Where has the year gone? It feels like it was only a couple of weeks back that it was baking hot and I was plodding my way around my loops at Spitfire Scramble. Now we’re about to start the final month of the year. As it’s getting dark earlier and earlier, I thought it was a good idea to share my tips for staying safe when running in winter.
It should be common sense really, but sadly we seem to live in a world where common sense has deserted many of us. I was inspired to share these tips after seeing a girl out for a run one evening. Not a big deal, except I saw her from the passenger seat of a car, the road was unlit, she was wearing dark clothing, no light and was running in the world.
I don’t think I need to elaborate on why her choice of running attire and where to run were bad ideas. But for those of you who plan to carry on running in the evenings, or are even thinking of starting, here’s some useful advice, especially if you can’t buddy up with someone:
Wear a head torch
A head torch will light your path and it will make you more visible to drivers, cyclists and pedestrians. There are also various knuckle lights and clip-on torches available. Invest in a light source.
Wear light/reflective clothing
It’s much easier for traffic to see you in light or reflective clothing. Reflective wristbands are available in plenty of high street sport shops, or try these Time To Run High Visibility Armbands With LED.
Tell someone where you’re going
It’s a good idea to tell someone where you’re going anyway when you go out for a run, but even more so at night, especially if you choose to go off-road. If you fall or get injured, you don’t want to be out in the dark where no one can find you. So give someone an idea of where you’ll be. And that leads me to…
Take a mobile phone
And make sure it’s charged so you can give someone a call if you get lost or injured. Or so you can call a cab to take you home after a pub detour…
Carry ID with you. If something should happen, people need to be able to identify you and call loved ones. Make sure your ID contains your name, any medical details and an “in case of emergency” phone number. I always have my parkrun tag with me as it contains this information. You could also wear a reflective wrist band with concealed ID information, like this one by Vital ID Sport.
Ditch the headphones
You need to be aware of your surroundings and if you’re listening to music, you won’t be. It’s hard to see at night, don’t make it hard to hear as well. Danger can often be heard before you see it.
What are your top tips for staying safe when running in winter?