I prefer to run in the morning. Not early morning, but usually when there’s light out. While I much prefer the temperatures to autumn and winter, I prefer the light in an early spring or summer morning, but running in the dark during winter? Nope.

And yet, here I was, on a cold and blustery Thursday morning, willing myself to go and run. I’ve tried several times to run back home after work but it wasn’t for me. Traffic is quite heavy so I’m too busy watching out for cars to really enjoy the run and the backpack I have isn’t suited for running. Also, after a long day, I just want to go home and chill.

earlymorningrun2feb17So this morning I decided to out for for a run. Ok, so it wasn’t quite dark. My fear of being attacked while I’m out running has kept me from lacing up my shoes. So as a compromise I went out when the sun was starting to rise, so the sky was greyish rather than pitch black.

The run this morning was a kind of breakthrough. It was a step towards facing my fears about running alone in the dark as a woman. Yes, the dangers are very real and I do take every precaution to keep myself safe: stick to lit roads, wear visible clothing, wear lights, no headphones, run with ‘resting bitch face’. I don’t want to be held back from doing things I really enjoy because I’m afraid of being a woman in a (dark) public space. It’s a balance between doing the practical things to keep myself safe vs. actively avoiding certain activities because of imagined dangers.

So when I went out this morning to run, it was a bit of a reality check. The run itself was really good. The roads were quieter, there was quite a lot of street light lit and the sky grew brighter and brighter as time passed. I found I could relax into my run and let my mind rest. As a road runner my mind doesn’t really wander because I’m always aware of my surroundings, and in limited light I don’t run with headphones as a rule, but during this run my mind could rest! It made for a lovely start to he day. So, while I’m not completely comfortable running in early hours when it’s dark out, after today, it’s not as scary as I thought it would be.

Image my own, post run, just with armbands turned off!

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