5 Things: Night Running

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With the days getting shorter, night running becomes inevitable if you want to keep active and not turn into a couch potato over the winter months. While running at night is definitely an option, there are some safety issues to take into consideration before hitting the road. By following these five tips you should be able to improve your chances of staying safe in the dark and making night running less hazardous.

1. Start Slowly

While you might be an experience day runner, night running is a whole different game. Not being able to see obstacles in your path, big and small, can pose a real threat to any runner. For that reason its best to start off slowly when first venturing out into the dark. Once you become familiar with the reduced levels of visibility, there is no reason why you can’t get back to your previous, daytime pace.

2. Bring Your Own Light

Even if there are street lights and vehicles on the road, bringing your own source of light can make a real difference. One of the best options for runners is to get yourself a head lamp. This frees up your hands and gives you a beam of light at eye level, where you need it most.

When choosing a light, the brighter the better. Two great options we’ve reviewed are the Led Lenser H7 and the H14 head lamps. Both come highly recommended and are as good as it gets when it comes to torches for runners. To make the most of your running torch, make sure you carry some spare batteries!

3. Luminous Gear

While a torch is great for lighting the way, making yourself more visible to oncoming traffic is an essential safety precaution to take. When selecting your running gear for a night run, always choose something that is luminous and will make you stand out on the road. While bright luminous colours might not be the most flattering in the daylight hours, at night they come into their own and can be an invaluable piece of kit. Remember, it doesn’t have to be clothing as lots of accessories are available in luminous options.

4. Flashing Lights

Flashing lights can prevent you being mistaken for a fixed object when its dark and you are out on the roads at night. Flashing lights can also bring more attention to you in the dark which is always a good thing when out running. While a white front light that flashes isn’t the best idea, unless you enjoy the strobe effect, opting for a rear red LED light that flashes is the best choice. For the best results get one that can be fixed to your head torch band at the back for maximum visibility.

5. Common Sense

When choosing your routes, be sensible and apply common sense. Don’t take on unfamiliar routes in the dark, and pay extra attention on busy roads. While an mp3 player can provide great motivation in the day, at night it decreases your already diminished senses and along with the reduced visibility can be a dangerous combination. When selecting a route, picking one with pavements is almost always going to be safer than sharing your track with cars and bikes.

Hopefully these tips haven’t put you off night running, and have instead given you some ideas on improving your safety levels when running in the dark.

Image credit: Midnight Marathon

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