During the winter months, the days get shorter and the nights longer. Those who are regular runners will testify how difficult it becomes to find enough daylight hours in which to train. Ultimately, this makes running in the dark largely unavoidable.
Even in street lit areas, running in the dark still provides certain challenges that can be a direct risk to your safety or lead to injuries that could easily be avoided. Anyone who regularly trains under these circumstances can limit these risks by taking a few simple precautions.
Make yourself visible
Wearing high visibility clothing, reflectors and lights will make it easier for others to see you. This can help collisions with other pedestrians and more importantly, will make sure vehicle drivers take notice of you. Not only is high visibility clothing reasonably priced, it is also potentially lifesaving. Be seen, be safe.
Pay attention on the roads
Always run on the right hand side of the road, facing oncoming traffic. It is much easier to avoid potential incidents if you can see vehicles approaching. It’s also very sensible to avoid listening to music as well, to make sure you can hear what’s going on. It’s never a good idea to rely on drivers to notice you and drive defensively, so you need to be alert at all times.
Don’t run alone
Not only is running more enjoyable with a training partner, it’s safer too. An extra set of eyes and ears will give you a much better chance of avoiding potential hazards. Furthermore, if you sustain an injury, even a minor ankle sprain, then having someone with you will ensure you don’t end up either stranded, or worsening the injury by trying to continue without support.
Be aware of your surroundings
Try to avoid running on unknown routes. Failing to see sudden changes in the surface can lead to serious injuries, that are easily avoided by using common sense. If you must run on uneven or rough terrain, ensure you carry a head torch, with batteries, so you can see the ground you are running over. It’s also important to be aware of potential hazards, including other runners, walkers, or other obstructions that can potentially be dangerous. It’s all too easy to ‘zone out’ on a run, which may be low risk in the day, but in low light it’s just not sensible.
Running at night is unavoidable during the winter months, but sustaining injuries can be avoided if the right precautions are taken.