Phillip C McGraw famously said “Life is a marathon, not a sprint.”
Your resolution to get outside, get active, and get healthy happens in the little choices you make every day. Breaking in those running shoes, drinking more water, and impressing your cardiologist with perfect blood pressure happens one step at a time.
Life, jobs, and family don’t stop, so you’ll likely have to run in the morning or at night after work. A nighttime run is often the easiest, but you’re probably wondering if it's even safe to run at night in the first place.
With the right gear and a safety mindset, you can absolutely get in shape AND stay visible.
Before you hit the pavement, read these tips about how to run at night.
1. Always inform a family member or friend where you’re running and when you plan to return.
If they notice you’ve been MIA for longer than normal, they can alert the local authorities to start a search party. Let them know if you run somewhere different from your usual route. The more information your loved ones have about your whereabouts, the better!
2. Attach an identification tag to your person or carry your driver’s license in case of an emergency.
If you can’t easily carry your ID, write your contact information, blood type and any important medical info on the inside of your athletic shoe (mpdc.dc.gv). No one wants to think about the possibility of an accident while running at night, but if you slip, sustain an injury or lose consciousness, this will help your rescuers identify you and any medical conditions. This is how you “Plan for the worst, hope for the best,” in true running safety fashion!
3. Wear reflective, bright-colored athletic apparel so drivers can see you.
Did you know that more than 7,000 pedestrians were killed in an accident involving a vehicle in 2020? Most of these accidents happened on remote roadways and at night when visibility is low (cdc.gov). Higher vehicle speeds only increase the chance of being struck by a car and incurring severe injury. This is why it’s critical to invest in the right running gear for your safety.
At WildSpark, our reflective apparel will keep you comfortable and most importantly, visible when you’re running at night!
4. Don’t wear headphones or earbuds; be aware of your surroundings so you can hear approaching cars.
A distracted runner is a vulnerable runner. If you’re blasting rock n’ roll in your earbuds, you won’t be able to hear approaching vehicles or possible attackers. Optimize your running safety and save the drum solo for later. The more alert you are, the safer you can stay in the dark.
5. Stay off your phone so you aren’t distracted from your surroundings.
Text updates about the game (even when it’s your alma mater playing) can wait until you’re done with your late night running. Talking on the phone steals your focus from what’s most important; returning home safely (ots.ca.gov). Let your nighttime running be a much-needed break from the constant *dings* of your notifications. This way not only will your physical health improve, your mental health will also!
6. Watch the road; wet or icy spots are more difficult to see in the dark.
You decided to start running to get healthy, not to slip and fall on your back. Black ice, a thin coat of highly transparent ice, is the hardest to spot when running at night (weather.com). It is notoriously difficult to see because it is so thin, easily blending in with the road pavement. These spots are just as tough to distinguish for drivers, so stay alert!
7. Increase your visibility at night by running with a flashlight.
A flashlight serves not only as a light source for you to see what lies ahead, but also for drivers on the road to spot you easier (nhtsa.gov). When running at night, it’s wise to remain in well-lit areas. However, if you happen to be in a dimly-lit spot, a flashlight can provide the life-saving light that keeps you AND your running gear visible.
8. If there is no sidewalk in your area, run facing traffic (so you’re illuminated by headlights) and as far from it as possible.
Running against traffic allows you to see cars coming toward you on the same side of the road (verywellfit.com). This also makes it easier for drivers to see you at night, as it illuminates your safety gear in their headlights. Facing traffic is much safer than having cars at your back, especially when running at night or in low-light conditions in the morning.
9. Cross streets only at marked crosswalks/intersections.
In 2000, 78% of pedestrian fatalities happened at non-intersections. Of those fatalities, 68% were male (Sierra Neurosurgery). So don’t take chances-take crosswalks, and always stop and look left, right, then left again for traffic before crossing. When running at night, visibility at intersections is paramount.
Check out our men’s clothing collection that will keep you safe, seen, and in style.
10. Embrace running as one of the best cardio exercises you can do and stay safe with the tips above!
At WildSpark, we believe that trying to get in shape and staying healthy shouldn’t be a fatality risk. According to Crawford Legal, 122,000 joggers are hit per year. You deserve the peace of mind that comes with jogging in our safety-first apparel that is highly visible in the dark.