As the winter evenings draw in and the mornings stay dark, finding time for a run during daylight hours can be a difficult job. By the time you find the time to get your running gear on, it’s often dark out there, and the early morning run is no better.
But there are ways you can stay safe when running in the dark, like wearing reflective clothing so you can be seen by cars and cyclists. Even when you run during daylight hours in the winter, it’s best to grab your hi vis clothes just in case.
Stay Safe in Well-lit Areas
Winter runs in the dark are not the time to test unknown routes or trails. Stay in well-lit areas or find an outdoor running track where you can put in the miles in safely. If you prefer running trails then find one that’s well-lit so you don’t hit any unexpected potholes.
Ditch the Headphones
You need your wits about you when you run in the dark, so leave the headphones at home and focus on being aware of your surroundings. Make eye contact with road users when you’re crossing roads, and if you have to run in traffic, run against the direction of the traffic so drivers have the maximum opportunity to see you.
Don’t Go Alone
Being safe running at night is all about minimising risks, so try and run with a buddy so you can help each other out if something does go wrong. If you have to run alone, tell someone the route you’re running and how long you’re likely to be running for. Also take an emergency kit including your phone and some ID, in case you do get injured.
Change it Up
Try not to stick to the same routes at the same times, but mix it up. Being predictable can make you a target.
Light it Up
The more visible you are the better, so pile on the reflective clothing and hi vis clothes like a hi vis vest. Be aware that those extra layers will help you warm up more quickly, so think twice before you pile on an extra fleece. A simple flashing bike light clipped to your clothing is a brilliant way to add extra visibility, and don’t forget your head torch – not only will this light your way, but it’ll improve your posture too, because you’ll need to keep your head up!