You don’t have to be a Game Of Thrones fan to know that the night is dark and full of terrors, especially for runners! If you’re wondering what you should wear to run at night or planning your first after-dark dash, these 6 tips will help keep you safe and injury free.
1. Keep your head on a swivel
Be aware of your surroundings at all times. Paying close attention to where you are and what’s going on around you will give you those few extra seconds of reaction time that can make all the difference. If you wear headphones, keep music low enough that you can hear clearly. Always remember - if you feel something is wrong- RUN AWAY. It’s always better to be embarrassed than hurt.
2. Run where you know
Night runs can be exciting and energizing if you’re traversing a route you know well. An area you’re accustomed to running during daylight hours can yield new challenges after dark, as low light conditions challenge your coordination and spatial awareness. But stay safe! As part of your planning process, visit your favorite route after dark to determine whether you feel as comfortable there during evening hours as you do during the day.
3. Run against traffic
You are not a bicycle. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says, “"Walk (or run) on sidewalks, if available; if no sidewalk, walk (or run) facing traffic." If you’re moving with traffic, it can be difficult to sense oncoming cars till they’re close behind you. Drivers can be distracted, or may have difficulty seeing you if you’re facing away. Regardless of what is going on with the drivers around you, you’ll certainly be aware of cars if you’re paying attention and facing oncoming traffic.
4. Carry ID
In the event of an emergency, carry identification. Most running apparel has an ID/key pocket but you can also keep your ID in your sock. There are wrist pouches specifically designed for an ID and keys. Or, consider getting a reflective metal tag engraved with your information and lace it onto your shoe.
5. Run with a friend
Safety in numbers! Running with a buddy is fun and doubles your chances in the event of trouble. Two people (or more) are likely to scare off any unsavory characters in the area and in the event of an injury, one of you can get help while the other rests.
6. Wear reflective, brightly colored clothing
Light and bright! Wear brightly colored (neon is a great option) and reflective clothing like Nighttech socks and sleeves from CEP! Nighttech features highly reflective neon colored dots on the back of each sock and sleeve to ensure maximum visibility along with graduated compression to increase circulation, prevent shin splints, DOMS and common overuse injuries.
A reflective vest that can be worn over regular clothing is an inexpensive and effective option, as are headlamps and small blinking lights that can be clipped to clothing.
Don’t let the dark stop you. During hot weather, running in the evening is a great way to stay active and cool. It’s also important to be able to continue training in the fall and winter when the days get shorter and visibility is poor. Running at night means moving through a world that feels quiet and cool, so you can focus on each step. Put on your reflective gear, stay sharp, and enjoy an awesome after-dark experience!