Running at Night (Safety and Gear)

Running

It is no surprise that running regularly can improve physical and mental health, boost self-confidence, and improve the overall quality of life. When you only run during the day, you limit your options, especially during wintertime when the days are much shorter.

Besides avoiding scalding summer days and embracing the cool breezy nights, running after dark may sync better with some people’s biorhythms and work schedules. Whatever your motivation, you should be cautious when running at night. Here we have the best tips and safety gear recommendations for a seamless physical activity session.

9 Tips for Running at Night

  1. Carry your ID. Whenever running at night, it is best to carry your ID card or a driver’s license, or any other document that will prove helpful if there is a need for first responders to identify and contact your loved ones.
  2. Stick to a familiar route. If you have an adventurous spirit, you might be tempted to explore a new route while on the run. But hold that thought until you are out during the daytime. Only run routes that are familiar to you and ones that are generally crowded. It is also recommended that you switch to a different route now and then, as running the same route may create a pattern for unwanted creeps to track you. Select a few safe routes and keep alternating between them randomly.
  3. Run against the traffic. Facing the traffic as you run will allow you to get a clear view of approaching vehicles and give the drivers a visual of what’s ahead of them. Avoid running during rush hours as it could increase the risk of accidents. Make sure to wear a visor or cap if the headlights are blinding.
  4. Take along a running partner. It is always best to run with a friend, a family member, or as part of a running group since there is more safety in greater numbers. If you are a woman, it is best to avoid running alone in poorly lit or deserted areas.
  5. Always bring your cell phone. A phone is always an excellent addition whenever you go out, especially since it allows you to make calls in an emergency and utilize special tracking apps. You can download an application that allows you to send an emergency message to designated people with the push of a button, who can then locate you through the GPS.
  6. Avoid wearing noise-canceling headphones. Running without powerful music blasting in your ears may sound boring, but it could save your life. If you cannot run without music, opt for regular earphones and try to leave one earbud out so you can hear your surroundings.
  7. Wear brightly colored clothes. There are plenty of reflective and brightly colored garments available in the market that is specifically designed for night runners. Opt for neon green, highlighter-yellow, and bright pink colors visible from a mile away. For added protection, wear a headlamp that will alert vehicles of your presence at night.
  8. Look out for other runners and cyclists. You should still be wary of other runners and cyclists, even running in a park or a path with no cars. Before turning around or stopping, look both ways and see if the path is clear.
  9. Be aware of your surroundings. Lastly, try not to get lost in your thoughts and be aware of your surroundings. Keep track of who is around you, and always keep your gaze ahead on the road. If something feels amiss, trust your instinct and try to escape the situation as quickly as possible.

Top 5 Safety Gear Items to have when running at Night

Besides following the basic safety guidelines when running at night, it is also essential to have the right gear to prevent mishaps. Listed below are our top picks to have as night runners.

  1. Reflective Clothing. When running during nighttime, your goal should be to maximize visibility as much as possible. Wear brightly colored clothes and include items with reflective features, such as leggings, belts, and capris with reflective strips running down the sides.
  2. Flashing safety lights. If you do not want to invest in a special safety light for running, you can use an essential flashlight or even the torch feature of your phone. Simply run with the light pointing forward so that oncoming traffic and people can see you, and you can also see your surroundings and the path more clearly.
  3. Headlights and headlamps. Headlights designed explicitly for runners should be comfortable to wear and rechargeable, so there is no added weight from the heavy batteries.
  4. Pepper spray. Pepper sprays provide added protection, especially if you are a woman, and can be easily stored in your pocket. They are inexpensive and can be bought anywhere, from a local supplies store to the pharmacy. Make sure to check local regulations for legal purposes.
  5. Running belt. A running belt typically offers a “no bounce” feature for a smooth and efficient stride while storing everything from your pepper spray, phone, ID cards, and keys. Wrist wallets work just as well.

Is Running at Night Good for Health?

Running at any time of the day is excellent for your health as long as you don’t over-exert yourself and follow all the safety precautions. Nighttime running relieves stress after a full day of activity since it decompresses the body and boosts the mood. A study done in 2018 suggests that running at night can drastically improve sleep quality, making you fall asleep quicker and helping you stay asleep longer. And if you are struggling with a disturbed circadian rhythm, nighttime running can help re-align it, leaving you tired when it is time to sleep. It is best not to exercise right after eating or before bed.

Conclusion

Running at night offers many benefits and is also an excellent time to unwind and spend quality time with yourself. With the above-mentioned safety tips and recommendations, you, too, can have smooth and safe running sessions.

Sources:

https://www.verywellfit.com/safety-tips-for-running-in-the-dark-2911824

https://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/running-at-night-tips.html

https://www.roadrunnersports.com/blog/love-night-running-these-8-safety-products-are-must-haves

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