I was surprised by how many people commented on my "I usually run with the lights off" yesterday. I have never gone off the back of the treadmill or really hurt myself when running in the dark. I have gone to step off the treadmill sideways and missed the step. I have whacked the front bar with both hands, once bruising my finger. I repeat, I have never run off the back of the treadmill!
The first time I ran in the "dark" was in the cardio-theater at Gold's Gym. It was a strange experience at first. I could tell there were other people in the theater, but I couldn't see much else. My senses were on high alert and I was paying attention to what I was doing on the treadmill instead of trying to ignore it. The next time I went to the gym I had to try the cardio-theater out again. I was hooked and in no time I wouldn't run on a treadmill with the lights on. When we bought our treadmill I just kept it up and I love running in the dark. With the lights off I'm not concerned about what else is in the room, what I need to get done for the day, or what errands need to be done. Instead, I'm conscientious of my form, my breathing, and how my body feels while I'm running through every stride. It is amazing.
Remember this: treadmills give off a lot of light from the console, so it is not completely dark. And, the little window in my exercise room lets me know when the sun rises, though for most of the year I'm done on the treadmill before it gets too light outside. You should give it a try if you have the opportunity. It can be quite an experience to run on a treadmill in a dimmed/dark room.
This morning I ran on the treadmill, in the dark for 4 miles.