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Night Running Safety

When daytime running isn’t an option, due to winter’s shortened days, summer’s intense heat, or work, school, or family commitments are monopolizing your schedule, running at night is a great option to still log those miles. Running under the cover of darkness isn’t a deal breaker, but it does require additional preparation to stay safe.

BEFORE YOU RUN:  

  • Be visible. Choose apparel and gear that will make you more visible. Select reflective, light colored or neon clothing. A headlamp, flashing reflector, or a reflective vest are inexpensive gear investments that provide additional, worthwhile protection.
  • Run with a buddy. Join a running group. There is strength in numbers.
  • Plan your route. Identify well-lit, traveled routes in safe areas. Note the potential obstacles and acknowledge road crossings.
  • Communicate your planned route. Let someone know the time you leave and what time you plan to return.
  • Carry identifying information. Bring your driver’s license or wear an ID tag on your wrist, ankle or shoe.
  • Bring your mobile phone so you can call someone in the event you need help.
  • Carry pepper spray or a noise maker (whistle or small horn) as an extra line of defense.
  • Learn basic self-defense moves.

WHEN AND WHERE YOU RUN:

  • Vary your routine.  Mix-up the timing of when you leave and how long you run. A routine may help your workouts stay on track but it also allows stalkers or burglars to keep track of the time you leave your house for the nightly run, making you and your home vulnerable.
  • Vary your route. Avoid predictability by choosing different routes each time you run.
  • Know your route. Before heading out, study the route.
  • Bring GPS in case you do get lost. Most smart phones have GPS capability and is another reason why you should bring your phone with you when you run.

WHILE YOU RUN:

  • Always run against oncoming traffic. This will make you more visible to drivers.
  • Never assume a driver sees you. Try to make eye contact with drivers prior to entering a crosswalk and intersections. Always yield to drivers and proceed with caution, even if the right-of-way is yours.
  • Ditch the headphones. With visibility diminished you need to hear the threats you might not readily see-- a car horn, an animal or a potential attacker.
  • Wear a billed hat. This will protect your face from branches and other hazards you might not see in the darkness.
  • Always trust your instinct. If something seems off to you, trust your intuition and run to a safe area immediately.

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