Many people schedule runs at or around nighttime, when it is sufficiently dark outside. Although it is a common practice, running in the dark still carries its dangers and should be carried out with caution.
An important thing to remember is that safety should take precedence over completing workouts or improving your times. Although you can always reschedule your exercises to a more ideal time, getting injured can prevent you from running for an extended period of time.
Gear for running at night
When running at night, wear reflective materials or bright colors so you can be easily seen. It is important that other people, especially drivers, can see you from a distance. To ensure this, you can wear something like a reflective vest. These can be bought in many places for under twenty dollars.
You can also wear flashing lights on your front and back for extra visibility. Generally, waist belts, arm bands, or bracelets suffice. Waist belts generally cost under twenty dollars and bracelets armbands generally cost under ten.
General night running safety tips
- Stay on well lit routes as much as you can
- If you need to stay near home, choose a shorter route to run several times instead of a longer route that you would usually run on
- Do not bring headphones at night, as they impair your hearing. Since it is harder to see, it is more important to be able to hear everything around you.
- Don’t do any speed training at night. Although this may seem like common sense, it is important to remember that running more slowly gives you more time to take in your surroundings and gives other people more time to see you and react accordingly.
- Run with friends if you can. It is safer to run with other people, and having more people means you’re all more easily seen. Running with more people means it’s easier to spot vehicles or other people outside. If you can’t run with other people, at least run in populated areas.
- Bring your phone with you and make sure the battery is full before you head out. This is general good advice, but is even more important at night. Phone maps can give you a better idea of your location if it is too dark to easily tell. Having your phone with you also means you can quickly call an emergency line if you need to.
- Keep your eyes ahead of you and make sure you can see the ground when running. Since it’s darker, it’s harder to see steps, roots, curbs, or anything else that could trip or injure you.