Running Safely at Night

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The nights are getting darker, the days shorter and winter is unavoidably hurtling fast towards us. Summer is soon becoming a distant memory and with it memories of running in the bright and warmth of sunshine. On the last Sunday of October (27th) the clocks will go back at 2am and light evenings will be a thing of the past.

Whether you choose to run early morning or late evening, there are some elements you should be aware of when it comes to keeping yourself safe running when it’s dark…

Wear Bright and Reflective Clothing
It’s difficult for drivers (infact anyone) to see runners in the dark, so don’t make it harder on them by wearing dark, non-reflective clothing. Make sure to always wear bright colours, with reflective material so that you stand out.

Wear or Carry Lights
Not only is it hard for drivers to see you in the dark, but it is also hard for you to see the road, trail or footpath as you run. There are many small lights available to purchase that are easy to wear or hold that will illuminate your path. Plus, drivers will be able to see you.

Run on the Right Side of the Road
Running on the roads on dark winter nights can be very dangerous and we certainly DO NOT recommend it … but should you have little choice the proper place to run is on the right side of the road, facing traffic. Think logically about it… It is far easier to jump out of the way of an oncoming car if you can see the car coming at you.

Leave the Headphones at Home
Some tunes on your run are great to keep you going, but not in the dark. When running in the dark, you need to rely on all your senses, not just your sight. Leave the music at home so you can hear any potential dangers.

If you run with apps or other training tools that use voice coaching you may have to use the one earbud in and one out method, just make sure the volume is low.

Run in Well Lit or Populated Areas
Rethink your run route if you’re used to running on trails. Although it’s nice and peaceful you could set yourself up as an easy target. Stick to busier roads and well lit areas.

Run With a Friend
Running in the dark with friends, or with an organised group, isn’t only safer- it’s also a lot more fun. You’ll have a buddy to keep you motivated and an extra set of eyes, and ears, to stay on the lookout for anything strange.

Keep your phone and ID on Hand
Having your phone and identification on you are important safety tips no matter the time of day, but they are especially important when running in the dark. Not only can you use your phone to track your training, but it will be necessary if you find yourself in an emergency situation and need to call for help.

Leave speedwork to day time
Poorly lit roads are not the place to be smashing out 10 x 400m reps. While a head torch may give you good visibility it will never be as good as sunlight. Depth perception is compromised, so what may look like small pot hole may end up being a lot larger.

Keep the rewards in sight
Winter divides the good runners from the Okay runs. When it’s chilly or blowing a gale outside it’s tempting to get yourself lost on the sofa rather than do hill repeats. But it’s exactly these moments that decide how well you will perform once the season eventually starts. Everyone goes out running in good weather.

**Have you any tips to share with our running community?**
Share them in the comments below

By Rebecca McNamara