A long time ago I was running around White Rock Lake at 5:30am, enjoying the solitude, the moon that was still giving me some light to run on and the cool brisk morning was making the run so amazing. I was half way into my run and out of nowhere a police officer came right up by me and ask me to stop. I did, he said “Ma’am you might want to change up your routine and you need to wear white or have a light or something.” He proceeded to chastise me for being predictable of what time I was running and that nobody could see me, that moment changed the way I ran in the dark. I wish I could thank that officer but feel I do whenever I get a chance to talk about this topic. Safety is not just having a light, or wearing bright reflective attire. Back in those days I didn’t wear bright clothes, run with people or even run with a headlamp. I just laced up and I was out the door for that much needed run.
While most of us would rather prefer to run during the day with the sun out shinning. However, with busy schedules and the limited hours of daylight hours some runners find the only time they have to run is in the early morning or evening. It’s not ideal to run in the dark, but if that’s your only option here are some tips to keeping it safe while still enjoying your run.
1) Choose a Well-Lit Place RouteWe all know this to be true, it may not be our most favorite route but the most well-lit routes are the safest. This includes any potential hazards on the road or side walk.
2) Run with a Social Run or with a FriendWhat better way to be safe than to run in a group! Get involved with a local social run group in your area, there’s strength and safety in numbers. They have morning and nightly runs that make it fun and safe.
3) Wear Reflective Bright/Light Clothing & High Viz AccessoriesWearing bright or light-colored clothing is essential for running in the dark. It’s important for motorist and other users to be able to see you as soon as possible. So, be on the lookout for flashes of reflectivity on your running clothing. Investing in some high visible accessories such as: Headlamps, hand held lights, lighted vest, lights that you can clip on your hat, waistband or shoes are all great choices. There’s a plethora of accessories out there online or at you local running store.
4) Vary Your Times, Routes & Places You RunPotential attackers study runners’ routines, times and locations. We’ve all seen in the news about runners who have been attacked. The attacker can stage their spot in the dark or isolated area so don’t make yourself an easy target change your routine, times and locations. Don’t make yourself an easy target by running the same route at the same time.
5) Carry a PhoneYou will be able to call police immediately if something does happen or notify them of anything out of the ordinary. There are many great cell phone holders out there, shorts with phone pockets and running leggings that have great support for phones too (Nike & New Balance have great leggings & capris for phones).
6) Be Alert and Watch Out for Bikers and RunnersIt doesn’t matter if you’re running on a path, sidewalk, in a park or on a trail, always be aware of your surroundings and other runners or bikers. Before you stop or turn look side to side and behind you to make sure your path is clear; many runners have been injured due to this. This advice applies to running in the daylight or dark, call it runners’ etiquette.
7) Carry Identification: Road ID, Driver’s License or Shoe TagAlways carry identification with you. Put your drivers license in your pocket. I would consider running with a Road ID or Shoe ID tag, which has emergency numbers on them as well as medical information.
8) Run Against TrafficThis should be anytime of the day or night but it’s imperative when running in the dark. It’s easier to avoid cars when you see them coming plus they can see you better when you are coming toward them.
9) Tell Someone Where You’re GoingTell someone where you’re running and what time you should be back. Call or text someone, it’s that easy especially if you’re solo. It’s always a safe measure to notify people of your whereabouts.
10) Ditch the MusicTry to avoid headphones when running outside, severing the sense of hearing can really serve you as a disadvantage. You can’t hear oncoming cars, runners, bikers and other outside elements. If you need to have music (which I do) set the volume low or leave one earbud out so you can still hear and be cognizant of the outside world.
11) Listen to Your GutDid you know your natural instinct is usually correct? So, if you feel unsure or unsafe in a situation, trust your gut and run to a safe location.
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