As winter begins creeping in and the days get shorter, running in the dark is almost unavoidable. For most of us, darkness will now dominate the early morning or evening hours that we normally devote to outdoor pursuits. But just because the sun isn’t shining, it doesn’t mean you have to move your routine indoors. In fact, thanks to some of these nighttime running essentials, you may find that you prefer the serenity of running under the stars.
Every runner knows that the trick is to make yourself visible and remain aware of your surroundings. Here are some suggestions to help make your next nighttime run a success:
Wear Reflective Clothing
Switch out your dark running jacket for something a little more visible. Wearing something white or brightly colored will make it easier for cars to see you. Lots of outfitters offer shirts, pants, and shoes with reflective patches, but for added safety it’s a great idea to get a nighttime running vest. Amphipod’s Xinglet is my personal favorite because it straps on like a belt, as opposed to being a full vest. But Nathan’s Photon LED Vest is another great lightweight, breathable option.
Wear Reflective Accessories
If you are layering up to protect against the winter chill, it can sometimes be challenging to find brightly-colored gear. If you have to keep that dark winter gear on, you should definitely add some other reflective accessories to your outfit. A lot of runners opt for reflective wrist and ankle bands. But because these are further down on your person, they may not be as visible to cars and other pedestrians. That’s why it’s a good idea to add a reflective hat to your ensemble. Brooks and Nathan both offer popular reflective mesh hats, as well as winter beanies.
Bringing some form of light on your run has a variety of benefits. Not only will it help brighten your path, allowing you sidestep any bumps in the pavement or obstacles that may get in your way, but it also alerts drivers and other runners to your presence. The trick is to find lights that you can easily integrate into your wardrobe, which is why many runners use headlamps. Petzl and Black Diamond have popular models that provide long-lasting, reliable illumination. For runners who find headlamps uncomfortable, Nathan offers a strobe light that can be clipped onto a bag, jacket, or belt.
When you run, it’s always important to have some form of identification on you just in case something happens. But depending on the gear you’re wearing, it may not be comfortable or a good idea to bring your license. This is why runners are opting for other forms of identification, like dog tags or wristbands. Road ID offers a variety of options, the most popular being a comfortable silicone band that can fit around your wrist or ankle. As an added bonus, the model is available in a variety of colors, including ones that are great for nighttime visibility.
Ditch the Headphones
Even though there are some good reflective options on the market, when running in the dark it’s important to be alert at all times. So instead of plugging into your iPod, consider packing your phone or a handheld speaker to play your music. This way you can listen to your tunes without shutting yourself off to your surroundings. Either option should easily fit in an armband or pocket.
What are your recommendations for additional nighttime running gear?
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