2nd Dec 2021 @ 11:41 am

December brings the shortest days and longest nights on Lanzarote, and there’s a good chance that your fitness routine may be affected by the winter hours. Here’s how to keep going through the darkest months.

In northern Europe, where darkness falls in mid-afternoon, and nights are chilly, wet and icy, keeping to a fitness routine can be a real drag. On the Canaries, it’s not nearly such a challenge, but you’ll still have to make some adjustments.

On Lanzarote, the sun sets at 6 pm in December, and a short twilight means that by 7pm it’s pretty dark. That means that anyone who works the late shifts that are fairly standard here has two choices – join a gym or take up another indoor sport; or do it in the dark.

There’s no need to wrap up for an after-dark jog – Lanzarote’s temperatures are still warm, and exercise will literally keep you heated up – but you might prefer the comfort of long jogging pants and a track suit top or sweatshirt.

Plan your route by walking it out first. Lighting isn’t always consistent here, and running in areas that aren’t well-lit can be risky. If you’re running in rural areas, you’ll almost certainly find a headmounted flashlight a useful piece of kit to see what’s ahead of you.

A flashlight will also make you more visible – an important consideration if you’re running near traffic, crossing roads etc. In fact, you’re also advised to wear fluorescent or light-coloured clothing in these situations – you can’t be too safe.

Getting the balance right

You also have the possibility of exercising first thing in the morning, with the island shifting into sunlight by 7.30 am. And one advantage of the Canarian winter is that it’s easier to run at midday, while only a crazy person would try it in summer’s heat. The festive holidays and/or split shifts can also help you get this balance right.

Whichever way you choose to exercise, you’ll need to plan the rest of your life accordingly. This is where the Spanish way of life can sometimes help – if you’re exercising at 7pm, you’ll probably be having your evening meal at more local hours – in Spain, 9 pm or later is normal for a late and light evening meal. The Spanish merienda, taken at about 5 or 6, offers a chance for a snack to provide you with energy for your workout.

Run into 2022!

Carreras Silvestres (New Year Fun Runs) are now a long-standing tradition in Spain, usually taking place on the 31st of December, and Arrecife and Puerto del Carmen have both hosted these events in recent years.

The Covid pandemic led to the cancellation of these races last year, but it’s worth checking your local Ayuntamiento to discover if anything’s going on in your area. Keep an eye on our Gazette Life Facebook page and we’ll let you know of anything we hear about, too.

Exercising after dark. What you’ll need:

  1. Running lights Head-, chest- or waist mounted, or handheld running lights are essential if you’re running anywhere that isn’t brightly lit.
  1. Reflective gear Wrist bands, vests, belts, trainers – make sure you’re wearing something bright and reflective.
  1. Illuminated fitness watch Whatever watch you use, from a cheap digital to an expensive Garmin smartwatch, make sure you’re familiar with lighting options.
  1. A partner A night run will feel a lot safer if you do it with someone else.

For regular updates, pictures and videos of Lanzarote be sure to like and follow our Facebook page “Gazette Life Lanzarote”.