Even with the best intentions, it is sometimes impossible to avoid running well after sunset. If running at night is unavoidable, protect yourself in the dark by following these tips.
- Run in familiar, well-lit areas: To ensure a clear running path, find an area that's lit by streetlamps, or hit up an outdoor track. If you want to experiment with a new trail, do it during daylight hours; sticking to your usual route will help avoid unseen bumps or potholes.
- Make sure others can see you: It's important to be visible to drivers, cyclists, pedestrians, and other runners on the road. Wear bright colors and reflective gear, and for extra caution, wear a headlamp or attach a blinking bike light to your clothing. Get started with our picks for reflective running gear.
- Be aware (and ditch the playlist): Because running at night cuts down on your line of sight, make sure you can hear and see clearly. Go running without an iPod or MP3 player, and make eye contact to alert others of your presence. This is especially important to do with drivers when you're crossing the street.
- Carry safety essentials: Keep a cell phone with you in the event of an emergency, and always carry identification and an insurance card in case you sustain an injury.
- Run with a buddy: There's safety in numbers, so try to run with a friend. You'll both be more visible and can rely on one another if something goes wrong. If you do run alone, make sure to tell someone the route you're running and around what time you'll be back.
- Run against traffic: It may seem counterintuitive, but you have a better chance of seeing cars and drivers have a better chance of seeing you. Ideally, try to run on a designated trail to avoid mixing with traffic.
- Change up your routine: Run a few different routes and at different times through the week. Potential attackers pick up on consistency. For extra protection, consider keeping pepper spray on you.