Race Dummy for the Route 66 Marathon.
It's totally true. I am afraid of the dark. I'm pretty sure I slept with a nightlight until I was 25. In fact, when my husband is out of town, I literally sleep with every light on in the entire house! So much for saving on my electric bill! 

This blog post is inspired by a phone call I received from my dad yesterday. Just when I was getting back into my car from a run downtown after work my phone rang. It went something like this:

Ring, Ring, Ring (really buzz, buzz, buzz because I have my phone on vibrate).
Me: Hi Dad!
Dad: Well what are you doing now?
Me: I just got back in my car from running.
Dad: Really?
Me: Yeah
Dad: It's dark outside honey.
Me: I know. We run in a group. We run in the dark all the time.
Dad: Well ok....

I could tell he was a little concerned about me running after dark here in Tulsa. 
And then the conversation went on with the real point of the call, discussing Christmas presents.

The call inspired me to blog about running safety at night. As you know from my statement above, I'm afraid of the dark. 

Here are some of my tips for staying safe while running in the dark.
  • NEVER run alone in the dark. This is especially important for my fellow female runners. Groups are more fun anyways!
  • Be seen! Wear reflective items from head to toe and wear light colors. I wear a Sweaty Band to hold my hair back from my face that is also reflective. You can kind of see it in the picture above. 
  • Shine on! Running shoes will often have some reflective elements on them. Sometimes running tights or running shorts will have small reflective areas. 
  • Get out of the way. Do not assume that all cars will go around you. When I'm running in my neighborhood if I see a car coming, I'll hop onto the sidewalk and run until the road is clear again. 
  • Light It Up!  You can wear a blinky light but be sure it doesn't become hidden under your clothing. That doesn't help. Or you can wear a head lamp, similar to what you would use for cave exploring. 
  • Know where you are going. Plan ahead and map out a course or know the trail. No one likes to be lost in the dark.
  • Keep a cell phone with you. If you use a run tracking app like RunKeeper or MapMyRun the phone can double for a light if you wear it on your arm. You can also call someone if you get lost or use your GPS to help you get back on track. 
  • Have an alternate route. Sometimes you run up on people, places, or things that are less than safe. If you see something coming up, know an alternate way around the issue ahead. 
  • Arm yourself. If you just have to run alone take pepper spray with you. I hear that bear spray works great too and has a farther shooting range. 
  • Shout out! If you are running on a trail or path after dark be kind to your fellow runners. Be sure to call ahead as you come up on them so that you do not scare them. Call out something non-threatening like "On Your Left" or "Runners Back" This will let them know you are coming and help you avoid the mace. :)

So to all my running buddies out there training this winter in the darker months, Stay Safe, Stay Warm, and Happy Running! 



11/27/2012 10:15pm

Thanks for getting this great advice out there. By the time I get home from work it is dark and cold and I usually have to run alone. In Maine street lights are few and far between. Can't wait for December 21st because then the days start getting longer again.

11/28/2012 2:36pm

I am afraid of the dark, too. I don't run in the dark at all.

11/28/2012 2:43pm

Glad to know I'm not alone Natalie! Debbie maybe you can find some other running buddies to meet up for group runs? Or treadmill time is pretty safe too, just boring. :)

11/30/2012 12:18pm

Great tips! Also, if you use a run tracking app that is also a social network you can ask someone to 'keep an eye on you' while you run. I always tell my hubby where I am going to run and he follows me on his phone. If I go somewhere besides where I had planned, he hops in the car to rescue me from whatever danger I may be in =)
Studies also show that sexual predators are more likely to target a woman with headphones, assuming she is more distracted. Even just leaving one bud out will send them the message that you are paying attention!

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