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Running in the dark

by Jim Ransom

Safety Tips for Running in the dark

Arghh It’s already started to get late early. This means we are having to start making the shift to running in the dark. Many of us really dislike running in the dark, so if you are going to do it you need to consider how you do it safely. Winter is the time when the hard miles of Marathon preparation is traditionally done. Whether you choose to run early morning or late evening, there are things that you need to consider in order to remain safe whilst out on your run.

Here are my top tips for staying safe while running in the dark

1: Avoid loud music

Listening to music is a great way to stay motivated, but keeping your headphones plugged in top volume can be distracting, keeping you from staying alert to what's happening around you. When lighting conditions are poor, it's difficult to see obstacles, vehicles and other runners! Reducing your hearing means you're less likely to be aware of oncoming cars, people and animals. Use a low volume setting on your running headphones to ensure you're still aware of what's going on around you. Use your hearing to supplement your sight to stay safe.

2: Stay visible

Wearing light coloured and Hi-Viz clothing is essential for running in the dark. It's important for drivers and other people to be able to see you, so invest in running gear with reflective detailing. Always ensure you're visible from the front and the back so both directions of traffic will see you.

3: Lights

If running in the early morning or late at night is commonplace for you, consider investing in a head or chest light to ensure not only you can see the path ahead, but others can see you too. There are many different lights available and it's great to look around to see what you prefer, ask experienced running friends for tips. Not everyone likes wearing head torches, so a torso light is a good alternative, these have red lights that will be clearly visible from behind. You don’t need to spend a huge amount of money on a light, but any light is a good investment and a potential lifesaver

4: Run with a friend or a group

The age-old adage is true; there is safety in numbers. As the days get shorter. run with a friend or join us at one of our club runs to give you the support and motivation you need to keep running in the dark.

5: Tell someone where you're going

It might sound extreme but It's always a good idea to tell someone where you’re going, especially if you are venturing away from the relative safety of areas with street lighting. Whether it’s a quick text to a friend or telling someone at home, ask them to contact you if they don’t hear from you after your expected time home.

6: Take your phone

If you don’t fancy telling someone every time you pop out for a run, carry your phone with you just in case. It’s so easy now to carry your phone with lightweight and sweat-wicking phone holders - and it means you can use your favourite run-tracking apps like Strava on the go.

7: Run against traffic

When running in poor light, always run against the traffic so you can see any potential dangers coming. You’re much more likely to be able to get out the way quickly of cars or road users if you can see them first. Be aware of headlights too; if you see flashes of light coming round a corner or a busy road, avoid crossing until the vehicle has passed.

8: Well-lit route

It’s important for you to be able to see your surroundings too. Stick to well-lit routes to reduce your risk of tripping or stumbling. If you're trail running or running in rural areas where there is no light, be sure to wear running lights and Hi-Viz clothing.

A final word

Follow these simple tips and you will remain safe through the darker weeks, run strong and above all enjoy your running and stay injury-free.

A good run can help you feel calmer and generally less anxious and will prove to be a healthy way to cope through tough times.

Jim Ransom
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