Most people, given the option, would prefer to run during the day when the sun is shining and the weather is the warmest. But life and work, as they often do, can get in the way of this best case scenario and push your cardio to the night hours. Don't let the lack of sunlight deter you from going on a run. But when you go, stay alert and be sure to follow these five tips to staying safe while running at night.
And if you can't get outside, make sure your treadmill run is as good as the real thing.
Never Turn Your Back
One of the biggest mistakes made by after-hours runners is when they travel in the same direction as traffic. You always want to run against traffic so you can see a potential accident coming. You’ll have a much better chance of performing an evasive maneuver (running out of the way) this way.
While this one may sound like common sense, most accidents involving runners occur at night when they are wearing dark clothing. Choosing a well lit route and wearing reflectors can help you be seen by motorists up to five times sooner. A light such as a headlamp or lighted vest are also good options that make you more visible without making you look like a Christmas tree.
Turn Off the Tunes
Running and listening to music may help motivate you, but listening to music while running at night can be a dangerous 1-2 combo. Your ability to see and be seen is already reduced and reducing your sense of hearing can prove deadly. According to a study from the University of Maryland School of Medicine and the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore, the amount of runners wearing headphones that were involved in accidents has increased 300% in the last six years alone. 70% of those accidents resulted in fatalities.
Can I See Some ID?
In case you should become involved in an accident, having proper identification on you is crucial. If emergency services are able to contact your family, find out your blood type and learn of any preexisting medical conditions quickly, they have a much better chance of saving your life. Some runners carry their license in their pocket, but that can get easily lost. A custom running bracelet with your name, blood type and emergency contact info is your safest bet.
Put a Lid on It
A brimmed hat and clear glasses are important to protect your eyes at night. Cobwebs, leaves and thin branches are often difficult to spot in the dark and could cause trouble if they come in contact with your eyes.