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Running Safely in the Dark

Mary Beth Ezra

Since there are fewer daylight hours at this time of year, it’s inevitable that most Flyers will end up doing at least some of their runs in the dark, whether in the chilly pre-dawn or in the evening after work.

At the same time, there are fewer runners (and pedestrians) outside when it’s cold so it can get pretty quiet out there, especially in the parks and on running paths.

Given these two realities – darkness and fewer people outside – runner safety becomes important for everyone, and especially women. Here are a few tips to help you enjoy a safe winter running season:

Jillian and Debbie Light Up the Night!
Flyers Thursday 6:30PM Group Run
  • Leave your headphones off so you’ll be more attuned to your surroundings.
  • Run in well-lit areas. For instance, if you typically run in Central Park stay on the main loop…but even then, lighting can be spotty in places!
  • Add your own lighting or reflectivity so you’re more likely to be seen.A variety of personal lighting products are available these days at all price points, from headlamps and light clips you attach to your arm, ponytail, belt, or shoes to this lighted vest that has become popular. Sports apparel companies are producing more reflective options these days including Brooks’ Run Visible lines.
  • Take advantage of today’s runner tracking technology. I wear a personal safety bracelet called run angel, which sounds a loud alarm to attract attention in an emergency. The companion app alerts designated family and friends by text and email of your location when the device is activated. A less expensive option is Birdie, a clip-on that sounds an alarm and flashing strobe light when activated (without tracking technology).
  • Consider a self-defense class. They’re occasionally arranged by Flyers members, or you can learn more about self defense by reading this 2011 Flyers blog post. You also can carry a self-defense product, such as pepper spray.
  • Finally, use your judgment. If it doesn’t feel right, it might be time to come up with an alternate plan.

With proper planning and common sense, you can enjoy a safe winter training season. I hope to see you out there!

Disclaimer: I don’t benefit financially or otherwise from endorsing any particular running safety products. I’m sharing what I’ve found when searching for products for my own use.

-Mary Beth Ezra