As winter arrives, it becomes more and more likely that some of your runs will take place in the dark. If you’re a road or sidewalk runner, for the most part you can utilize streetlights to see your way. In the countryside, a full or partial moon may be enough. However, when you hit the trails, you need to think about bringing your own illumination, bet it a flashlight or headlamp.
Flashlights and headlamps vary widely in weight and brightness, and come in a variety of light sources, such as halogen, fluorescent, LED (light-emitting diodes) and conventional tungsten light bulb. These types of lights range in brightness, energy efficiency, durability and cost. Some units allow for adjustability in brightness and intensity of focus, others come with rechargeable battery packs, are water-resistant or waterproof, and still others offer multiple types of light sources. A flashlight has the benefit of being pointed in any direction desired, but must be carried. A headlamp is hands-free, but the head must be turned to light up the sides of the trail.
Combining headlamp and hand-held flashlight gives greater depth perception. The combination of light angles can highlight trail obstacles, remove some of the shadows cast by a single light source, and helps find trail blazes.
Another, more unusual option is to acquire a sternum-level light or wear them a light on the waist.
Road or trail, in the dark it pays to see and be seen -- be safe out there!