With the shorter days ahead after turning back the clocks this past weekend if you want to get any mileage after work you are going to be forced to get it done either in the dark or in the gym. Here are some tips to keep your runs safe and enjoyable!
1. Dress in bright reflective colors and dress appropriately.
You want to be as visible as possible so pick out the brightest clothing you have and possibly a reflective vest or any other reflective items you may have. You should check the weather before and make sure you are dressed warm enough. It's possible in the winter that the temperature will drop drastically over the course of your run and if not dressed warm enough you could end up uncomfortable and a long way from home!
Skora has recently come out with the PHASE X which can further increase your visibility during the night runs. In addition you should be sporting a headlight so that you can see in some of more poorly lit areas of your run and bring more attention to your presence Petzl makes a decent headlight that I have used for the last several years without any issues.
2. If possible run in well lit public areas.
Even though you might be dressed in reflective gear alerting your presence to cars you want to be as visible as possible and running routes that are well lit only helps. Running in well lit public areas is also safer than running on poorly lit desolate roads.
3. Run familiar routes
Running at night can be tricky and while you may do your best to run in well lit areas, you might have to run thorough some areas during the course of your run that are as not well lit. If you are on a route that you routinely run you are more likely to know where the dangerous areas and the pitfalls are vs. a completely new route.
4. Run Without Music.
Since you are already running with less visibility you need to be able to rely on your other senses to alert you to any potential dangers. Leaving the music at home allows you to be alert to your surroundings and react to any potential issues that may come up quickly.
5. Run against traffic
You want to see exactly what is going on in front of you. With more and more distracted drivers these days you want to be able to jump our of the way of an oncoming car if need be. You won't be able to do that if it's coming from behind and you can't see it. Defensive running is what will keep you safe!
6. Run with partners
Running with a training partner can increase the safety factor for both of you. Two or more bodies in reflective clothing will reflect more light to oncoming traffic as well as decrease the likely-hood of unexpected problems.
While not an exhaustive list these tips should get you started to have a great outdoor running season this winter. What tips can you share from your experiences?