I live in the Southern California High Desert City of Victorville. My schedule requires that the majority of my running to be done in the early morning hours in the dark. Not only is my running in the dark but I also face difficult running terrain that include pot holes, uneven concrete and asphalt, sand, yes sand (this is the desert) not to mention the vehicles, wild animals, poorly lit street lights (if any), high wind. All of this while in the dark!
I have developed a list of survival tips for night running that I have used to help me survive the grueling morning runs SAFELY. .
Here are a few tips that have helped me survive the hazards of running in the dark:
- Reflective clothing – I suggest a vest or something that is comfortable and is highly reflective. You may need to spend a few bucks here, but it’s worth it. Make yourself VISIBLE! (check out this website for some great gear glimmergear.com)
- Light – flash light with a combination strobe light for the front and rear.
- Avoid wearing ear buds – this is a tough one, but we need all of our senses, especially hearing.
- Carry a noisemaker or some pepper spray to ward off any wild animals or perps.
- Run against traffic – this will allow you to react quicker if you notice a vehicle swerving
- Always assume a car does not see you – when a car is approaching be on your highest alert and be prepared to take action as necessary to avoid getting hit. If possible make eye contact with the driver.
- Know the path you’re running on – familiarize yourself with the path during day light hours. This will help you prepare for certain areas such as uneven terrain, dips, curbs etc.
- Avoid running on highways and roads. Parks or Trails would be much safer.
- Plan out your run (let someone know), if you use map my run call it “night run” and share it
- Use 1bandid. (Great idea! Check out the website at http://www.1bandid.com/)
- Run with a partner
- Bring your cell phone.
The greatest risk isn’t running in the dark or wild animals as much as it is myself. Taking the time to prepare for my run or the lack of it can actually be the difference maker in my own personal safety. Please take responsibility for your safety and prepare. Whether you run in the high deserts of southern California or the wet trails of the North West take the time to be prepared for whatever risks you may encounter!
See the list below to help you prepare for your next night run.
o REFLECTIVE CLOTHING OR DEVICE
o LET SOMEONE KNOW
o CELL PHONE –CHARGED AND ON
o FLASH LIGHT – CHECK BATTERIES
o EARBUDS – STAY HOME
o NOISE MAKER/WEAPON
If running in the dark is unsafe in your area, consider investing in a treadmill. Find more information and reviews here http://www.reviews.com/treadmills