Autumn is here, and with the change of the clocks in the UK, we will be experiencing darker nights much earlier. Here are our safety tips for keeping safe while running in the dark mornings and evenings.
While running is usually a time to lose ourselves, the opposite is required for running in the dark. You want to pay attention to what is going on around you, looking out for other traffic, cyclists and pedestrians… and also anything else you might tread in or bump into!
Avoid loud music
This is even more important when running in the dark. You need to be able to hear approaching cars, sirens and the presence of other people around you. If you can only run when listening to something, think about a podcast instead of music. A podcast or audiobook will not drown out noise as much as music can and it still allows you to hear what’s happening around you. Other options are to use just one earbud or bone conductor headphones which sit outside of the ear and will enable you to still hear outside noise.
Colours such as white, orange and yellow are perfect for running in the dark. You may choose to wear clothing with high-visibility fabrics. You may also opt to have reflective strips on your gloves, hats, and shoes have reflective properties. Wearing reflective gear that helps you stand out should be your priority when preparing for a night run. You may also use headlights. When wearing reflective strips, it’s better to wear them around your arms and legs as opposed to your waist because it’s easier for others to see the light when it’s in motion.
Keep it simple and stay close to home
The last thing you want is to run into trouble far from home when it’s dark outside. Rather than doing a run ‘full out’, think about doing loops of a route near to your home instead.
Run Against the traffic
This will give a clear view of what’s in front of them and it will help you see what’s coming your way. It’s best to avoid running during rush hour times or on roads with excessive traffic. Instead, stick to side streets or main roads that have less congestion.
Run with someone… or even your dog!
Running with someone will not only motivate you during the colder months, but there is also safety in numbers. It’s also a great way to catch up with friends you might not see too often. If you have a dog, why not take them out for a run. They can be a great deterrent from unwanted company.
Tell someone where you are going
It’s a good idea to let someone know that you are going out and what your planned route will be. If you are late back, they will be able to go can check where you have run.
Take your phone
Running is meant to be time away from technology, we get that, but your mobile can be your go-to in case of emergency. Most running apparels have special pockets for phones – failing that, you can buy an armband or a running belt to place it in.
Carry your ID
You can have it on your phone under ICE (in case of emergency), an ID tag or even written in your clothes (just like at school!). It is helpful for first responders during an emergency.
Use a well lit route
It’s a good idea to keep to well-lit routes when running in the dark. Not only will it help others to see you but also for you to be able to see where you are going. Nobody wants to stand in something unpleasant or run into something low down and unseen! Ouch!
Vary your routes and times
Don’t be a creature of habit. Change up your route and the times that you run to avoid potential attackers who may have spotted you on several occasions.
Light Them Up!
There is a range of gadgets available on the market with lights fitted especially for running, from fleece hats and caps to armbands. You can literally light yourself up like a Christmas Tree! This will undoubtedly help you be seen by others on the road.
Track with an app
Some apps have emergency features that can notify friends or loved ones if you are in a dangerous situation – injured, for example. Your route can also be tracked if you find yourself lost.
Trust your instincts
If something doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. Don’t take any risks.
Running doesn’t have to stop, just because the season changes. Follow these safety tips for running in the dark, make small tweaks in your routine and what you wear and you can keep running whatever the season.
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