Running In Dark Vs Light

Which One Is Your Jam?


8/5/202318 min read

landscape photo of person walking on horizon
landscape photo of person walking on horizon

Hey there, fellow runner!

So, you're torn between lacing up your sneakers for a pre-sunrise jog or basking in the daylight during your run, right? I feel you!

These days I had the privilege of both running in the wee of the morning (5-6 AM) or after sending my eldest to school (7.30 AM).

Let's dive into the pros and cons of running in the dark and running in the light so you can decide what floats your boat.

Running In Dark

Picture this: it's still dark outside, and you're hitting the pavement while most people are still snuggled up in their blankets. Here's why some runners love the dark side:


Here's why some runners love the dark side:

Empty Lanes

One thing's for sure, running in the dark means you get the whole lane to yourself. No dodging crowds or playing tag with cyclists - it's just you and the open road.

No more slowing down or speeding up to overtake other runners in front of you. You won't have to constantly look out for cyclists either. It's a breath of fresh air to run without any obstacles cluttering up your path.

You know what I mean, right? Sometimes, while I totally get that people love to chat while they're walking, running, or cycling, I wish they'd be a bit more mindful of how crowded the running path can get. I've seen groups of three or four people walking side by side, expecting everyone else to give way just because they're on the path.

It's like being stuck in traffic on a morning commute – not exactly the kind of excitement you signed up for during your run. So, running in the dark not only means a peaceful and solitary experience but also a smoother and uninterrupted journey.

Remember, sharing is caring, and a little consideration can make the running path a much more enjoyable space for all of us. Happy running, and let's keep those lanes open and friendly!

Peace and Quiet

Ah, the serenity of the wee hours! It's like a soothing lullaby for the soul.

In those early hours, you're cocooned in a world of tranquility, with nothing but the gentle symphony of your own footsteps, the rhythm of your breath, and the delightful morning chirping of little critters. It's like a zen meditation session, combined with the goodness of a cardio workout!

I don't know about you, but running in the quiet darkness has this magical ability to draw me into my thoughts and deep contemplation. It's the perfect setting to untangle the knots of everyday worries and ponder on solutions for whatever problems life throws at us. The lack of distractions creates this beautiful mental space to focus and introspect.

And here's an interesting thing: Have you noticed how our brains seem to work better when we're in motion? I can't explain it, but there's something about the rhythm of running that sparks creativity and brings clarity to our thoughts. It's like the gears in our minds are lubricated, and the flow of ideas becomes smoother than ever.

You know what's even more fascinating? There's scientific research that supports the positive impact of physical exercise on cognitive functioning. So, while we're out there, basking in the peaceful darkness, we're also giving our brains a fantastic workout!

It's like hitting two birds with one stone – rejuvenating our minds and bodies in the tranquil embrace of the morning run. So, embrace the peace, let your thoughts flow, and watch your mind flourish as you embark on your early morning cardio meditation.

Get It Done Early

Running in the dark is like hitting the "GO" button on your day – talk about a fantastic kickstart!

Picture this: you lace up those running shoes, hit the pavement, and crush your workout while the rest of the world is still hitting the snooze button. You know what that means? No more excuses to skip your workout later in the day – you've already conquered it in the morning, and that's a huge win for consistency!

It's all about building that momentum, my friend. When you start your day with a refreshing run, you set the tone for the hours ahead. It's like igniting a fire within you that keeps you going and fuels your motivation to tackle other tasks with a can-do attitude.

And guess what? Your body is your best ally in this journey called life. Taking care of it should be a top priority, like putting premium fuel in your vehicle. After all, your body is the one thing that's going to stick with you every step of the way, supporting you in everything you try to accomplish.

But wait, there's more! Remember how we talked about the magical impact of exercise on cognitive function? Oh yes, it's a double whammy! Not only are you crushing your physical fitness goals, but you're also giving your brain a fantastic workout, sharpening your focus, and boosting your mental clarity.

And let's not forget those delightful endorphins – nature's very own mood enhancers! With each step, you're flooding your system with feel-good chemicals that can turn even the grumpiest morning into a ray of sunshine.

Take Your Time

One of the most delightful perks of starting your day early in the morning is the luxury of time. It's just you, yourself, and a world of possibilities – no job obligations, no responsibilities to attend to, just blissful "me" time.

No need to hurry through your run like a hare on a mission.

You've got all the time in the world to savor every step, warm up those muscles, and cool down with grace. It's the ultimate recipe for avoiding those pesky injuries that can derail your fitness journey.

And guess what?

When you've got time on your side, the running world is your oyster! You can go for a longer run, explore new routes and places, and embrace the freedom to add extra exercises on top of your running routine. It's like creating your personalized fitness adventure!

I have personally added clutches and hip raises to add to the arsenal of getting a fitter body.

What's more, the early hours also gift me the opportunity to slip in some precious meditation time after my workout. Imagine finishing your run, finding a serene spot, and diving into a peaceful meditation session. It's like charging up your mind and soul for the day ahead.

The magic of those extra minutes creates a unique frame of mind – one that's calm, patient, and poised to tackle whatever life throws your way. It's like you've unlocked the secret to a day of tranquility and composure.

So, take your time, my friend, and savor every moment of your early morning escapade. It's not just a run; it's an experience that nourishes your body, mind, and spirit. Let the world wait a little while longer as you indulge in the gift of time.

Cool as a Cucumber

Morning temperatures are far more forgiving than those scorching midday hours. Running in the dark means you can avoid the heat and keep it comfortable.

As the sun slowly rises, you're already basking in the comfort of a gentle morning climate.

No more dreading those hot and sweaty sessions that can zap the fun out of your run.

Instead, you're enjoying a refreshing and invigorating workout that energizes you for the day ahead.

And here's a secret bonus: Cooler temperatures are kinder to your body. You'll find it easier to breathe, and your muscles will thank you for sparing them from the punishing heat.

It's like running with Mother Nature's air-conditioning – a true gift to every runner.

girl in purple jacket holding gun
girl in purple jacket holding gun
Sunlight, Where Art Thou?

Oh, the longing for that warm embrace of sunlight during our early morning runs!

Sunlight is like a magical elixir that our body craves. It's not just about catching a tan – it's about soaking up that precious vitamin D. And let me tell you, vitamin D is like a superhero nutrient that plays a vital role in almost all our body functions.

Here's the deal: Sunlight is the key player in helping our body manufacture vitamin D, and we need this vitamin for various essential processes. It's like a hormone that regulates calcium levels, boosts our immune system, supports bone health, and even affects our mood and mental well-being. Talk about a true multitasker!

But here's the scary truth: In our fast-paced indoor lifestyles, many of us are missing out on this vital vitamin. A staggering 50% of us are estimated to be vitamin D deficient due to spending most of our time in offices and the comfort of indoor spaces.

That's why catching some rays post-run is so important! When you make time for a little sunbathe, you're gifting your body that much-needed vitamin D boost. It's like recharging your batteries and giving your body the support it craves to function at its best.

So, the next time you're running in the dark, keep that sunbathe on your post-run to-do list. Your body will thank you, and you'll be basking in the glow of that superhero vitamin – the ultimate sunshine goodness!

Waking Up the Sleepy Body:

The battle of getting our sleepy bodies up and running at the crack of dawn – it's a real struggle!

Let's face it, 5 am is not the friendliest hour for our bodies. When the world is still cloaked in darkness, and the temperature is on the chilly side, it's no wonder our body feels a bit rusty and heavy at the start of our run.

I can totally relate – there's something about running in the early hours without the warm embrace of sunlight that can make those first few steps feel like a Herculean task. It's like trying to start an engine that's been asleep all night!

And here's the secret ingredient we're missing: sunlight – the ultimate wake-up call for our bodies. When the sun rises, our body responds by producing cortisol, a hormone that helps kickstart our system and get us up and running (literally!).

So, it's no surprise that without that dose of sunlight, our legs might still be in dreamland, and we'll need some extra effort to bring them to life. But fear not, my fellow early riser! Once you get past those initial moments, your body will gradually warm up, and you'll find your rhythm as the run progresses.

It's like coaxing a sleepy child out of bed – it takes a bit of time and effort, but once they're up, they're ready to take on the day with boundless energy!

Huh? What's There?:

The early hours – a beautiful time of solitude and quietude. But you know what they say, sometimes silence can be a little eerie.

When you step out for that pre-dawn run, it's just you, the open road, and your thoughts echoing in the stillness. The hush is so profound that you can hear the rhythm of your own breath and the faint echo of your footsteps. It's like a serene symphony of sounds that accompany you on your journey.

Yet, amidst this tranquility, there comes the occasional rustling of leaves and bushes. The path you run on sounds like a mini-forest to the side, which can add a dash of mystery and excitement. But, let's be honest, it can also trigger a few wonderings – "What's lurking in the shadows? Are there wild boars or mischievous monkeys nearby?"

If you're a little on the cautious side, these thoughts might give you a case of the heebie-jeebies. And you know what? That's totally okay. Not everyone is up for a rendezvous with nature's creatures during their run.

But here's the flip side – some people thrive on the thrill of running in the midst of nature's wonders. It's like a thrilling adventure, embracing the unknown and being at one with the wild.

So, if you find yourself spooked easily, it's perfectly alright to prefer a more populated running route or opt for daylight hours when the world is awake and buzzing. Safety and comfort should always be your priority, my friend.

Remember, every runner's cup of tea is different, and there's no right or wrong way to enjoy your run. Whether you choose the solitude of the early hours or the liveliness of daylight, the most important thing is that you lace up your shoes and embark on your journey with a smile.

Safety Dance:

When it comes to running, safety is a top priority, and it's essential to be aware of potential hazards on your chosen route.

Depending on where you run, you might encounter some wild and wonderful sights, but along with the beauty of nature comes certain risks. Uneven terrains, poor lighting, and encounters with wildlife can pose challenges to your safety.

Take my running path, for instance. It's like stepping into a wildlife documentary – monkeys swinging from tree to tree, monitor lizards sunbathing on the path, and otter families on a scavenger hunt for food. While it's a breathtaking experience, it also requires some extra caution.

Recently, we had a close encounter with a sick monkey that nearly got aggressive due to hunger – talk about an adrenaline-pumping moment! Such incidents are a reminder that we share our running spaces with nature's creatures, and we need to respect their space and keep a safe distance.

Then there are the wild boars – majestic and magnificent, but they can be unpredictable and potentially dangerous. Over here, we had several reports of them attacking people (1,2) without provocation.

Come to think about it, by chasing them out of their natural habitat, we had already provoked them. It's essential to be informed about the areas you run in and take necessary precautions to avoid any confrontations.

And let's not forget about the lighting. Running in dimly lit areas can be a bit like dancing in the dark – fun, but potentially hazardous. It's crucial to equip yourself with reflective gear or headlamps to ensure you're visible to others and can see the path ahead.

Now, I must say that while Singapore is relatively safe, other places may present different challenges. Each location has its unique safety considerations, so it's essential to be vigilant and exercise caution when running in unfamiliar territories.

Remember, the Safety Dance is not about sitting out the adventure; it's about staying informed and prepared. Choose well-lit paths, be aware of your surroundings, and respect the wildlife you encounter.

By taking these precautions, you can enjoy your run and relish the wonders of nature while keeping safety at the forefront.

Lonely Runner Syndrome:

Running solo has its perks, but let's face it – we all crave some peppy gym buddies to cheer us on!

When you hit the pavement alone, it can be a little disheartening to think that most people are snug in their beds, dreaming sweet dreams while you're out there conquering the miles at 5 or 6 AM. But hey, we solo runners are a rare breed – the early morning warriors!

Sure, running in the dark means missing out on some eye candy, but remember, the real beauty is in the dedication and commitment you show to your passion. You're out there, giving it your all, and that's what truly boosts your motivation.

You know what I find motivating?

Spotting older runners in front of me, gracefully gliding through their morning miles. It's like a glimpse into the future – a reminder that this running journey is timeless, and I can keep running till old age too. It's like a friendly challenge to keep going and embrace the joy of running through all stages of life.

And while running solo has its moments of solitude, sometimes a little friendly competition can ignite that spark within us. The thrill of chasing after someone or pushing ourselves to outdo our own records can be the perfect fuel for an invigorating run.

Morning Condition Can Be Dangerous:

Running in the dark can indeed present some safety challenges, and it's crucial to be aware of the potential risks.

One significant concern is visibility – in the dark, you're less likely to be noticed by cyclists sharing the same path. Unless you're donning bright, reflective clothing or carrying a blinking device, you could be virtually invisible to them.

And it's not just your visibility that's at stake – it's also the state of the cyclists you encounter. Some of them might be feeling like zombies, battling the effects of early waking hours or late-night work shifts. Their fatigue can impact their alertness and reaction times, increasing the risk of accidents.

Moreover, the cooler morning temperatures can also pose challenges for your body. In the chilly air, it takes a longer time for your muscles to warm up, which might leave you susceptible to injuries if you don't allow ample time for proper warm-up exercises.

You May Feel Sore For Whole Day:

Post-run soreness – a badge of honor for every runner, especially when you're just starting out or pushing your limits in marathon training.

If you've recently embarked on your running journey and gave it your all, it's no surprise that you might feel the effects throughout the day. Those achy muscles are a reminder that you're challenging yourself and taking steps toward becoming a stronger runner.

And let's talk about marathon training – kudos to you for tackling those early morning 10-mile runs! While it's an incredible achievement, it's also natural to feel the aftermath of such exertion. Climbing stairs might feel like scaling a mountain after all that hard work!

But here's the silver lining: that soreness is a sign of progress and growth. Your body is adapting to the new demands you've placed on it, and with each run, you'll become more resilient and better equipped to take on new challenges.

Running in the Light

Let's flip the coin and see what happens when you run when the sun's up and about!

shallow focus photography of person walking on road between grass
shallow focus photography of person walking on road between grass
Sunlight Goodness

Say hello to the ultimate running companion – sunlight!

When you choose to run during the day, you open yourself up to a world of health benefits, starting with the glorious rays of the sun.

Running in the sunlight allows your body to soak up some much-needed vitamin D, and let me tell you, your bones will be eternally grateful.

Vitamin D is like the superhero nutrient your body craves – it plays a vital role in maintaining strong and healthy bones, supporting your immune system, and even lifting your mood.

It's like a powerful boost of goodness that nature offers us for free.

Easy Peasy Warm-Up

You know that feeling when you wake up, and your body seems to take forever to get going?

Well, when you run during the day, your body wakes up faster, and your warm-up becomes a breeze. It's like your muscles are saying, "Let's do this!" right from the get-go.

No more battling with morning stiffness or feeling like a sleepy sloth.

Running in the daylight hours infuses you with natural energy, and with each step, you'll find yourself falling into the rhythm effortlessly.

Less Likely To Be Injured:

As the sun rises, its warmth gradually raises your core body temperature, making it easier for your muscles to warm up.

This preps your body for action and reduces the risk of strains and injuries that can occur when you push cold muscles too hard.

But that's not all – the daytime also brings some hormone magic that works in your favor. As the clock ticks towards late afternoon, your energy stores are at their peak, ensuring your muscle strength and flexibility are optimized for an excellent run.

And hold on to your hats – when the clock strikes noon, your body unleashes a dose of epinephrine and norepinephrine, the dynamic duo that gets your heart pumping and prepares you for peak performance.

These hormones not only boost your energy levels but also lower your pain sensation and uplift your mood – it's like a natural mood-enhancing runner's high!

Safety First

With better visibility in the daylight, you can easily spot obstacles and potential hazards, keeping you on the path to a safe and enjoyable run.

No more stumbling in the dark or uncertain steps – you'll have a clear view of your surroundings, guiding you every step of the way.

And here's something essential to highlight – daytime running is especially beneficial for everyone, including our fellow ladies. Regardless of the country or location, better visibility during the day adds an extra layer of security for runners of all genders.

While low crime rates in certain areas may be reassuring, it's essential to remember that caution is still key. Safety isn't about being paranoid, but rather about being prepared.

Being aware of your surroundings, sticking to well-traveled routes, and staying connected to others while you run are all measures that contribute to a safer experience.

Motivation Magic

As you hit the road during the day, you're likely to encounter fellow runners and fitness enthusiasts, weaving their way through the bustling world. It's like being part of a vibrant community that shares the same love for running.

And let me tell you, there's something enchanting about the camaraderie you feel when you cross paths with like-minded individuals. Each nod, smile, or friendly wave becomes a boost of motivation, propelling you forward with renewed energy.

You might find yourself picking up your pace, driven by the silent encouragement of those you pass by. Or perhaps you'll get a burst of inspiration from observing the determination and focus in the eyes of your fellow runners.

The beauty of this motivation magic is that it's contagious – it spreads from one runner to another, creating a chain reaction of positivity and determination. It's like an invisible hand guiding you and cheering you on throughout your entire run.

rotten green apple
rotten green apple
Heat and Humidity

As the mercury rises, it's crucial to stay hydrated and keep your water bottle close at hand.

Hydration is your best friend on hot and humid days, helping you maintain peak performance and avoid dehydration. Consider carrying a water bottle or planning your route to pass by water fountains for easy refills.

And don't forget about the sun's rays – they can be both a friend and a foe. While sunlight is great for soaking up vitamin D, it's also essential to protect your skin.

Be sure to lather on sunscreen and wear breathable, lightweight clothing that shields you from harmful UV rays.

Sunburn is no fun, and protecting your skin is an important part of staying healthy and enjoying your run.

Consider adjusting your running schedule during the hottest parts of the day, opting for early mornings or late afternoons when temperatures are cooler.

If you must run during peak heat hours, seek out shaded routes or urban areas with buildings that provide relief from direct sunlight.

Lastly, listen to your body – if you start feeling overheated or fatigued, take a break and find a shaded spot to rest. It's okay to modify your running plan to adapt to the weather conditions and prioritize your well-being.

Of course, it is good to occasionally go for a run in stoic style - self imposed hardship. With those days in comparison, you will appreciate more of your daily run in coolness.

Crowded Paths

When the sun is shining and the day is at its peak, popular running routes can transform into lively hubs of activity. While this vibrant atmosphere adds to the allure of daytime running, it also means you may encounter more fellow runners, walkers, and pedestrians along the way.

Especially on weekends, these paths can become bustling thoroughfares, and finding ample space to run might seem like a delightful challenge. But fear not – with a few mindful strategies, you can navigate the crowds with ease and courtesy.

First and foremost, remember that sharing is caring! Embrace the spirit of camaraderie and be prepared to share the road with others. As you weave through the crowd, practice courteous interactions – a friendly smile or a nod can go a long way in creating a positive and enjoyable running experience for everyone.

If the path gets particularly crowded, consider adjusting your pace or finding alternative routes nearby. Exploring new paths not only adds variety to your runs but also provides a chance to discover hidden gems in your running landscape.

During crowded runs, it's essential to remain aware of your surroundings. Stay alert, especially if you're wearing headphones, and be mindful of fellow runners or pedestrians who might be passing or crossing your path.

Time Constraints:

For many of us, the early morning hours when the sun is up and the world is awakening might be the ideal time to run. However, the demands of work and other responsibilities often beckon, making it challenging to fit in that morning run before the day takes flight.

And running in the afternoon can be equally elusive, as it hinges on work schedules and other commitments. Time constraints can create a sense of frustration, and you may worry about missing out on much-needed exercise.

But fear not – where there's a will, there's a way! Embrace the flexibility of running and find moments that suit your schedule. Even if you can't run during the day, consider other pockets of time that might work for you.

Perhaps a lunchtime jog can become your midday escape, offering a refreshing pause amidst a busy workday. Or an evening run might be the perfect way to wind down after a productive day, providing a sense of accomplishment and rejuvenation.

Remember, consistency is key, and even short bursts of exercise can yield significant benefits. A quick 20-minute run can be just as valuable as a longer session. Embrace the moments you can carve out for yourself, and savor the joy of running, regardless of the time.

If running during the day remains a distant dream, remember that every day offers new opportunities. Whether it's a sunrise jog on the weekend or a sunset run on a weekday, your running journey can adapt to your life's rhythm.


Alright, there you have it, my running buddy!

Running in the dark bestows upon us a sense of tranquility and solitude.

The empty lanes, the hushed morning, and the opportunity to complete our workout before the day unfolds create a magical setting for self-reflection and mental rejuvenation.

However, it comes with its set of challenges, such as limited sunlight exposure, the initial struggle to wake up the sleepy body, and the occasional feeling of isolation.

On the other hand, running in the light shines a spotlight on the wonderful benefits of daylight. Basking in the glorious sun, enjoying an easier warm-up, and reducing the likelihood of injuries are just a few of the gifts it bestows upon us.

Additionally, the light hours offer the chance to engage in social interactions, join running groups, and draw motivation from fellow fitness enthusiasts.

Nonetheless, crowded paths, the impact of heat and humidity, and potential time constraints are factors to consider during daytime running.

Ultimately, the choice between running in the dark and running in the light lies within the individual, their lifestyle, and their preferences. Whichever path you choose, the essence of running remains consistent – a transformative journey of self-discovery, health, and perseverance.

So, lace up your shoes and embrace the joy of running, whether it's under the tranquil stars or the radiant sun.

Revel in solitude or relish the company of fellow runners. Allow each stride to nourish your body, mind, and spirit.

Remember, running is not just about the destination; it's about the beautiful journey you embark on with every step.

Whether you find solace in the darkness or inspiration in the light, each run is an opportunity to uncover your inner strength and revel in the wonder of the world around you.

Happy running, my fellow adventurers, and may your journeys be filled with countless miles of joy, growth, and fulfillment!

With love,