keeping safe while running at dusk and dawn

Running Safety

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.

6. unplug

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?

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Great tips – also, If anything DOES happen to make you feel uncomfortable/unsafe when you’re running, the app called Guardly (for iPhone and Android) is really handy. As long as you have the app on your phone, as soon as you open it, it detects your GPS location and notifies emergency authorities and anyone else you have chosen to include on your emergency contacts.
Really brilliant idea! Even having it on my phone makes me feel safer!

Hope this helps!

Comment by Evie — November 7, 2012 @ 12:17 pm

Regarding tip # 3: As a runner, and a cyclist and a driver, I highly encourage you to wear clothes that incorporate reflective pieces. Bright colors are more visible that darker colors in the dark, but not by much, and probably not enough to save your life. When drivers are looking into the headlights of oncoming cars in the other lanes you as the runner will become nearly invisible to them. Reflectors and your motion will do so much more to allow drivers to see and react to you than a yellow or pink top.

Comment by Michelle — November 7, 2012 @ 2:16 pm

I’m a firm believer in the Road ID as well, it has all my contact and medical info. I have the slim wristband that I wear all the time; for run, biking, walking the dog…everywhere. Totally worth the $20

Comment by Diana — November 7, 2012 @ 2:58 pm

These are great tips. I think it’s also a good idea to leave the music at home when running in the dark. Drivers are often more distracted before and after work, and running without music keeps you more aware of what is going on around you. Not only do you want drivers to look out for you, but you need to look out for drivers!

Comment by Amy — November 8, 2012 @ 9:55 am

Always run opposite to the traffic. Meaning you should face oncoming traffic. Runners have been run over on sidewalks by drunk drivers or bad drivers or drivers who have skidded and veered off the road.

Comment by Impi — November 10, 2012 @ 7:13 am

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