Tuesday, November 3, 2015

FALL BACK

Well, on Sunday morning, we "fell back."

Standard Time, that modern invention that hurls us back into darkness, reared its ugly head for another six months.

For a small percentage of runners, Standard Time buys a few extra minutes of light for early morning runs, but those precious moments will soon disappear, as the earth tilts farther from the sun (at least in the western hemisphere).

But for a large majority of runners, from now until the Winter Solstice of December 23, daylight hours will become shorter and shorter, and an after-work run will be conducted largely in darkness.

We're not going change Standard Time or the tilt of the earth's axis, so we need to deal with the dearth of daylight in the safest and most efficient manner.

First, keep in mind, it's more dangerous than ever out there on the roads. There's more traffic, and many, many more distracted drivers, Mobile devices and other distractions take drivers' eyes away from you, making your miles treacherous under the safest of conditions. Take every precaution to remain very visible when you run. That means wear bright, reflective clothing, shoes, hats, and gloves. Just the other day I received a message from a non-runner who complained about a runner wearing dark clothing, running on a secluded road, at 7:00 p.m. I think he expected me to defend the runner. I didn't. It is our responsibility to protect ourselves out there.

Adapt your workouts at this time of year.

Some of you are in your final weeks of marathon training. Others may be training for Turkey Trots or Christmas races.

Taper your miles back a bit and rest for a few weeks after your last big 2015 running event. Then, as the days get slightly longer as January progresses, pick up your mileage again.

Save the long runs, and/or quality workouts for the weekend. Utilize the  light and stay safe. Remember, it's not only traffic, but other hazards that lurk in the dark that can cause sprained ankles, nasty falls, and torn muscles.

Of course, always face oncoming traffic, and on those days when the pavement is slick or snow-covered, enjoy the frosty conditions, but limit your courses to the safest possible routes.

We love to reduce boredom when we run, but for the next several weeks, if you're running in darkness, stay close to home. A couple of loops won't kill you.

Finally, yes we enjoy our music, but be very careful with those headphones. Darkness is a major impediment, and to remain safe, you need all your wits and senses to be keen. Let someone know where you plan to run, or keep a cell phone handy.

Common sense, a bit of adaptation, and patience will get you through the darkness.

Practice all three and you'll be good to run another day.