1. Tell someone where you are going and for how long.
This requires you to plan your route. If you have read my articles before, then you know I’m a huge proponent of planning your training in the first place. In doing that, you should know how far, where and about how long the run will take. If you don’t come back in a reasonable amount of time, people will know where to look for you instead of a huge city wide man hunt.
2. Bring a phone.
The best proactive approach to dicey running is bringing your phone. If someone starts following you, you hurt yourself or you get lost, then you will have a way to get a hold of someone.
3. Dress for the weather.
If you don’t have enough clothing on and get too far out, you could be risking hypothermia or frost bite.
4. Bring fluids if you will be out for more than 30 minutes.
Even with the temps lower this time of year, you still sweat and lose fluids. Just because you may not be drenched in sweat doesn’t mean you are not getting dehydrated.
5. Wear bright clothes with reflective strips if possible.
Don’t give drivers a reason to run you over if you are in the roadway. If they cannot see you, they will run you over.
6. Keep your head on a swivel.
Always be aware of where you are and who's around you. This comes into my article about ditching the headphones . Running on isolated areas are dangerous enough this day and age. If you are alone running the dark, the danger factor is multiplied. You need to have your head in the moment to see all cars and obstacles at night. Miss a pothole, twisted ankle. Miss a car making a turn; you are a part of the pothole.
7. Garmin – optional.
It’s good to have a GPS device with you on your runs for training purposes anyway. Heck, a lot of smart phones these days will track your run anyway! A lot have “maps” that if you get lost, you can check it out and see if you are close to where you started. Most also have backlights to provide some sort of light if you need some.
8. Run in familiar areas.
Night runs are not the time to explore new routes. Being lost in the dark is no fun. This also helps when you tell people where you are running. That way they can find you if you get hurt or are out too late.
9. Bring a running light if possible.
This is a little harder for runners to do. It adds extra weight and may not be comfortable. They make head lamps, flashlights and lights you can attach to your clothes. This helps with the dimly lit streets and cracks in sidewalks. Do a face plant on a sidewalk crack once and you’ll appreciate the light.
10. Stay on the sidewalks when possible.
If you are on the sidewalk, drivers have to go out of their way to hit you. Hopefully no one is out there gunning for you, but a sleepy driver might veer into the gutter and if you’re running on the road, they will run you over! Hopefully the Holiday spirit is upon us and the only road rage will be at the shopping mall parking lots from now on!
Stay safe on the night running.
Ryan Falkenrath writes the blog falkeetriathlon.blogspot.com , and is a married father of two, owner of three dogs and trying to balance life, work and multisport. Ryan has participated in multisport events since 2001. Ryan is also the Kansas Endurance Sports Examiner and you can read more of his triathlon thoughs HERE . Contact Ryan at: firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on @TriJayhawkRyan
*All opinions expressed in this story are by the author and are not necessarily those of EMT.