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Tips for running safe in the dark

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Winter brings shorter days, which means less time to run in the daylight. Even if you do have to run in the dark, there are some ways that you can stay safe:

  • Wear reflective gear. This may seem like the most obvious, but it is important that you are dressed in reflective gear from head to toe. Many top brands have lines that are dedicated to providing a reflective layer for runners. Brooks Running's Nightlife line includes apparel for both men and women, as well as accessories like hats, vests and arm and leg bands.

    In addition, you can purchase a reflective vest that you can wear on top of your normal running gear. These reflective vests focus on keeping you safe while on the run. The Streak Vest from Nathan Sports features a bright colored base with reflective stripes and patches throughout the design. It is lightweight so it doesn't affect your range of motion.

  • Skip roadways without shoulders or running paths. Running on roadways without shoulders or running paths can be dangerous during the day, but even more dangerous at night. Choose an alternate path to ensure that you have enough running room without being in harm's way from a car that doesn't see you. Running on sidewalks or on a fitness path offer safety and tend to be better lit than other roadways.
  • Consider a headlamp. If you are running in extremely dark conditions and your pathway is not lit by streetlights, consider wearing a headlamp. A headlamp will ensure that the road or pathway in front of you is lit so that you can ensure steady footing. The Black Diamond Sprinter headlamp rises as a favorite because of its comfortable fit, long range and ability to be recharged via USB.
  • Bring a cell phone. In addition to serving as a back up in case your headlamp or other lighting burns out, a cell phone can ensure that you aren't stranded in the dark.

    If you have a smart phone, you can also look at maps in the event that you get lost or experience a detour. In addition, if you do encounter an emergency in the dark, you are able to call for help.

Running in the dark in the winter months can also mean the temperature drops compared to the day. Make sure you account for this when dressing for your outside run. In addition, if you live in a place that frequently gets snow or ice, invest in a traction device like Yak Trax to help you keep your grip on the roadways.

If you do not have the right apparel or safety items, consider running inside on a treadmill or completing another indoor workout. Your safety should always be your number one consideration, especially when running in the dark.

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