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Staying Safe When Running in the Dark

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 16 Mar 2012 | comments*Discuss
Running In The Dark Running At Night

In winter, darker mornings and evenings mean that you need to take extra care when out running or jogging. There is certainly no need to curtail any fitness regime just because it’s winter.

However, there are a few important adjustments and considerations you should make when running in the dark.

Wear Reflective Clothing

Just like cyclists, you should wear brighter coloured clothing preferably and you can buy specialist sportswear which comes already designed with in-built reflective panels. Alternatively, buy fluorescent strips which you can fix onto your existing clothing. Not only will this allow motorists to see you at distance in the event that you are about to cross a road or you’re running along a road with no pavement, it’ll be easier for other pedestrians and cyclists to see you as well.

A head torch, similar to one worn by climbers or cavers, is also an additional safety feature you might wish to consider.

Always Face Oncoming Traffic

Especially where there are no pavements, you should always run on the side of the road facing oncoming traffic. The only time you would run on the other side of the road is if you’re approaching a blind spot on the corner. This would apply to any runs you go on even in daylight, but it is especially important at night.

Leave The Music At Home

Many people prefer to run whilst listening to music but if it’s dark, it’s best to leave your music at home. Without the same degree of visibility all around you, you’ll need to rely on your hearing more to assess any risks such as cars approaching or cyclists.

In fact, when you run in the dark, it sometimes takes a bit of time for your senses to adjust so, as it gets dark each winter, it’s often better to start off running at night in more well-lit areas first of all until your senses get acclimatised.

Vary Your Route

Runners often like to stick to the same route each time in order to monitor their performance against the clock. However, in the dark, you should vary both your route and the time you go out for a run as some potential attackers will see a lone runner, especially a woman, as a prime target and will try to monitor your movements if you come by the same route at the same time each time you go out.

In fact, where it’s possible, you should always consider running along with a friend or a group of runners in the dark as there is always the ‘safety in numbers’ aspect on your side.

Other Tips

The chances are that you’re not going to be attacked but it’s always useful to carry a mobile phone with you in the event of that occurring or, indeed, in case you were to suffer a fall or trip and couldn’t move so that you’re able to summon help.

It’s always advisable to let somebody know what time you’re going out and what time you’re likely to be back, including your proposed route so that if you’re not back by the expected time, they can raise the alarm.

All of this advice should not put you off running in the dark. Much of it is all about common sense and there are absolutely no reasons why you should feel that you must refrain from your running regime, just because it’s dark. The only difference being that you just need to exercise a little more caution.

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