While most of us would prefer to run during the day with the sun shining, busy schedules and limited daylight hours often mean running in the dark evenings or the low light of the morning.
Although it can seem a little daunting, don't let the dark stop you heading out; stay alert and follow these tips for staying safe while running at night. Remember, it you don't feel comfortable outside, there's always the treadmill instead.
1 - Avoid loud music
Listening to music is a great way to stay motivated but keeping your headphones plugged in top volume can be distracting, keeping you from staying alert to what's happening around you.
When lighting conditions are poor you're already reducing your ability to see. Cutting off another sense, your hearing, means you're less likely to be aware of oncoming cars, people, and animals.
Only wear one at low volume or ditch the running headphones completely to ensure you can hear any danger approaching.
2 - Stay visible
Wearing light coloured and hi-viz clothing is essential for running in the dark.
It's important for motorists and other road usersto be able to see you as soon as possible so look out for flashes of reflective material on your running clothing or invest in some hi-viz accessories.
Always ensure you're visible from the front and the back so both directions of traffic will see you.
3 - Lights
If running in the early morning or late at night is commonplace for you, consider investing in a running head torch and lights to ensure not only you can see the path ahead, but others can see you too.
4 - Run with a friend or a group
The age old adage is true, there is a safety in numbers so as the days get shorter run with a friend or join a running group.
Join us at one of our Run Clubs to give you the support and motivation you need to keep running in the darm. Find your nearest Run Club on our website.
5 - Tell someone where you're going
If you're worried about heading out, tell someone where you’re going. Whether it’s a quick text to a friend or telling someone at home, ask them to contact you if they don’t hear from you after your expected time home.
Just make sure you let them know when you’re home safe to avoid any panicked friends and family.
6 - Take your phone
If you don’t fancy telling someone every time you pop out for a run carry your phone with you just in case. You’ll be able to contact the police immediately if something happens or if you notice anything out of the ordinary.
It’s so easy now to carry your phone with lightweight, and sweat-wicking phone holders so there’s no excuse.
7 - Run against traffic
When running in poor light, always run against the traffic so you can see any potential dangers coming. You’re much more likely to be able to get out the way quickly of cars or road users if you can see them first.
Be aware of headlights too; if you see flashes of light coming round a corner or a busy road avoiding crossing until the vehicle has passed.
8 - Well-lit route
It’s important for you to be able to see your surroundings too. Stick to well-lit routes to reduce your risk of tripping or stumbling.
9 - Vary your routes and times
Try not to run the same route at the same time every day. Being predictable makes you more of a target and you’re less likely to pick up on small changes or potential danger.
10 - Instincts
Trust your instincts. They’re probably right. If you don’t feel comfortable try to move to a better lit area or head home.