7 tips for more motivation and safety when running in the dark

Running in the dark is not for you?

It doesn’t have to stay that way.

In this article I will tell you how you can keep up with running training in autumn and winter.

You will also receive useful equipment tips.

Both will help you stay tuned!

Running in the dark – a must for those who stay tuned

You will surely notice it even if you look out.

The days are getting shorter and shorter and the change to winter time has now “stolen” another hour of daylight from us.

If you have normal working hours during the week, you can hardly get a run in daylight.

Now you can maybe switch to the weekend, but then you will become a pure weekend athlete faster than you can say time change. That would be a shame if you have regularly unwound your 3-4 weekly units.

And even if you are just at the beginning: You need the flexibility to be able to do something sporty for yourself during the week.

To make it easier for you in the future – especially when it comes to running in the dark – I have collected valuable tips for you here.


Light not only helps you find your way when running in the dark.

Of course, it also helps other road users to see you better.

You could just go for a run with your smartphone and the lights on, but that wouldn’t be very convenient.

I prefer to run with a headlamp myself.

Alternatively, there are now also lamps that you can put on as a kind of chest strap and that you wear in front of your body.

The advantage of the headlamp: you can easily shine where you want to see something by moving your head.

The advantage of the breast lamp: the lamp wobbles less and often feels less annoying when walking in the dark.

So you have to decide for yourself what is more important to you.

I am happy to give you tips on which products I can recommend to you. If I had to get a new headlamp, my choice would be the Petzl Tikka. With a full 5-star rating on Amazon, 3 light modes and also a built-in red light and a very long burn time, it is top. The grip on the head should also be very good.

Petzl, Tikka, Black, E93AAA

  • Reflective elements; Compact; Protection class: IP X4
  • Low weight; Broad cone of light
  • Luminous color: red, white; Lighting range: 60 m
  • Three lighting modes; Burn time: 60 – 400 h

If you prefer a lamp for your chest, I can recommend this running light from SGODDE *.

In my experience, the headlamp holds especially well when I have a hood or headband on. And that’s in the dark – because when the nights get longer, it gets colder – usually the case.

By the way, I now also use the headlamp when I walk through town because then I’m more visible there too. Above all, I think it’s great when I’m out in the open in the dark, that’s where it really makes sense.

I prefer to save forest runs for the bright time of the day.


Using a headlamp when running in the dark is good.

It’s even better if you also use reflectors. Because they make you clearly visible from behind and from the side.

Most reflectors are unfortunately impractical or just ugly.

Just think of the classic safety vest that you know from the car. Most of the time it is way too big and flutters around you impassively, especially if you want to run with it in the dark.

I therefore started looking for alternatives last winter and found what I was looking for.

With these adjustable full-body reflectors, you can keep your casual running clothes on and don’t have to destroy your outfit with an XXL high-visibility vest.

Regardless of whether from the front, back or from the side – you are always very clearly visible to other road users.

I don’t run without these reflectors anymore!

Route selection

Another important factor for safe running in the dark is the choice of route.

Some routes are better, others less.

But that also depends a lot on you.

I love to run, for example, on clearly laid out dirt roads or bike paths, but preferably in the dark so that my headlamp can shine my way nicely.

As already mentioned above, I find forest runs a bit too scary at night, I don’t have to have it – besides, many animals are nocturnal and they certainly want to have their peace

Mann, Laufen im Dunkeln, Reflektoren, Stirnlampe, Kleinstadt

Running in the dark – yes, definitely with the right equipment.

I also really enjoy running through the city, especially in autumn and winter when the streets are relatively empty.

But of course both have other security aspects that you need to consider.

Tip: Only try out routes at night that you have already run in daylight. This has the great advantage that you already know the terrain and are therefore not so easily surprised by tripping hazards.

Keep your eyes open when choosing the route, there is only one thing left to say!

Running partner

One of the best tips to make running in the dark more comfortable and safer for you is a running partner.

Additional benefit : If you have an agreed appointment, it is also more difficult to cancel. That gives a decent motivation boost that you can certainly use well over the long winter.

Any fear you may have about running in the dark is quickly slowed down by a running partner.

Important: Ideally you will find a running partner who is a good fit for you in terms of fitness level. Especially in winter it would be bad for you or your running partner to always run in the red area.

In the cold season, basic training with a rather low pulse should be the order of the day. This also helps you to prevent infections from occurring in the first place and strengthens your immune system.


Be sure to take your smartphone with you on your run to be on the safe side.

If you should twist your spine or injure yourself in any other way, it is really worth gold.

To transport my smartphone during runs, I prefer to use a wristband that I attach to my upper arm. My latest from VUP is no longer available at Amazon. Here is a comparable bracelet from Bone Collection *.

The smartphone is now one thing, but which apps are useful when it comes to running in the dark.

First of all, there is Strava. The standard tracking app of my choice. I use it to track my bike tours and runs and I like the segment function with which I can measure myself against others. In the paid version, Strava also offers some security features, such as the fact that you can send a location to another number via SMS. This person can then see your current location via a link.

If you don’t have much to do with tracking, the “Share location” function built into WhatsApp is sufficient. Here are instructions on how you can use this function to share your location for a certain time when you start your run.

The Zombies, Run! app is an insider tip for runs in the dark. I got to know and love this app a few years ago. So if you need motivation to collect a lot of running kilometers even in the cold season, you should definitely download it to your smartphone and try it out.

What is the app about?

You are one of the few survivors of the zombie apocalypse and as a “runner” you are responsible for getting items for the base. The problem: if you get these items, zombies keep sneaking up on you, which you have to detach by running fast over a few hundred meters. The whole thing is garnished with a great story (in English).

From not running to three runs a week – that would never have happened without this app. The app continues to motivate me, the consequences are still exciting and really well done. Zombies, Run! User review

You can find more information about the game on the website.

What is important to me when you run with headphones: You need your ears to support your eyes in the dark.

That means: never run at full volume, only so that you can also hear noises from the environment.

That increases your safety enormously!

Protective equipment

Before we turn to the actual protection issue, we should also briefly talk about the right clothing.

The onion principle with breathable clothing has proven itself best for me: So put on a few layers on top of each other. As a rule of thumb, when you leave the house, you can be a little cold at first. This is quickly compensated for by running. If you go out of the house so that it is still nice and warm outside, you have probably put on too much and will regret it later during the run.

But let’s get back to the right protective equipment …

No, I don’t mean a crash helmet.

And I don’t want to paint the sore muscles on the wall either.

Mann, dunkel, Stirnlampe, Reflektoren, Läufer

Unfortunately, a lot has already happened when running in the dark. Safety comes first! With the tips from the article you will increase your safety and motivation in the cold season.

But one thing is already clear: especially as a woman who jogs through dark alleys alone in the dark you feel safer if you have some protective equipment with you.

This can be a small pepper spray, for example, that fits in any trouser or jacket pocket. Or a piper, with which you can make a lot of noise.

Ultimately, anything that gives you more security is an advantage.

If you are afraid, look for a running partner in any case – too far you are much stronger and you will also enjoy running in the dark.

The last alternative is tip 7.

So in case all battleropes should tear.


You have now received a lot of really good tips so that you too can have fun running in the dark in the future.

But maybe it doesn’t work for you one time or the other.

That’s why I’ll give you tips on how you can do your running training in autumn and winter without too much darkness:

  • Become a morning athlete
    Depending on when you have to go to work, or which errands are pending, you might still make it in the morning for a small, day-light run.
  • Use lunch break
    If you have a shower at work and an understanding boss, maybe you can too Use the lunch break for a run or extend it a little and add office time in the evening.
  • Go to the gym
    Of course you could also go to the gym and do your laps there on a treadmill. But while you’re there, please do regular strength training.
  • Do bodyweight training
    With the right exercises, you can not only do strength training in your own four walls with your own weight training, but also proper endurance training – as a temporary replacement for running, so to speak.
  • Equip your home gym
    If you have enough space and money, you may want to buy your own treadmill for your own four walls in question.

Whatever you decide: If you integrate strength training twice a week and endurance training twice a week – for example by running – into your everyday life, you will be faster than you can say running in the dark on the be the best way to get really fit forever!

Conclusion and summary

In this article you have learned everything there is to know about running in the dark.

Nothing stands in the way of a successful running season for you in autumn and winter either.

Here are the tips for running in the dark again briefly summarized:

  • Run with a headlamp
  • Run with reflectors
  • Choose your route carefully
  • Find a running partner
  • Install useful apps and take your smartphone with you on the run
  • Think about whether you need protective equipment and if so, get it
  • Think about alternatives and use them when you think they are necessary

In summer I always see a lot of people running. I’m one of the few in winter.

I would be happy if you soon can see you armed with a headlamp and reflectors as a motivated “dark runner” on Strava, Instagram or anywhere else.

Do you need more motivation to finally get started? Then read here about the weaker self and get a lot of additional motivation here.

In any case, I hope you enjoy your runs!

If you have any questions, feel free to ask them in the comments.

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