Tuesdays on the run: running in the dark

by lachicaruns on

Once again, I’m joining Tuesdays on the run with MCM Mama Runs, My No Guilt Life and Marcia’s Healthy Slice to encourage runners with each other and with new blogs to enjoy. Today’s theme is night races, but since I’ve not done one, I’ll share some tips on running when it’s dark.

A couple of my friends and I have been running in our neighborhood at 5:15 in the morning. And let me tell you, it’s dark. Here’s how we make sure we stay safe:

  1. Light up. We wear head lamps and one of my friends carries a light in her hand to light our path. This way any approaching cars can see us coming and we can see the sidewalk so we don’t trip and break our necks. Some runners wear knuckle lights or carry flashlights.
  2. Reflect it the heck up. Wear clothes with reflective strips or wear things like reflective bracelets, vests or even shoe laces. If the driver doesn’t see your light, you will light up like a Christmas tree when their headlights hit you. My friend Winona found some reflective arm bands at the dollar store. Score!
  3. Don’t go alone if you can absolutely help it. This morning, there were four of us. There’s safety in numbers, not just with being seen but also with the typical worries of running alone in the dark. A couple of us carry pepper spray; check on your state’s laws as there are some limitations in some states.
  4. Run opposite traffic. Always a good tip but more important when they are less likely to see you. We run mostly on sidewalks and listen to our mothers and even look both ways before crossing the road.
  5. Trust your gut. If that little voice is telling you not to go through a certain area or you hear a noise that makes you uncomfortable, listen. Better to be safe than put yourself in a dangerous situation.
  6. Keep it quiet. No music/Audible while running when it’s dark, but if you must, leave the volume down and only wear one bud. This will help you listen for any approaching vehicles, people or dogs.
  7. Leave breadcrumbs. And by breadcrumbs, I mean leave a note or message letting a friend or loved one know when you left, where you’re going and when you expect to be back. That way, someone will be alerted if you’re delayed or MIA.
  8. Wear or bring ID. I used to carry an expired driver’s license in my pocket, but now wear a Road ID, which lists basic information about myself, in case of emergency contacts and an allergy to a type of medication.
  9. Be unpredictable. Vary where you run and the times you do so. You don’t want to be predictable and become a target.
  10. Sign up for a race. Just because you don’t run early or late on a regular basis, a night race and all of the race-day zaniness (think glow sticks and LED light shows) might be a nice way to mix up your routine.

Do you prefer to run early in the morning or late at night? What do you do to stay safe? Do you ever pick the dreadmill over running in the dark?


Written by: lachicaruns

My name is Gisgie. It's pronounced geese (like the birds) and gee (like the letter). Now that we've met, I'm glad you're here. I'm an injury-prone runner who manages to find reasons to keep coming back to the road despite ongoing challenges. Most recently, I've struggled with piriformis syndrome. I'm currently winning. Most days.

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