As the days get shorter and there is less time available to run outside in the daylight, many of us are forced to either move our running indoors or run at night. I, for one, much prefer running outside to running on a treadmill. But running in the dark requires certain precautions. Here are eight tips for safely running at night.
Show off Your Clothes – Wear bright colors or clothing with reflective material. And while this may seem obvious, avoid dark colored clothing.
Wear a Hat – A hat can serve multiple purposes when running at night. If it is reflective, a hat will increase your visibility to others. The brim of a hat can cut down on glare and can also protect your face and eyes from any unseen objects, like tree limbs or spiderwebs.
Light it Up – Run a route that is well lit. If possible, scope out a route at night in advance to see how much light is available for your run. Carry a flashlight or glowstick to help light the route. This also makes you easier to see in less well lit areas.
See the Vehicle – Always run on the left side of the road, facing oncoming traffic. Try to make contact with the driver. Remember that just because you see the car does not mean that the driver can see you.
Familiarity is Good – Run a route that is familiar to you. When running at night there is a greater risk of injury due to potholes or other route hazards. In addition to scoping out a route at night for visibility, check it out in the daytime hours to assess conditions. Become comfortable with the route.
But Change is Good Too – This may seem like a contradiction, but having multiple routines is important for safety reasons. Potential attackers can study patterns of runners who run at night, therefore it is important to vary the route to avoid repetition. Consider carrying pepper spray or holding your keys to ward off potential attackers. Running with someone or in a group is also recommended.
No Music is Good Music – As much as it pumps up your run to have your favorite tunes blaring in your ears, it's best to unplug when running at night. Since your vision is diminished your sense of hearing becomes even more important. Even wearing an earbud in one ear car greatly reduce your ability to hear a barking dog, voice or other sound.
Information is Power – Prior to setting off for a run, tell a friend or family member where you are running and let them know when you return. Also remember to carry identification and a cell phone in case of an emergency. Some runners even sew their personal information on their running clothes.
Running at night can be an enjoyable experience, but one that offers more potential dangers than daytime running. Following these tips will help to reduce that risk.