Once darkness encroaches, some people prefer exercising indoors, while others won't mind enjoying the fresh air outdoors. Just because the sun has set doesn't mean you should exercise indoors.
During winter months, running in the dark is always a normal thing as the sun has already set by the time you get off work. Whether you run to keep fit or let out steam after a long day, one of the challenges of running outside at night is lack of visibility.
With most people juggling busy work schedules and parenting, the most convenient time to work out is in the evening hours, but how safe is it?
This article discusses the various tips to stay visible and safe at night jogging. It also includes the several benefits of running at night.
How to Stay Visible and Safe During Night Running
Once darkness sets in, your vision and that of other road users becomes compromised. Therefore, you'll need essential tools and tips to help you and other road users. How will you ensure safety? This is how you can stay visible:
#1. Wear a Head lamp or use a Runner's Flashlight
Want some extra light? Consider getting a runner’s flashlight or head lamp. These tools help you direct illumination and boost night vision to avoid hazards during the night. Solely relying on street lights isn't recommended because when you reach poorly-lit places or areas where the street lights are broken, you'll be left in the dark.
As you shop for a runner's light, opt for a small but mighty one with bright light. A hand-held runner's flashlight enables you to aim the beam more accurately. A headlamp, on the other hand, frees all your hands. Wondering where to buy quality light accessories? Night Buddy is the leading brand in offering quality products.
#2. Wear Reflective Clothing
Bright-coloured clothing can increase your visibility during the day. However, after darkness, these clothes alone aren’t enough. You’ll need to crank up your visual volume before heading out for your evening run to stand out against low-beam vehicle headlights.
Make it easy for other road users to notice you by wearing the following:
a. Reflective Vests to Give You 360-Degree Visibility
You can wear vests with reflective tape over your shirt to highlight your image, enabling people to easily spot you. Most vests are made of silver and bright yellow mesh reflectors. In addition, they feature a breathable design and a full motion range, thus a fantastic choice for your daily runs.
b. Running Belts, Armbands and Wristbands Made of Reflective Material
You can add reflective pieces like a running belt, wrist band and arm band to your running gear. While these items seem tiny, their effects are significant.
For one, they trace your frame to drivers and other bikers or fellow runners. In addition, some wristbands have hook-and-loop fasteners and can be attached to backpacks and bikes to further enhance visibility.
c. Other Running Accessories
Besides the above-mentioned safety gear, you can always opt for other unique products to add to your ensemble. These includes flashing safety lights, stickers, technical fabrics that light up, reflective shoelaces and magnetic clop-on patches.
While shopping for reflective gear, you'll come across various colour options. Red, green and silver are commonly used as they stand out against the darkness. Remember, the more reflective accessories you wear, the higher the chances of someone in the distance spotting you.
#3. Be Mindful of Traffic
While it is vital to maintain your visibility during your evening run, it is equally essential to up your vigilance around motorists. During the night, always assume that motorists can't see you; therefore, it is up to you to take care of yourself. Or force them to see you!
Here are some additional safety measures on the road:
- Check both ways before crossing a street
- Be on the lookout for drivers running red lights (never walk in front of a car waiting to make a right-hand turn)
- Give additional distance while crossing in front of an approaching vehicle
- Be extra cautious, as most late-night drivers might be impaired
#4. Plan Your Route Before Your Run
Some people have a favourite route that they tend to follow every day. While this may sound perfect, sticking to a single route isn't ideal. Besides aiding in your fitness, having several running routes ensures unpredictability, making it harder for you to be a victim of targeted crime.
Another thing you should remember is that running on a route during the day can't be the same as doing the same in the dark. Therefore, it is essential that you preplan your night-time routines, as navigating those routes will be more challenging at night.
The good news? Finding running routes has been made easier thanks to the numerous apps and websites available today. Alternatively, you can talk to your friends and inquire about the safety of potential running areas.
#5. Keep Things Simple
Rather than running on a 10-mile route, consider running along a 5-mile loop twice. This way, you stay closer to home. Ensure you perform proper warm-up exercises and have a healthy snack before heading out. If you have been sitting all day, you can walk the first few metres to prevent tight muscles or injuries.
#6. Have a Look at Your Route Before Your Run
Are you running on a familiar route or not? After darkness has settled in, it will be harder to spot hazards. Therefore, if you have found a new route, it is wise to go for a run during the day to gather intel.
During the day, you can notice hidden steps or elevation differences between a paved path and the surrounding area that could twist your ankles. You will also be able to spot areas under construction and make a mental note to avoid bumping into them during your run.
Another essential tip to remember when running a new trail at night is to start slow. Once you've had a feel of the terrain, you can pick up the pace.
#7. Bring a Buddy and Some Essential Items
Besides being a fantastic way to make your run more fun-filled, bringing a friend increases your safety margin. If an emergency occurs, your running partner will get you the help you need.
However, it is unlikely that your friend will be joining you for every run. If this is the case, make it a habit to let your friends or family members know whenever you're headed out for your run and what time you'll be back.
Alternatively, you can share your location with them so that they can locate you in case of an emergency. There are apps with functions that alert your emergency contacts if you are in need of help. You can also bring your furry friend for an extra layer of protection.
Some essentials to bring along include:
- Mobile phone
- Pepper spray
#8. Run Against Traffic
Using the left side of the road gives drivers a clear view of what is in front of them and allows you to see what is coming your way. Avoid working out along busy roads or during rush hours. Instead, opt for less-congested trails. In addition, sidewalks are safer to run on than streets.
#9. Wear Glasses and a Cap
A cap and glasses shield you from low-hanging objects. Glasses prevent debris and bugs from entering your eyes. If you wear prescription glasses, it is advisable to keep them on during your runs. If this isn’t the case, consider getting a pair of protective goggles.
#10. Ditch the Headphones
Unfortunately, music isn’t your best companion during night runs. As already mentioned, your vision is compromised in the darkness, leaving you to rely on your hearing abilities to maintain awareness of your surroundings. Besides, running with your headphones plugged in distracts you, making you easy prey to suspicious characters.
Benefits of Running at Night
Although safety should always be your number one concern, running at night isn’t as scary as you may think. Here are some of the benefits associated with it:
Ensuring an Active Lifestyle
Encouraging Healthy Habits
Improving Sleep: You are likely to sleep better after an evening run. Schedule a few hours to bedtime to get the most out of this workout routine.
Once in a while, take a break from your busy life and go for an evening run. While running at night is beneficial for your health and habits, staying safe at night while running comes first. From using flashlights and lamps to wearing reflective gear that give you 360-degree visibility, there are several tips to stay visible and safe as you wind down with an evening run.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Can You Stay Visible When Running at Night?
Here are tips for running at night to ensure you are visible to other road users during your morning run:
- Wear a headlamp
- Wear a reflective vest
- Wear reflective belts, wristbands and armbands
- Add other reflective accessories like shoelaces to your ensemble
How Can I Not Be Afraid of Running in the Dark?
The major cause of fear during night running is safety concerns. Therefore, your fear will slowly fade if you consider safety tips during your run.
Here is how to not be afraid when running in the dark:
- Take a friend or dog with you
- Share your location with your loved ones
- Ditch headphones
- Run against traffic
- Wear reflective gear
- Wear a headlamp or carry a flashlight
- Run in well-lit areas
Is Night-Time Running Safe?
Running during dark hours poses safety concerns as your vision is impaired during the night. However, there are several ways to ensure you stay visible to motorists and other road users and enjoy your run.
For instance, you can wear a headlamp, reflective clothing and other accessories like reflective shoelaces.
When we talk about extra light to aid your night running, we aren’t referring to streetlights and lanterns. For decades, NightBuddy has manufactured a vast collection of light solutions ideal for your night workouts.
From our hands-free headlamps and beanies to hand-held flashlights, we are home to unique solutions for common problems. Get in touch with us today.