch and other types of illumination such as shoe lights. Indeed, many running groups look more like a moving forest of Christmas trees than a bunch of runners!

But how many of us think about improving our vision or our unconscious ability to lift our feet? Even with the best head torch and street lighting it is still easy to trip over a bump in the pavement or a misaligned curb. And the trip hazards are aplenty when running in the forest or other traits.


Eating carrots

So what steps can we take to improve our ability to run at night – eat more carrots? Erm… not quite – although I do believe there is some truth in that… More importantly, the first thing we can do is work on our peripheral vision. We can then look to improving our proprioception. I’ll deal with proprioception in the next article, as I want to help you with your peripheral vision first.


Peripheral vision

The reason that this is so important is because our peripheral vision has a huge influence on our lives:

  • Fall risk
  • Dealing with stress
  • Environmental contrast
  • Reading ability
  • Decision making

The more we can improve our peripheral vision, the better and safer we become at activities like running in the dark.

So what are the first steps? A great place to start is this YouTube video by Z-Health’s Dr. Cobb:

To be extra helpful, I’ve created an infographic of his 6 steps to better peripheral vision. You can download this here.

There is also a Peripheral Vision Awareness chart here and Dr. Cobb’s multi-size font chart here.

Next time I’ll delve into proprioception Where we’ll not only learn what is but how it can help us with running in the dark.


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