Facing the dark days of running | SierraSun.com

Facing the dark days of running

Peter Fain
Running on Dirt

As our days get shorter, so does our time on the trails and#8212; sort of. Early mornings are still good because there is typically good enough light outside by 6:30 a.m., and the afternoons are good as long as youand#8217;re finishing by 6:45 p.m. or so.

Then thereand#8217;s the headlamp.

Running in the dark can be exhilarating and nerve racking at the same time. Iand#8217;m not really a fan because I have an over-active imagination, and sometimes I can scare the crap out of myself for no good reason other than itand#8217;s dark.

Once I get past that, trail running in the dark is a completely different experience. My two points for running in the dark are be prepared by bringing a headlamp and know the trail youand#8217;re running.

Often the whole reason you end up in the dark is because youand#8217;ve gone for a longer run than expected or you were pushing your luck with time. Either way, headlamps these days are so light and unnoticeable that itand#8217;s a worthy investment for your growing running gear collection. When you shop for one, make sure to always try it on to see how it feels. And check out the light it puts out. Youand#8217;ll want a good flood that illuminates your periphery.

The trail you choose at night will determine how fast you get to run. Avoid technical trails. Managing your footing can be difficult enough with light, so thereand#8217;s no need to risk a rolled ankle. Trails Iand#8217;ve recently mentioned make for good evening runs, the Alder Creek Trail and the Emigrant Trail going east from Highway 89. Both are in really good shape.

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Fun trails like the Animal and even Loyds Trail are a bit torn up right now. Motorcycles have been enjoying the rides, too, and lots of loose, softball-size rocks are all over the place. Then there are fire roads. Take your pick.

Everything on the trails is different at night. Your senses are more in tune and there are sounds you donand#8217;t really notice during the day. Speaking of which, there have been a lot of deer out recently, so you may run in to a few.

and#8212; Peter Fain is a local trail runner who competes regularly in regional trail races and snowshoe runs in the winter. He may be contacted at runondirt@gmail.com.