As the evenings are now getting darker, earlier, it has never been so important to be seen when out and about.
Running outside is a lot of fun and I personally think that running at night just adds to the experience. It holds its risks but these risks can be minimised by being prepared and by no means should the fact that it is dark become an excuse for you to stray away from your training plan! I know, we have all been there but trust me, change your perception of running in the dark and you will love it…..well enjoy it a little more anyway!!
So firstly it is really important to make yourself seen so cars, cyclists, other pedestrians etc can see you. Running in urban areas holds less risks as streets are lit up and generally there is a pavement to run on. As a beginner I would strongly recommend this is where you start your running at night! Bright clothing is the most important aspect and if you don’t own any, you don’t have to spend a fortune on new clothes, use your imagination. I remember running in a builders Hi Viz jacket which can be bought from places like B and Q for next to nothing. They aren’t ideal as I found they move around a lot when you run but they do the job! Be creative…head bands, gloves, socks there are loads of options out there now with reflective details on to get you seen. I remember doing a night race once and looked like this:
I appreciate this is probably not the kind of attire you would want to wear each evening out running but gives you some ideas 😀!!
This brings me to running out on country roads. Now this is probably not deemed safe but for some of us this is our only option. Running with a friend or in a group in these circumstances would be preferable or drive to somewhere where there is street lighting. If this isn’t possible you need to get yourself some lights!! A good head torch is ideal and you can pick up some pretty decent ones on Amazon or eBay quite cheaply. I used to have one with a battery pack and although you would think this would be uncomfortable I actually found it very good. It was unbelievably bright…I was described as a bus during a night race once…I chose not to take that personally…and the battery lasted ages. However a bulb went on it after a while and because it came from somewhere like China I was unable to find a replacement and opted to try a standard Petzl head torch. This works just fine you just need to remember to carry spare batteries with you at all times….I found this out the hard way!!! As well as a head torch I also use a small red light that clips to the back of me. Again this was less than £10 and works great when out at night.
One last note is carry your phone on you at all times, let someone know where you are going and what time you are expected back and be sensible and have some road safety awareness.
I have been night running for a few years now but I tend to go off in to the fells, never on my own though. It offers excitement and keeps you on your toes. It makes your mind work quicker by having to assess the landscape your crossing in split seconds and challenges your propriorecption (knowing where your body is in space) improving foot placement and balance. I’m not going to lie, it can be a little scary at times particularly when you come across random out buildings like this:
But this is all part of the fun!
So it’s got dark outside….go explore…see what you can find, just make yourself as bright as you like and have some fun with it 😀.