November has arrived.
The clocks have been wound back and daylight is getting harder to find. Rather than twiddle our thumbs in the dark many of us choose to combat cabin fever with a run outdoors. With less daylight and the same day-to-day responsibilities this often means a run in the dark. If you find yourself suiting up in the lightless hours here are a few tips to help keep you safe.
1. Recruit a Buddy
Not only are you more likely to get out and do a workout if someone is waiting, you will be safer as well. There is safety in numbers. Four legged friends count as well.
2. Leave a Note
If you will be running alone be sure to leave a text, email, post-it note or have a good old fashioned conversation and tell someone the route you plan to take and when you should be back. Preferably someone who will pay attention.
3. Carry ID
If you are going to exercise alone carry some form of identification. In an emergency this information could be critical. Road ID makes great products that easily attach to your clothing or can be worn like jewelry.
4. Carry a Cell Phone
With cell phones playing music and tracking workout stats you may be doing this already. Just remember the primary function of this device puts help a call away. Put this bad boy in a protective case to ensure it can go the distance and resist rain, sweat, drops and other unplanned abuse. If you aren’t ready to shell out for a case at least put it in a ziplock bag and a tight pocket.
5. Light It Up
When light levels are low it can be especially hard for drivers to see runners on the side of the road. All kinds of workout apparel are now available with highly reflective material from head to toe. Choose outfits that ensure you will be easily seen from a distance, even if you take layers off.
Add a headlamp and avoid obstacles you may not have seen otherwise. Small LED lights can also easily be attached to a hat or jacket to make others more aware you are out there.
6. Listen Up
Run without music or turn it down so that you can hear what is happening around you. If you are going to run with headphones try Yurbuds. These allow you to listen to music and still hear ambient noises. They are also sweat and water resistant, and have reflective accents on some models. Bonus! I prefer the behind the ear style.
7. Look Before You Cross
A simple lesson we were taught from the day we could walk. Don’t skip the basics! Look both ways before you cross and always err on the side of caution. Just because you can see a car does not mean the driver can see you.
8. Face Traffic
Running towards traffic allows you a better view of what is headed at you and should be done night or day. It also limits the chance of a motorist sneaking up from behind. At night headlights can be blinding so prepare early. Pay attention to what is on the road ahead of you while the light is moderate. As the vehicle gets closer you may have to look down and slightly away relying on your peripheral vision. A hat can also help.