I come to you with a VERY important reminder.
To LIGHT YOURSELF UP if you’re running in the dark. Based on the title you probably thought this might be one of those motivational/let your light shine kind of posts, right? Wrong. While you should always do those things, the point of this post is to remind you about running safety in the dark now that the days are shorter and most people who work regular 9-5 hours are forced to run in the dark whether you run before or after work. This post also turned into a #throwbackthursday collage of slightly embarrassing old running photos.
In all seriousness, I beg you please not to run in the dark without reflective gear on. The neighborhood that we recently moved to is full of families and active people (which is awesome) and I often see tons of people out running and dog walking before and after work. I have been BLOWN AWAY by how many of them are running in the dark, in dark clothing, in a dark neighborhood without a lot of streetlights. I counted no fewer than five runners as I was leaving the neighborhood on Tuesday morning at 5:50 a.m. to go teach and I think one person had a light or reflective gear on.
Throwing on a reflective vest is such a simple step to take that can pay off huge when it comes to your personal safety. Think about how prevalent distracted driving is these days. You are only adding to your chance of being involved in an accident with a distracted driver if you cannot be seen. And some of the runners I have seen have been so hard to spot even for drivers who are scanning the horizon with two hands on the wheel.
I have had the same reflective vest for six years (clearly based on the photos above) and I always slip it on before a dark run. At one point I also had a blinking light for Sullie’s collar and I need to replace that now that Zoey is running with me and for our dark walks. I also carry my iPhone with the flashlight on so that I can see better and so that drivers see that light shining.
Here are some ideas to consider for dark running/walking safety.
This unisex reflective vest is available in three sizes. It features a zip pocket to store a key, your ID or cash/card and comes with two reflective arm bands for additional safety measures.
These clip-on LED strobe lights have over 400 5-star reviews on Amazon. They’re great for running, cycling or dog walking. Just clip them onto your clothes, helmet or pups collar and there’s no way anyone will miss you. I see these on a lot of bikes here in Charlotte and they are great.
Let your puppy shine in style with one of these LED dog collars.
If you’re looking for something a bit more stylish than the yellow reflective vest, check out this pink version that is not only reflective but also features LED lights.
Get the most bang for your buck when it’s cold AND dark with this reflective beanie from RunBaby. It comes in green, black and pink (you could have a whole pink look going with the pink vest and pink LED dog collar!).
And don’t forget these important safety tips for running in the dark:
- Run against traffic. Day or night, unless I’m on a safe sidewalk, I NEVER trust drivers not to see me. I always run against traffic so I can get out of their way.
- Let someone know where you’re going, your general route and when you plan to get back.
- Have some sort of identifying information with you whether it’s the ICE contact in your phone, your ID, a safety bracelet or a sheet of paper you have tucked somewhere.
- Consider unplugging. I will admit that I don’t always do this but losing the headphones will help you be more aware of your surroundings. I often listen to audio books so that I can still hear a lot of things in the background instead of blasting beats in my ears.
- Run with a friend or running group if possible.
I would love to hear how you stay safe in the dark and any tips you might have.
Winner of the ALDI gift certificate is comment #15 Anna. I emailed you!