It’s that time of the year again – the seasons are changing and the days are unfortunately getting shorter. Which means more running in the dark!
Your morning or evening run, once done in the sparkling sunshine, is now shrouded in darkness.
If you’re lucky, you get the remnants of the day in the form of a beautiful purple sky – one of the best things about running in Autumn (apart of the crunchy leaves, of course).
Running in darkness can be quite liberating, and it doesn’t have to be scary if you prepare in advance.
I’ve been on plenty of evening runs when my schedule allows.
Here are some tips for staying safe whilst running in the dark.
Running in the dark: Wear bright and reflective clothing
Don’t think the street lights are enough to keep you visible and seen.
This is especially important if you’ll be running on busy roads.
You need to be seen by cars, cyclists and even pedestrians when you’re running at night.
Invest in a high visibility jacket or bib. These can often be found at your local sports store.
Amazon also stock lots of options and varieties depending on your budget.
Running in the dark: Run against traffic
If you have to run on a road for all or part of your run, always run against traffic.
This makes it easier to spot traffic as it nears towards you.
Take extra precautions when approaching junctions as drivers may find it difficult to see you, and always stop and look at road crossings.
Running in the dark: Tell someone where and when you’re going
I’d advise you do this for any run, even in the daytime, as it’s always sensible to tell a family member or friend where and when you’ll be running.
For that added peace of mind, take your mobile phone in case you get lost or injure yourself.
I’d also recommend using a location tracking app – more information about these below.
Running in the dark: Plan your route
As a run leader, I plan the running route for my group well in advance, especially in the Autumn and Winter months.
This not only gives you that added peace of mind, but also reduces the probability of you getting lost.
Don’t get me wrong, I love an impromptu adventure as much as the next person, but there’s a time and a place for this, especially at night.
There are plenty of running apps and websites that provide advice on local running routes.
Be sure to check that the route is well-lit and in a safe and well-populated area.
Check that it doesn’t have any major obstacles that may be hard to see in the dark. Stick to roads and paved routes where possible.
Pot holes can be nasty things to avoid when you’re running in the dark.
Running in the dark: Wear a head torch
It’s crazy how hard it is to see the path in front of you when you run in the dark.
A head torch helps to identify pot holes and other obstacles.
As a run leader, I rely on my trusty head torch A LOT to help me guide the way.
It also helps to shine a light on other things which can often be tricky to see such as road signs and bits and bobs on your pocket or bag.
A good torch will set you back about £10-£15 on websites like Amazon.
They’re surprisingly comfortable once you get used to them on your head.
Running in the dark: Don’t wear headphones
I’ve never really been one for listening to music whilst I run as I like to hear my breathing, but I know a lot of runners who love to listen to music.
However, at night time, you need to be more alert to the sights and sounds around you, such as traffic and other people.
With music pumping in your ears makes this a lot more difficult, so I’d advise you ditch the headphones for your nighttime runs.
Running in the dark: Run with friends
There are plenty of running groups out there that offer free runs in the evening.
Running with friends allows you to have an added set of eyes and ears, and gives you that extra motivation to get out and hit the road.
Running in the dark: Consider using a safety app
There are a lot of apps out there that can help to keep you safe on your run, especially if you’re running solo.
These apps provide a whole host of safety features, include location sharing, SOS alarms and alerts.
Here are my top three:
Glympse – good for real-time location sharing via GPS
bSafe – good for SOS alarms and location sharing
Kitestring – good for SMS alerts
Another good idea is to share your location on Whatsapp using the ‘Share live location’ feature.
What other tips and advice do you have for running in the dark? Comment below!