Staying safe when running in the dark
Going for a run is a popular form of cardio and has many benefits. Running can help to keep you healthy and can aid weight loss and maintaining weight. Not everyone has the time to go for a run first thing in the morning and for this reason many people have to train in the evening or at night. It’s a common thing to go for a run after work and this fits into many people’s lifestyle and schedules. One downside of training at this time is that its dark and this can be dangerous. If this is a concern of yours then read on as we are sharing ways you can stay safe when running in the dark.
Why the dark?
Not everyone can get a choice of what time of day they can train. As long as you’re exercising the time of day shouldn’t matter too much and many people have to train in the evening due to commitments they have during the day like work or school. One downside to training in the evening is that its dark outside, increasing the risks if you train in areas where there is limited light. This puts you at a higher risk of getting hit by vehicles and pedestrians and you need to take precautions to minimise these risks.
Their can also be many different other reasons why you might decide to train in the evening or when its dark. One reason could be that its quieter. So, if you’re a lone ranger and prefer to be alone when training then going for a run in the evening could be for you. Also, the time of year can have an affect on the daylight. For example, if you go on a regular 4:30 PM run, its likely going to be darker in the winter months compared to when you run in summer. Also, you may be a member of a running club that starts when its dark in the evening.
High visibility clothing
When running or doing any form of exercise in the dark, it’s a good idea to make yourself visible. When running you can be at risk of getting hit by vehicles if your close to a road or cyclists and also other pedestrians. High visibility clothing includes things like high visibility vests, trousers, shoes, and jackets and these are usually a bright colour like yellow with reflectors on them, so they reflect the light there is and it makes you visible. An example of reflective clothing is the vests that tradesman and builders wear on sites.
Although great reflective clothing does have its downsides. One being that the clothing doesn’t actually emit any if its own light it just reflects light. This means that in dark areas where there is no light at all you still may remain unseen. To overcome this, you can purchase lights that clip onto your clothing or head, and these can provide light for you to see and also for others to see you. This also applies when doing other workouts or exercise in the dark like riding a bike or going for a walk.
No music or low volume
We all love a bit of music when we workout. Listening to a tune can have its benefits as it gives us more motivation which can lead to a better workout and also better performance. Well, if your running in the evening it may come to a surprise that listening to music can put you at risk. This is because the music can be a distraction and next thing you know your focused more on your music then running itself. This can make you more likely to knock into things as you lose track of your surroundings.
Being more aware of your environment is key in the dark as visibility is already limited, you need to know what’s around you to prevent you from injuring yourself by bumping into something. Also, music makes it harder to hear what’s around you. So, if you’re running on the road then no music is a good idea so you can hear cars and can avoid them. Also, you will be more concentrated on running which is going to improve your form and also your running technique.
Avoid high crime areas
When running or doing anything in the dark we are putting ourselves at risk of many different things. One thing that increases as it gets darker is the likelihood of being a victim of a crime. As its darker this appeals more to criminals as there is less people around and its darker and criminals will use this to their advantage to get away with crime. One way you can lower the risk of being a victim of crime is by trying to avoid high crime areas. You can do research on the areas you run through and determine if they are safe by the crime rate.
An example of a crime that rises as it gets dark is robbery. Here criminals use the darkness to get away with crime and often seek vulnerable people who are alone. To take precautions you can change your route and also take extra steps to protect yourself. One way of staying safe is always having your phone handy and location on so someone can always see where you are and try not to train alone as this makes you more of a target. As a precaution try and have something with you that can be used as a weapon if things do get physical. This can include things like keys or a ring that is going to hurt your attacker and help you get away.
Plan your route
The rout you take will generally determine how safe you will be when exercising. When picking a route, you want to choose something that fits with your fitness goals and also you enjoy doing. As well as all of these you need to make sure that the route your doing is enjoyable, and you feel safe ands relaxed when running. Planning a route for yourself can be important as you need to choose a route where you enjoy yourself and are safe. Things like avoiding busy roads and high crime areas are something to take into consideration when planning your route.
Planning your route before you start running can also give you a good understanding of your environment. By planning the route, you can familiarise yourself with the surroundings, so you are not at a risk of getting lost or being surprised by your environment. Also, you can make a note of things like roads or public foot paths, so you know to look out for things like cars, bikes or other pedestrians. This is useful in the dark as you already know the route and don’t need to rely on your senses that are already limited in the dark.
Run with a friend/group
Exercising with a friend or a group of friends has many benefits. One of the benefits is that it can motivate you more and this is likely going to make you do better. Also running will be more enjoyable as you have people around you to keep you company and also offer some friendly competition that will push you further when compared to training alone. As well as being good for your workout, training with someone can also be safer when compared to training alone. One way its safe is that you have someone there just in case you injure yourself for example of you twist your ankle you will have someone there for assistance.
As well as having someone there to hep you in the case of an injury, running with a partner can also help you to be at a lower risk of being a victim of a crime. Studies show that when you are with other people then you’re less likely to be a victim of crime, accident, or any other bad events. This can be because you look less appealing to criminals as there is a few of you and a harder target. This is known as safety in numbers and is used in many different instances. For example, animals like cows will stay in herds to stay safe from predators.
In conclusion, there are many different ways you can stay safe when running in the dark. You shouldn’t let the time of day stop you from training as your fitness should come first. If you do find yourself going for a run at night or when its dark, then you should take the extra precautions we have mentioned in this article. If you are taking these precautions and advice, then you should be safe when going for a run in the dark.