Tips for running in the winter dark.

Tis the season for hot cocoa, warm fires, fleece lined boots and snowmen.  And darkness.  Lots and lots of darkness.  And very few available daylight hours.  Which can definitely put a damper on your outdoor running.

Even if you live in a warm climate, until spring and Daylight Savings Time rolls around again, many of us leave for work in the dark and get home…in the dark.  This prevents some from getting outside and instead, doing a majority of their miles on the treadmill, or, worse yet, not at all.  But with a few simple precautions, running outside in the dark/cold can be a safe option. 

Below, find our top 7 safety tips for running in the dark!

1) Fill the darkness with light!  There exists an entire industry of wearable lights that will both help you be seen AND help you see yourself!  Head lamps, lights for your shoes, vests with lights, knuckle lights, illuminating arm/leg/wrist bands, and a whole host of reflective gear (shoes, tights, shirts, socks, shorts, hats, etc…).  Consider blinking (vs solid) lights to catch the eyes of motorists.  Outfitting yourself with the proper gear will go a long way!

2) Run with a partner or your dog (my personal favorite).  There is safety in numbers.

3) Run in the most well lit area that you can find, that also has some activity.  It may seem safest to run on back roads away from cars, but chances are, there will be no lighting whatsoever and motorists will definitely not expect or be looking for you.

4) Have identification with you at all times.  This most easily comes in the form of something like Road ID.

5) Leave the headphones at home.  Although I’m NEVER a fan of headphones when running outside, it’s especially important to ditch them when it’s dark and you need to hear what is going on around you.

6) Be aware of your surroundings.  If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.  Keep your eye out for things and people that look out of place! 

7) Know when to call it and run inside.  There are definitely some times when running inside is the safest and best decision to make. This is most especially when bad weather is also a factor, besides it just being dark.  Ice, snow or bad footing make outside running too great a risk.

Now go get out there and run!  Don’t let the shortened daylight hours put a damper on your fitness or your fun!

~Beth Shutt is the Operations Director for The Run Formula 

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