There are a lot of reasons runners choose to venture out at night. Some actually prefer it, but more likely the narrative reads like this: “I don’t have any other time to run, so if I want to maintain my training, I have to go at night.”
This becomes a problem particularly in the fall and winter months when the sun sets before most people leave work. There are certain precautions that runners should take at night that differ from their daylight jogs. Follow these steps to maximize your safety on these runs:
- Ideally, find a well-lit area to run. That way you’ll be able to see where you’re going. City sidewalks or a local track often fit the bill. We know that doing a long run on a track is monotonous, but it’s a great option for a nighttime run. In the event that you don’t have a well-lit area, use a combination of headlamps, knucklelights and blinkers. They all have the merit of lighting your way. As a bonus, they serve to alert motorists and pedestrians to your presence as well.
- Wear white or bright colors with reflective accents so motorists can see you more clearly. Brands that cater to runners have been developing high-visibility fabrics for years that are usually breathable and weather resistant, as well as stylish. If running in the winter, make sure your running hat and gloves have reflective accents, and pick up a reflective vest that will make you visible and keep your core warm.
- Carry ID with you at all times. If you don’t have anywhere to secure your license, wear an ID tag around your neck, wrist or attached to your shoes.
- Always run with your mobile phone. With the constant connectivity we are all used to, it’s understandable if you prefer to disconnect during your run. You might not want to carry it in your hands, you may not have a pocket to put it in, or you’re distracted by it somehow. Fair enough. But what are you going to do if you twist an ankle six miles into a secluded trail run or feel faint during a speed workout? It’s very important that your phone comes along with you. So, just put it in an arm band. That way it’s available, but out of the way.
- Leave your headphones at home. Your ability to hear other people and motor vehicles is one of the best natural ways you can stay aware of your surroundings in the dark. The only way this works is if you actually listen.