There are many different reasons a person might decide to run in the dark. Maybe you want to get your workout in before work in the morning. Maybe you live somewhere that is very hot during the day, and running while the sun is down is more enjoyable. Maybe you’re trying to fit a run in after work during short winter days. If you find yourself hitting the pavement in the dark, here are some important tips to keep yourself safe.
There is specific clothing that is designed for night running and will have features such as reflective patches and piping. Be sure to test the effectiveness of these reflective elements at home before you head out. Some reflective patches may be too small to be easily seen. They might also be obscured by your running accessories, such as a water belt or phone case. You may want to invest in a high visibility, lightweight running vest. Vests with pockets can make carrying keys or a phone a little easier. Adjustable reflective bracelets are also an option. These can be worn around ankles, wrists, or wherever is most comfortable for you.
A blinking light is also great for visibility. Blinking lights are a clear signal to motorists that there’s someone up ahead, and not just a stationary reflection from a pole or mailbox. A small light that can be clipped to the back of your clothing is a great option, and some running vests are actually built with the red light built into the back already.
Bring a Light
Streetlights and passing cars might be bright enough to see your path by, but your own light will help you be seen as well. Whether you opt for a headlamp, a light that can clip to a piece of clothing, or a harness so that you can run with a flashlight, be sure to take your own light along with you on your runs. A lightweight headlamp with an adjustable light is a great option. It can be easily adjusted, allowing you to light up the ground in front of you without shining a light directly into the eyes of passing motorists. Some flashlights are even designed specifically with runners in mind. These lights feature stride sensing technology, which reduces the bounce of the light between steps and provides a consistent beam.
For trail runners, having a light is crucial to running safely. There are many obstacles and changes in terrain that can pose tripping hazards. A flashlight that is bright enough to illuminate the trail in front is key to avoiding them. Even if you’re not planning on being out after dark, trail runners who carry a flashlight will have a light to depend on if they get lost or injured on the trail.
Leave the Headphones at Home
Listening to music or podcasts is a ritual for many runners. If you’re running at night, however, having diminished hearing is not ideal. With sight already an issue, being deaf to your surroundings can put you in a dangerous situation. If you simply can’t run without some sort of music, bone conduction headphones are a great option. These headphones don’t go into your ears, which allows you to still hear what’s going on around you.
Keep these safety tips in mind and lace-up with confidence when the sun goes down.