Running at night is a great way to stay out of the heat of the day, avoid traffic, and spend some quality time with yourself without distractions. With all the benefits of running at night, however, come a few unique safety considerations. Here are a few things that you should bring along on your nighttime run to stay safe – and make the most of your workout.
Wear a Headlamp
Whether you run on trails or on pavement, seeing your surroundings and the path in front of you is key to staying safe on your runs. A lightweight and low-profile headlamp is the perfect tool to add to your nighttime running gear. If you want to take your running preparation a step further, a rechargeable headlamp will ensure that you never lose light on your run. You can plug your headlamp in to charge during the day and be ready to run once the sun sets. Rechargeable headlamps with different lighting modes are a great option for nighttime runners because they allow you to quickly switch between brightness settings to find just the right amount of illumination for conditions. Being able to cycle down is especially great for road runners because it keeps you from blinding oncoming traffic without sacrificing your own ability to see and be seen.
“Why not a flashlight?” you might wonder. Headlamps keep your hands free, so you don’t have to worry about a flashlight slipping from your hand. Having your hands free also allows you to skip songs, mark laps on your activity tracker, and put your light exactly where your eyes need it without interrupting your running stride.
Add Reflective Equipment
It’s been proven that movement makes it much easier for people to spot and identify pedestrians. Therefore, to increase your chances of being seen when running at night, you want to be sure that you’re equipped with reflective items that are properly positioned for maximum visibility. A jacket with a reflective stripe down the back, for instance, will catch a motorist’s attention, but registering it as part of a person isn’t a guarantee. That stripe is relatively stationary when compared to, say, a swinging arm or leg.
When you choose clothing with built-in reflective patches on them, be sure at least some of these reflective patches are located on the arms and legs. Reflective bands that can be fastened to your wrists or ankles are also a great option, since these can be worn year-round, are easy to clean, and can be easily adjusted for personal comfort. Remember, the more movement your areas of reflection are engaged in, the better your odds of being seen.
Prepare for Emergencies
You might be tempted to leave technology behind when you set out for your run, but being able to quickly connect with emergency personnel or your emergency contact is key to your safety and the safety of those you might be sharing the road or trail with. If you want to be undisturbed on your run, setting an automatic notification that lets others know that you’ve received their message is a great way to manage your contacts without interrupting your focus. These notifications also allow others to “push” their notification through your Do Not Disturb settings, so you won’t have to worry about missing truly time sensitive messages.
Another important thing to consider carrying with you on your night run is your emergency medical information. Some companies make sweat-proof bracelets that engrave things like blood type, allergies, medical conditions, and emergency contact numbers. In an emergency, this information gives medical personnel the ability to accurately provide care.
Night running can be a great way to unwind after a hard day at work. It also helps you go to bed feeling refreshed and accomplished. Before you tie on your running shoes and head out into the dark, be sure you’ve equipped yourself for a safe return.