Running at night can be a nice change of pace. It’s cooler outside, there’s less hustle and bustle, and the stars and moon above make for a pretty backdrop as you exercise. However, there is much more preparation involved when planning a night run compared to a run during the day. If you choose to lace up your shoes for a night run, here are some tips you can use to keep you safe and sound.
The first thing that you need to consider when you head out on a night run is location. Try to stick to a route that you’re already familiar with. Navigating new paths and avoiding potholes or ditches becomes a lot more difficult in the dark. In addition, try to stick to routes that have good lighting so that you can see where you’re going.
Another thing to consider is to avoid creating a pattern when choosing your location. Run in different places in a random order so that your routine can’t be tracked by someone with bad intentions. Make sure that you tell someone where you’ll be running before you go, or, better yet, bring a running buddy along with you. It is always best to bring some sort of identification while on a run.
Make sure that you bring your phone along even if you would rather leave it at home or in the car. If you were to get lost, get injured, or need to make an emergency call, you’ll want your cellphone to be easily accessible. You can wear a running belt or arm band if you don’t want to hold your phone as you run. There are also several apps that you can download with safety features that track you and send messages to loved ones in case of emergency.
The most important safety tip for night running that we can give you is this: pay attention. Once you’re out on your run, stay aware of your surroundings. It’s best to run without any headphones in so that you can listen and be aware of what’s going on around you. However, if you absolutely have to listen to music, keep the volume low and try to use only one earbud so that you can still hear out of one ear.
If you’re running on the side of a road, make sure to face oncoming traffic. This way, you can see the cars as they approach you rather than letting cars sneak up from behind.
Don’t let yourself zone out while you run at night. Stay focused on where you are and what’s going on around you. If you let your mind wander, you might not become aware of a pothole or headlights fast enough to get to safety.
Another big safety tip for running at night is to be smart about what you wear. Even if you have full awareness of your surroundings, you can still be in danger if others can’t see your figure running in the dark. Most running gear is made with reflector strips for this reason.
When you go out for a run after dark, make sure to avoid wearing dark colored clothing that will blend into the night. To maximize your visibility to drivers, you might also want to throw on a reflector vest or even a headlamp to signal your presence to others on the road.
Whenever possible, make sure that you have reflective gear on your arms and legs, such as reflective armbands or shoelaces. Drivers are more likely to notice moving lights on your limbs than stationary lights on your torso. You can also wear clear glasses or brimmed hats to protect your eyes and face from branches, bugs, and other obstacles that you might not see coming at you in the dark.
If you can swing it, running during the day is generally a much safer choice. But if you still want to run at night, make sure to be aware and take these extra precautions to prevent any nasty accidents. Remember to visit your local Sun & Ski sports shop to stock up on reflective running gear for your nighttime runs.
If you want safety tips for other activities, check out our blog post on bike safety.