Busy schedules, family life and the preponderance of Spring marathons can mean that in Autumn and Winter months of training, we are often out there in the dark. Running gives us escape, thinking time and routine, and running in the dark shouldn’t take any of those things away. Being aware of your and others’ safety during the darker months is really important, and here we give you our top advice on staying safe when running in the dark.
There are a number of ways you can make yourself safe by being seen. Investing in good quality hi-vis (high visibility) clothing and accessories is a must. Look for reflective snap bands you can pop around your arms and ankles, tights and tops with reflective strips and fluorescent or reflective jackets. It’s also a great idea to invest in a decent lightweight head torch that makes you visible to on-comers as well as lighting the way for you.
You don’t need to announce to your social media followers every time you go for a run, but it’s a good idea to tell someone when you are going and how long you expect to be out for. Leave a note or send a text message with basic information about your intended route, so you can be easily located if you are away longer than expected.
It’s worth experimenting with routes before the dark mornings and nights hit, so that you don’t get caught out. Take a good look around you on your regular runs to make sure you are aware if they are lit and suitable for those darker runs. Some pathways have no lighting at all so make sure they aren’t in your plans unless you are going to run them during the daytime. Look for roads and paths with good lighting to make sure you can be seen, and to ensure you don’t get caught out with unsafe conditions underfoot.
Running can often be our only escape from being tied to our phone all day, so it can be nice to leave it behind. But if running in the dark, it’s probably safest to take it with you. Try to find a compromise by switching your phone off or into silent mode and stashing it somewhere you won’t be tempted to keep checking it. Remember it’s there as a lifeline in case you end up in trouble, and it’s worth having with you just in case.
We are a community of people who like to share, whether that’s injury stories, achievements or pieces of great advice. But in dark conditions, it’s best not to share your regular run and routine online. Sharing a run you do at the same time every day on apps or on your social media may leave you at risk. Check out features on trackers like Strava that allow you to make your activities completely private, or allow you to hide sections of your route such as your home address if that’s where you run from.