With the autumn in full swing and daylight saving time about to end, UK runners will need to make the shift to running in the dark. Whether you are running in the early morning or the evening, running in the dark brings it’s own set of challenges and things to be aware of.
Don’t let the need to run in the dark affect your training. Here at the Kirkbymoorside 10k we’ve put together x tips to keep you safe whilst you are out running this Autumn and Winter.
1) Dress to be seen
Okay this is a bit obvious and you might think it’s like telling Granny to suck eggs but you would be surprised just how many runners I see out wearing dark clothing that is about as reflective as a mucky dish-cloth. Of course it’s difficult for drivers to see runners in the dark, so why make it harder on them by wearing non-reflective, dark clothing. Make sure to wear bright colours with reflective material so that you stand out as you running.
2) Light it up
There’s two elements to this. Having lights makes it even easier for drivers to see you – on top of wearing bright reflective clothing. But without lights it’s hard for you to see the path ahead of you underfoot. There’s such a wide selection of lights, especial headlights, on the market that are small and light that will make sure you see where you are going and that you are seen.
3) Listen up
For some people listening to tunes on your run is a great to keep you going, just not in the dark. When you’re running in the dark you need to rely on all of your senses and not just your sight. Leave the headphones at home and hear any potential dangers.
4) Keep oncoming traffic on your side of the road
The proper place to run is on the side of the road that has oncoming traffic. Sounds crazy to some, but think about it. It is much easier to get out of the way of an oncoming vehicle if you can see it coming at you. Add to this the head torch your are wearing from item 2 and drivers will be far clearly of an oncoming hazard to them.
5) Run with a buddy
Running with someone else, or even a group, has a few advantages. Firstly is reduces the risk of someone accosting you. You’ll also have a friend to keep you motivated plus an extra pair of eyes, and ears, to stay on the lookout for anything hazards or anything strange.
6) Take the dog
If you have a dog and it’s capable of running your distance then take it with you. It’s another deterrent to potential attackers but also their senses are far great than our own and they can alert you to potential dangers.
7) Plan you route wisely
If you are used to running on trails maybe you need to rethink your winter running. Yes, it’s nice and peaceful when running on trails, however you are an easy target for potential attackers. Plus, even with a head torch, the perils on a trail could lead to a nasty fall from an unseen hazard. Stick to well lit areas, it may be a bit boring, but at least you’re safer.
8) Stay contactable
Take a your mobile phone with you. Making sure you can make contact with someone in an emergency and that you’re contactable by family and friends is also very sensible. There’s plenty of ways to carry a phone nowadays, and as the dark nights bring with them the colder weather the chances are you’ll be wearing a running jacket with pockets anyway.
9) Know who you are?
Take some form of identification with you on your run. You never know when it might be needed. If you did get into an accident the emergency services will need to contact your family. Also make sure to set the ICE number (in case of emergency) or leave the pass code off.
10) Pay attention
Always pay attention to what’s around you – no matter how many precautions you take to keep yourself safe. Trust your instincts and if something doesn’t feel right, move away from the possible danger quickly. It’s got to be better being a little over cautious than seriously injured or dead!
Do you have any other tips to stay safe when running in the dark? Comment below.