You are confronted with the prospect of running pre-dawn or at night, and want to make sure that you are safe and well while running in the dark?
Since running in the dusky hours can be a scary and risky task, you need to take all necessary precautions to help you feel and stay safe when going out for a nightly or pre-dawn run.
Here are some ideas for limiting the risks and for staying safe whilst running at night:
- Wear a headlight, an arm light band or a torch, so that you can see any obstacles or dangers ahead of you and around you. With a light you will be noticeable to other people and vehicles as well. The lights will help you run more safely and confidently, and will reduce the risk of running into something or somebody, or tripping on something. With a light, you will be able to spot potential dangers and avoid suspicious strangers in time before running into them.
- Find company to run with. Running with a group or a running buddy will make the night run much more enjoyable, and is a much safer option, as you will be watching over one another. You will find that running with company will make you feel much more relaxed and secure even if it is completely dark.
- Wear light and bright colored running clothes with reflective components, especially if there is traffic passing by your running route. This will keep you safe, as the drivers will be able to see you in time and avoid any incidents on the road. You can wear a reflective vest and running shoes with reflective elements to make yourself noticeable from further away.
- Leave your headphones at home. Even if you are used to running with headphones, it is probably a better away to leave them at home for you night runs. Since you vision will be somewhat limited in the dark hours, you will need to be able to rely on your other senses more. Hearing is essential when running in the dark, because you can hear if somebody is approaching you or trying to warn you for a potential danger. If you simply can’t run without your running playlist, then opt for using just one of the earbuds, so that at least one of your ears is open and can hear outside noises.
- Just in case – carry your phone with you, your ID as well as some loose cash. It is safer to be prepared for anything.
- Slow down your pace. Running in the dark is much riskier than running in the light hours of the day, because there are obstacles and uneven areas which you may or may not see in time in the dark in order to avoid them. Even if you have been running for years, consider running at a slower pace when you choose to run at night. Sprinting in the dark is not the best idea in the world!
- Make sure you run with running shoes which provide added protection for running on uneven terrains and which have sufficient traction to keep you protected from slipping if you are planning on running in wet conditions. Many running shoes have added reflective elements to help you stay visible and safe from the incoming traffic.
- Plan your route accordingly and make sure you know it well before going out running in the dark. Don’t try out unexplored routes in the dark hours. It is a good idea to be aware of any possible obstacles, areas with risky traffic, as well as dangerous area where you are likely to get mugged or assaulted, so that you can avoid them or take all necessary precautions to stay out of risk.
- If your running route is on or by a road, remember to always run on the side across the incoming traffic. This will enable you to spot car and vehicles in time, and will also allow the drivers to see you in time to avoid accidents in the dark. Be careful when passing through road bends where you and the incoming drivers have limited visibility. If necessary cross to the other side of the road in such areas. Of course, always be careful when crossing a road – day or night!