How To Run Safely In The Dark - Nighttime Running Tips & Gear
Running is one of the few sports with the unique quality that it is not confined to a certain space and you don’t need to have a teammate to do it (Always nice but not required). As a runner, it’s not abnormal to find yourself running during very early morning hours, particularly when training for a long-distance race. And in November we celebrate “Runner’s Safety Month” with tips and tricks to help runners everywhere stay safe while running. If you find yourself running before the sun has risen, or after the sun has set please consider some of the following safety tips, especially if you go for a solo run.
Light your way:
When running in hours where it’s dark out it’s important to stay in well-lit areas where you can see your surroundings and the paths you are running. Clearly seeing where you are running can obviously help avoid accidents that could occur by stepping on uneven ground or obstructive objects, but will also help you run more confidently because you are able to see what is ahead of you in your path. Areas like local tracks and community parks are usually your best bet for the best-lighted areas for runners. If you find yourself running before these areas are available to use or in paths where you know there are no lights, like forest trails, consider bringing your own light. Nathan chest/waist and headlamps are a great hands-free option for runners. Comfortable, lightweight and versatile, these accessories are easy to carry for long periods of time, even after the sun rises and you no longer need the light on.
See and be seen:
When running in dark surroundings it’s very important to see where you are going, and just as important to make sure people can see you in motion as well. Especially when running in areas where there could be car traffic make sure to wear bright colors that are easy to spot in the dark. Neon colors being the most popular option amongst runners, white is also a great option that is easily visible to passersby. An even better option is wearing specific reflective clothing, like the new Brooks Run Visible collection. The Run Visible collection was designed using advanced vision science to make sure you stand out in low-and no-light conditions as a runner in motion and drivers can recognize you as a runner in motion from up to 600ft away.
Be aware of your surroundings:
While it’s very tempting to run and tune everything else out with the option of noise-cancelling headphones, we recommend you leave those at home for more indoor activities. When running outside it’s important to be aware of your surroundings especially in places of other foot traffic or road traffic. And while we’re all for running with your favorite jams playing, because who doesn’t love a good pump-up playlist right?! We must prioritize the importance of runner safety. If you need your pump-up jams to make it through your run, check out headphones like Aftershokz. Designed with bone conduction technology that creates a comfortable and safe listening experience with nothing inside or over your ears. This award-winning technology guides mini vibrations through your cheekbones to your inner ears and allows you to listen to your jams while also being able to hear others around you. Plus, they connect to your device using Bluetooth technology so there is no need to hassle with wires while you run.
Know your route:
Always know where you’re going on your run, especially when traveling and visiting a new place. If it’s a new place you’ve never visited before, take a look at a map of the area and plan out your run before you head out. Make sure to take note of the best places for runners like designated run/walkways. If possible take your phone with you for easy map access if needed. But if you prefer to run phone-free, consider the latest safety features available in the latest running accessories like Garmin sports watches. Many of the current Garmin sports watches like the Enduro, Forerunner 245 and Forerunner 945 series have the extra feature “Round-Trip Routing” and “turn by turn navigation” to help guide you through appropriate routes that will bring you back to where you started. Also, available in most of the latest Garmin running watches is the “Safety and Tracking” feature, that if activated will alert your designated emergency contact that you are in need of assistance.
Choose the right apparel:
Runner safety may be celebrated only once a year but it’s something we in the running community consider every day. It’s so important to us that you can now find some running safety features already integrated as a standard practice into almost all running gear. Most running apparel we work with at Fit2Run, like our F2R collection, come with reflective details that glow when light is shined upon them. These reflective details are included in key points of each piece that at first glance you may not even notice but can make a big difference when needed most.
While some safety features may seem “too small” or some “too much” at times, they all play an important role in keeping runners safe. Overall, even with all the advancements in runner safety and technology the best safety tip for any runner is to always use good judgment on when and where to head out for a run. And if you go on a solo run, especially at very early or late hours, always let someone know when you're headed out for a run, and approximately how long you expect to be out because it’s always good to know that you have someone to rely on if extra help is needed.