I'm a little embarassed I have to ask this but figured I cannot possibly be the only one who's had this problem.
I've gotten into (trail)running semi-seriously earlier this year. Considering how great it has been for my physical and especially mental health, I want to keep doing this. However it's been getting darker recently (especially with the switch to winter time where I live). As a result, most of the time when I'm free to run, it's dark or about to become so.
Now the problem: I'm afraid of being in the woods when it's dark. Specifically, I'm not scared of animals (there aren't really dangerous species where I live) or anything that it would be reasonable to be scared of but instead I fear what most would probably consider to be taken from horror movies. That is, my imagination simply goes wild at every sound or apparent movement.
These fears are not so bad that they'd stop me from running but I don't want my brain to start associating running with being scared. I assume this to be something to get used to but thought I'd just ask in any case. Here are some of my ideas to reduce my fear:
Go running when it's still bright (obvious): I try to do that whenever possible but I usually only come home very shortly before it gets dark. I could go running in the morning on some days but in all honesty, I'm too lazy for that.
Use light: I have acquired a headlight which is very bright (I couldn't run at all without one, in any case). This reduces my fear a bit, but not entirely.
Go running with other people/dog: Not really an option for me due to scheduling issues most of the time. I don't have a dog.
Listen to music: I suppose that would help but I prefer running without music as I see it as an almost "meditative" exercise.
Go running in the city: Similar to my above reasoning, I prefer trail running over city running.
I assume that other people were scared of being alone in the dark too. Is this something that one just has to get used to or are there any other techniques I can use to stop myself from thinking too much about "what might be out there in the dark" (I know I'm being irrational but that doesn't help much)?
Note: I talked about running specifically but see no reason why techniques from hiking etc. shouldn't also apply.