Running in the dark…

Now that my job has started back up with the next semester, I’ve found myself running in the dark on several occasions…. I did this all winter last year, but that doesn’t mean I enjoy it! In fact, I quite dislike it :) Last year, I typically ran with my running buddy, Kelly. However, this year our schedules are more difficult to align, and we haven’t made it out together yet :/ As a result, I’m running in the dark….by myself! This is neither recommended, nor desired, it’s just what’s been happening. However, as I was running in the dark on Tuesday, I was thinking over the possibility of how some runners may not know proper attire to wear when running in the dark, what precautions to follow, and where the best areas to run are. So, here’s my two cents about night (or early morning) running!

1) Wear a headlamp, or carry a flashlight. This is not only so that you can SEE, but so that motorists can see you. I personally prefer to run with a headlamp, but full disclosure–they usually aren’t as bright as a flashlight. So, if you’re running by yourself in a VERY dark area, it might be safer to run with a small flashlight. I can see fine with my headlamp, just not very far in front of me.

2) Wear reflective clothing! This is the key. If you have a headlamp or flashlight, a driver could mistake that as another car’s headlight from far away. Reflective clothing makes it nearly impossible for them to mistake you for anything other than a crazy runner :) Most winter clothing is equipped with reflective strips, but a good way to check before buying it is to go in a darker area of the store, take a picture of the clothing, and see if it lights up. I have two main winter running outfits I wear, and I had my husband take a picture of me in both. Each of these are in total darkness with only my headlamp/flashlight on. Essentially, this is what I look like to an on-coming motorist.

Here I am wearing a jacket with a lot of reflective strips, my mittens are reflective, my pants have reflective spots, and my shoes are reflective.

Here I am wearing a jacket with a lot of reflective strips, my mittens are reflective, my pants have reflective spots, and my shoes are reflective.

In this picture, my earwarmer is reflective, my jacket is VERY reflective, I have my reflective mittens, and then my shoelaces are reflective.

In this picture, my earwarmer is reflective, my jacket is VERY reflective, I have my reflective mittens, and then my shoelaces are reflective.

3) Try and run on roads that are low-traffic during the time of day/night you’re running. If it’s impossible to pick a low-traffic road, at least try and pick one that has a wide shoulder. That way if a driver doesn’t see you, at least you should have plenty of room in your lane.

4) Always, ALWAYS run against traffic. You have to be able to see the car coming at you. That way if they don’t see you, you can jump into the ditch before getting hit!

5) If at all possible, run with a buddy! In the dark, a motorist could easily mistake you for an animal, street sign, or just not see you. If you run with a buddy, you increase the likelihood that you’ll be seen. Two bodies running, two sets of flashlights, two sets of reflective gear, and two sets of eyes to watch out!

Make sure you’re careful when running in the dark (or anytime)! Sometimes, even if you do all the right things, a motorist won’t see you. I heard earlier this week a story about a runner who was killed by a drunk driver. She was doing everything right and it still didn’t help… You can consider running a few miles in memory of her on Saturday. Here’s the info. Be careful out there!

Also, just wanted to let you all know to be watching my posts next week! I will be doing a Pro Compression Sock raffle giveaway on the blog!!

 

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