Running in the Dark? Follow these 8 Tips to Stay Safe - White Horse Active

Running in the Dark? Follow these 8 Tips to Stay Safe

The whitehorse team loves nothing more than going for a run to clear our minds and move our bodies. And we know our community feels the same. That’s why we’ve come up with 8 tips to stay safe when running in the dark.
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Jogging in the dark can be daunting. Whether it’s an early-morning run to clear away the cobwebs or a night jog to shake off a long day, running in the dark can be riskier than other times of the day. The good news is that by implementing a few simple habits, you can remain safe and sound while pounding the pavement in the dark. 

For pro joggers to first-timers, we’ve put together a list of 8 ways to help you stay safe when jogging in poorly-lit conditions.

1. Pre-plan your route

Always plan your running route in advance to avoid getting lost and winding up running in poorly lit zones, deserted areas, or near dangerous roads. Pre-planning your route means your loved ones know where you are and roughly when you should return.

Apps such as MapMyRun help plan your route. You can select routes that are popular among other runners to avoid any pesky detours or surprises and well-lit areas free from zones with extensive trees or bushes. 

Running in the dark means you are more susceptible to tripping or rolling your ankle on potholes or uneven ground so opt for routes with good-quality paving. Finally, avoid running along roads with heavy traffic. The glare from the headlights can blind you and cause an accident. 

2. Prepare your essential items in advance

While there is nothing more liberating than going for a run with just your headphones, it’s probably not the safest bet when jogging in the dark. 

For optimal jogging at night safety, put together a running kit in advance. It should include essential items like your mobile phone (make sure it’s charged up), a reflective vest, and a form of identification. Laying your running kit out in advance reduces the likelihood of you forgetting the essentials. 

3. Make sure you’re easily spotted 

When jogging in dark conditions, you need to be visible to other motorists, cyclists, and runners on the roads. So, how can you amp up your visibility?  

Wear light-colored clothes with reflective details and reflective accessories like a flashing reflective armband or LED safety lights for running at night. Your clothing should be reflective from all angles. If it’s pitch black when you’re running, we recommend investing in a reflective vest and a lightweight head torch.

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Wear visible clothing when running - White Horse Active

4. Ditch the tunes 

Blasting your favorite tunes while you run is excellent for getting in the zone, but it’s not so great when running in darkness. You need to be aware of your surroundings at all times and that includes being able to hear car horns beeping or other warning signals. We recommend saving that awesome workout playlist for the gym (or at least for daylight) and to try some mindful movement when running in the dark. Lose the headphones and focus on your surroundings and breath for a workout with intention.

If you really can’t ditch your headphones, keep the volume low enough to hear any important signals and make sure the noise-canceling mode is turned off. Some modern headphones have a transparency mode feature. Transparency mode promotes better situational awareness by using external microphones in the earbuds or headphones.  

5. Run facing traffic 

Traffic can pose a safety threat for runners when it’s dark. If you commonly run in traffic-heavy areas, we recommend always running against the flow of traffic. Facing upcoming traffic enables you to assess the safety risks and stay safe. 

If you’re running on the pavement, facing the traffic reduces the risk of you having to step onto the road to pass other pedestrians by. 

6. Find a running buddy

Finding a running buddy can make running in the dark a safer and more enjoyable experience. Not only do running buddies hold you accountable but let’s face it, it brings out that competitive side in you too. Look out for a running buddy with a similar fitness level to you so you both push each other to hit those personal bests.

Alternatively, joining a running club is a perfect way to feel safer on your nightly run. As the saying goes, there’s safety in numbers. Running in a group is good for the spirit and you’re way more likely to be spotted by motorists when there is a crowd of you. 

7. Use a tracking app

Nowadays, you can find plenty of tracking apps or location sharing features on apps like WhatsApp that enable you to share your live location as you run. Sharing your log-in details for device-finding features with loved ones will also allow them to track your phone’s location if needed.

8. Switch up your running routes and time

Attacks on runners, especially female runners, have been on the rise in recent years. While we don’t want to alarm you, we do want to give you some advice on how to prevent this type of attack. 

Some attackers study the jogger’s routine, scoping out dark or deserted areas on the route. Switching up your route regularly can make you a less predictable target. Follow your instincts. If you feel unsafe, get to a safe location ASAP or call a loved one. 

We hope these tips empower you to stay safe when jogging in the dark and, most of all, have fun!

Do you have any top tips for jogging in the dark? Share them in the comments section below.

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