It’s winter. Not only is it cold, but it gets light later and gets dark earlier. Unless you are on the treadmill or able to run in the middle of the day, you are going to be running some part of your runs in the dark. And by dark, I mean dusk, dawn, a cloudy day, or a rainy day. That’s right, people, you need to think about visibility pretty much anytime it’s not a sunny day. Maybe you don’t need your flashing headlamp, but dressing in all black is probably not the smartest option. That’s why you should join Patty, April, and myself to discuss running safely in the dark for Tuesdays on the Run this week.
1. Wear bright colored and reflective gear. Unless you are running someplace where there is no chance of being hit by a car or a bicycle (AKA not on the street or a paved trail), you need to be visible. Period.
2. If you are running at night or in the early morning, headlamps, knuckle lights, and clip on flashers are your friends. Not only do you want to be able to see where you are running, but you also want to be seen. This means putting something on your back as well as your front.
3. Run against traffic, or better yet, on the sidewalk.
4. Don’t run with headphones on. Your visual cues are impaired by the dark. You don’t want to not hear a car, a bike, or an attacker.
5. Run in populated and well-lit areas. If you are running alone, this is essential. Nighttime is not the time to take advantage of the paved trails. Just don’t do it.
6. Make sure someone knows your planned route. Oh, and stick to that route.
7. Run with a whistle. I know some suggest pepper spray or mace, but too frequently things like that go wrong.
8. Run with a phone. There are so many options out there now for carrying one that you really have no excuse for not.
9. If your “spidey senses” are tell you something isn’t right, listen to them. Trust your intuition.
10. Don’t run alone. No, really. Find a running group like MRTT or a running store that offers group runs. There truly is safety in numbers. And if you truly have to run alone, see #4.
I have only run in true dark once in my life: Ragnar DC. And let me tell you, Ragnar has serious requirements to keep you safe. But I’ve run as the sun was rising (ok, not often) and I run when the sun is setting, so these are the tips I follow for those runs. And after barely seeing a runner completely dressing black on a rainy day, I will never run in all black again.
What are your tips? I’m sure that there are things I’m not thinking of!