I had myself convinced the end of Daylight Savings Time also meant the end to my running routine, at least until it’s time to “spring forward” again. “Fall back”
in New Hampshire means that the sun rises later and it can be pitch dark outside as early as 4 pm! How was I ever going to get a run in if it was dark outside both before and after my work day? I don’t have a treadmill or fitness club membership. I had been relying on the daylight hours and the neighborhood streets to provide my fitness haven. “Fall back” is not something I wanted to do with regards to the progress I’ve made thus far in my return to fitness.
So, I must now turn to night running. There are many things one must consider when running after dark. It can be quite dangerous if you don’t follow the recommendations I found below on Active.com.
- Run against traffic. It's easier to avoid traffic if you can see it.
- Don't wear dark colors at night. White running attire is the easiest to see at night, but orange and yellow are also appropriate. Black, brown, dark blue or green are not recommended.
- Run behind vehicles at intersections. Even if a car or truck has stopped at a stop sign, there's no guarantee the driver has seen you.
- Don't wear headphones. Wearing headphones diminishes a runner's ability to hear a car horn, a voice or a potential attacker.
- Wear a billed cap and clear glasses. The bill of a cap will hit an unseen tree branch or another obstacle before the obstacle hits your head. Clear glasses will protect your eyes from bugs and other unseen obstacles.
- Vary your routes. A potential attacker can watch for runners' patterns and loom in a particularly dark or isolated area.
- Run with a partner. There's strength in numbers.
- Try to make eye contact and acknowledge a driver. The interaction, however brief, could save your life.
(the bulleted listing above is from Active.com's Tips for Safe Night Runs)
A Facebook ad for Under Armour caught my attention the other day. The headline read: “UA Reflective Run: Shorter Days Don’t Mean Shorter Runs.” Just remember to always be smart, visible, and aware of your surroundings while running after dark. I have started to run in the evenings after work; during the early part of dusk and into the darkness of night. I make sure to wear my reflective vest, brightly-colored clothing, headlamp, and always have a form of identification on me. I leave my headphones at home and find that I don't miss my dance beats all that much. The importance of paying attention to my surroundings and safety mean so much more to me and my loved ones.
What is your favorite safety item to wear while running at night?
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