October 14, 2020

With busy schedules and limited hours of daylight, some runners find their only time to run is in the darkness of early morning or evening. Running in daylight is always a safer choice, but if you have to run at night or in the early morning, make sure to follow these guidelines.

Always Run Against Traffic

It’s easier to avoid cars if you can see them coming. You want to be able to see the headlights of oncoming cars. Avoid busy roads and those with no shoulders or sidewalks.

Choose a Well-Lit Route

It might not be your favorite route to run, but the most well-lit route is your safest choice. Oncoming cars see you better, and you’ll always be able to see the road and avoid potential hazards.

Be Visible

If you’re running in the early morning or at night, even at dusk, wear white, yellow, or orange clothes. Also, make sure you have reflective gear on. Although some items (running shoes, jackets) already have reflective pieces on them, it doesn’t hurt to add more. A headlamp is also a great item for runners who do a lot of early morning or evening runs.

Always Have Identification on You

Put your driver’s license in your pocket or wear an ID tag on your shoe. Consider running with a Road ID shoe tag, which has my emergency contact information on it.

Vary Your Routes and Times

Potential attackers can study runners’ routines and loom in a particularly dark or isolated area. Don’t make yourself an easy target by always running the same route at the same time.

Run With a Buddy

There are strength and safety in numbers. If possible, try to never run alone. Look for running groups that run at night, if that’s the best time for you to run. If you’re running alone, let someone know the route you’ll be running and approximately how long you will be out.

Carry a Cell Phone

You’ll be able to contact police immediately if something happens to you or you notice anything out of the ordinary. Check out these great cell phone holders so you can easily carry your phone with you.

Watch out for Bikes and Runners

Even if you’re running on a path or in a park with no cars, always be aware of other runners and cyclists. Before you stop or turn around, make sure your path is clear. This advice applies to running in both daylight and darkness.

Ditch Your Music

Try to avoid wearing headphones when running outdoors. Cutting off your sense of hearing leaves you at a disadvantage. You can’t hear oncoming cars, cyclists yelling to move, dogs, or any other potential threat. If you absolutely have to run with music or some other distraction, keep the volume very low or run with one earbud out so you can still hear what’s happening around you.

Follow Your Instincts

If you feel that you’re entering an unsafe situation, trust your gut and run to a safe location. Call the police if you notice anything suspicious.

Cold Weather Running Tips

(Trips for running in the dark can also be applied in cold weather) 
Tips also found on runnersworld.com

Leave the headphones at home

Your ears may help you avoid dangers your eyes cannot see. Wet, winter conditions may weaken tree limbs causing them to fall. Hearing the crack before the fall may be the difference between avoiding a falling branch or being tackled by a dead limb.

Avoid running on the roads in snowy conditions

Drivers have a decreased ability to maneuver and stop.

Winter means fewer daylight hours

Wear bright-colored, reflective clothing or a reflective vest so you are noticeable to area traffic. For added visibility, wear a lightweight headlamp or flashing light. (See above)

Wear layers of clothing

This will help you maintain your core body temperature during the run but will keep you warm during warm-up and cool-down phases.

Wear traction devices on your shoes

If sidewalks, trails or roads have snow or ice cover, traction devices on your shoes will help prevent slipping.

Emergency Situations

If you drive to a running trail or route, leave a change of dry cloths and a blanket in the car for emergency situations.

Stay alert

Be aware of your surroundings and the weather conditions. Oncoming storms can quickly drop the temperature putting you at risk for frostbite or hypothermia if you are caught wearing the wrong clothes. Also, knowing where to find shelter on your route if the weather gets really bad.

Do not ignore shivering

It is an important first sign that the body is losing heat, and you may be in danger of hypothermia.

For more information on cold-weather conditions and cold-weather health concerns, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.