It’s winter, and there aren’t nearly as many daylight hours as we’d like — all too often, same goes for mileage. But, fret not! There are things you can do to make running at night both safe and fun! Your running window just opened up a little bit wider thanks to these handy running at night safety tips.
Active Reflectivity: So you can see
The most obvious and straightforward way to safely run at night is to have some kind of bright light source to illuminate your path. Most runners will use either a headlamp or a handheld flashlight to see, and these are measured in lumens. There are many different types on the market with different modes and intensities and strobe modes, which are all personal preferences for the user. Among them, I prefer and recommend something with at least 200 lumens and a rechargeable battery.
Passive Reflectivity: So others can see you
The next most important safety piece to include in your arsenal is reflective apparel. While a lot of running apparel comes with subtle reflective strips, it’s recommended to also wear an additional reflective vest. These vests are just a combination of reflective strips (material that becomes bright when light is shined on it, i.e. a car’s headlight) and neon colors that are naturally bright. The goal of this reflectivity is to be seen by others, especially motor vehicles.
Run against traffic on sidewalks
Seems a little counterintuitive at first, but trust us on this one. Not only can cars see you as you’re approaching them on the road, but you will see them coming more clearly when you’re running against traffic. It’s safer than running with traffic because cars aren’t going to be sneaking up behind you, unbeknownst to you.
If you’re someone who normally likes to run with headphones, leave them at home when you go for a night run. You want to be as aware of your surroundings as possible, especially when your vision is much more diminished than usual. You want your other senses to be fully functioning so you’re ready for anything and everything.
Run with a group
Safety in numbers! Find some other crazies to join you in your night runs to help keep each other safe. People are much less vulnerable in groups. If you’re looking for people to run with, oftentimes your local run specialty shop will have group runs at their shops after close!
Carry your phone and ID
You might like to carry as little as possible when you’re running during the day, but it’s good to have communication and identification methods with you on your night run. In the event that something does happen to you on your run, you and any kind of medical needs can be identified, and you also have a form of communication too. While both are recommended, one is better than none!
Use common sense
Thomas Paine said it best, and we still echo it as the most important safety tip to running at night. Your common sense is your best friend; be aware of your surroundings, trust your gut and make yourself seen. If you think something is a bad idea during your night run, then it probably is. Other than that, you’re now equipped with what you need in order to hit the roads past sundown!