No matter how hard we try to trick ourselves into brighter, longer days there is no denying that the mornings and evenings are getting darker. Since low-light scenarios pose safety concerns for runners, we asked Queen St West ambassador, Heather Gardner, for five tips for keeping safe when running at dusk and dawn.
1. always carry a cell phone and identification
This tip is number one no matter what time of year you run. Always keep your cell phone and driver's license on you while out running. Whether you need the help or a fellow runner does, knowing you can make the call brings peace of mind and keeps you safe. Consider adding an ICE (In Case of Emergency) contact to your phonebook. That way if something does go wrong a stranger will know who to call for you.
2. choose a well-lit route
Run in areas that are well lit and always bustling with other runners. This means saving those reclusive, isolated routes for daylight, and sticking to the main streets when it’s dark. Also, consider rocking a head lamp. It's perfect for mid run dance parties but also great so that other traffic on the road or sidewalks will see you. You'll also be able to better identify uneven surfaces (hey, sometimes even the best of us get tripped up).
3. be seen
There’s more to putting together a great run outfit than just simply something that matches. Wear colours that will let cyclists, drivers and even other runners and pedestrians know you’re there. Whites, yellows and even shades of orange will have you being seen. Lots of run gear has reflectivity built right in so be strategic about how you’re layering it. Make sure reflective taping remains visible. You can also consider adding your own reflective strips. When it comes to staying safe, the more the better.
4. keep it close to home
Running at dawn or dusk is not the time to try a new route. Rather than a big 10km route, why not do a double 5km? Stick close to home should you need or want to stop. This also ensures that you’re familiar with the neighbourhood and every crack and corner on your route.
5. join a group!
As they say, there's strength (and motivation and fun) in numbers so if you’re happy running as part of a group, it’s definitely safest (need a group? Check in with your local lululemon store). If a group just ain’t your thang…let a few people know that you’re heading out, the estimated duration of your run and where you're going.
Though some of us rely on blaring tunes to keep us distracted from the burning in our quads, if you're running alone in the dark it's a good idea to leave your headphones at home. Another option if you can't run without music is to have it playing out loud, instead of wearing earbuds (though you'll need to be okay with your guilty pleasure playlist being shared with the world). Either way, being in tune with your surroundings is key. *Special thanks to our guests on Facebook for suggesting this additional safety tip!
Stay safe out there runners! Any other tricks for running safely in low-light?