Use these 10 tips for running at night to stay safe while you stick to your race and fitness goals. The night world of running is when everything familiar changes as sunlight fades, streetlights and headlights appear and you seem to disappear as far as drivers are concerned. Running at night requires you to make sure you can be seen. You must pay attention to detail for safety.
- Wear reflective clothing. Use a running jacket that has significant areas of reflectivity. If it’s too hot for a jacket, use a reflective safety vest, which is much cooler. Don't rely on just the tiny reflective stripes on your shoes to make you visible.
- Run with a partner. There’s safety in numbers when running at night. Having someone to talk with makes things more fun. You also have more sets of eyes looking out for potential hazards to avoid when you have running pals with you.
- Wear a light as a personal beacon. There are clip-on and magnetic lights available. Some can be set to blink, which gets more attention than a steady light. Wear one in front and one in back for excellent visibility.
- Run on the left side of the road, facing traffic. If the road is busy, run on the sidewalk. Never get close to cars. Think twice about running on uneven, unpaved surfaces at night where you can easily trip and twist an ankle.
- Stay alert. Don’t wear headphones or earbuds. Assume and act as though you are invisible to drivers. Even if you are lit up like a Christmas tree, you may not be noticed.
- Stay in fairly populated, lit areas. Avoid super dark places where you may become an easy mark for crime. You can see where you’re running when you stay where there's some light. Plan to stay away from places where you are completely alone.
- Carry identification. Carry a charged cell phone but hide it so thieves won’t be tempted to mug you. Let somebody know where you’re going. Let them know when you will be back.
- Carry a little money with you. You might need to pay for a cab or an extra drink. Of course, keep your money concealed. Use a safety pin to pin bills to the inside of your shirt or shorts.
- Stay hydrated. Bring water with you in a water belt, especially for runs lasting over an hour. Make sure you drink before you run, too. In hot weather, water is especially important, even at night.
- Wear a reflective running cap with a visor. When cars with headlights blaring come toward you, dip the hat slightly. This way you are not completely blinded by high beams. Also, the reflective part of the hat will make you stand out even more for drivers.
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