Safety is, of course, paramount when running in the dark. Running on or off road in the autumn and winter months presents several challenges. There’s motorists, fellow runners and pedestrians to navigate – and potholes, roots and ruts to dodge! So you need to be extra cautious about where and how you run.
Here are a few road rules to live by when running in the dark:
1. Stay alert…
…and use all your senses. Go without music or alternatively, wear AfterShokz open-ear bone conduction headphones, so you remain totally aware of your surroundings. If you’re running in a busy area, be alert to pedestrians and traffic. Always run against the flow of traffic so you can see vehicles coming towards you.
2. Be route wise
Be smart about your route choice. Ease yourself into running in the dark gently, with some easy well-lit runs, before you brave the remote trails. Don’t try new routes for the first time in the dark. If you have a new route in mind, recce it in the daylight before running it after dark.
3. Be seen
Make sure you wear the right gear so people can spot you! If you’re running near traffic it’s essential you are highly visible. We have some fantastic Ronhill reflective gear guaranteed to improve your winter running… bright colours, iridescent fabrics, safety lights and more!
The Hi Vis Jacket
It’s a must have! Ronhill’s Momentum Afterlight Jacket (£69.99) is one of the best out there. It’s a lightweight, breathable and wind resistant, with 360 degree print reflectivity. The Activelite fabric has also been treated with a durable, water repellent finish to ensure water repellency in all but the worst conditions.
The Batman Jacket
Prefer the understated look? Then try Ronhill’s Infinity Nightfall Jacket (£154.99). Undeniably the stand out performer. Super reflective, waterproof and windproof.
The Hi-Vis Tight
Team these jackets with Ronhill’s Momentum Afterlight Running Tight (£47.99) featuring a reflective trim to keep you safe and seen. Made of a heavier weight fabric with a brushed inner for warmth.
Check out Ronhill’s collection of hats, headbands, gloves and safety lights for added visibility and protection. The attachable LED Light Clip (£9.99) and Light Armband (£17.99) available in red or white are among our top favourites offering two lighting modes: permanent or flashing, and up to 150 hours battery power.
Being able to see the terrain you are running over is as equally important as being seen. Even if you’re running in a built-up area with street lights, you’ll encounter patches of total darkness, so often it’s safer to carry a head torch.
If you venture off road onto remote trails or rough tracks a quality head torch is essential. Head torch technology has improved dramatically over recent years with torches becoming lightweight, brighter and significantly less expensive.
Petzl’s top-end models such as the Reactik+ and NAO+ feature REACTIVE lighting technology, meaning they automatically adjust the light intensity to the needs of the user. For example, dimming the beam after your eyes have adjusted to a certain light level. Clever right?
Alternatively, if you’re after a fuss free headtorch the Petzl Tikkina at £19.99 is ideal. It’s compact and easy to use featuring one button to switch between three lighting modes – proximity, movement and distance vision.
Powered by batteries, or Petzl’s CORE rechargeable battery, it provides you with 150 lumens of light output at a max range of 55 metres. Great for running, camping, walking and DIY!
5. Keep warm
Be prepared for changing weather conditions. Always err on the side of caution and wear/take extra layers when running during colder months. We recommend running with a waist pack so you can remove your jacket/gloves/hat once you’ve warmed up and then if the weather changes or you cool down, you have plenty clothes to put back on.
Make sure you layer up with a suitable set of base layers. Thermal winter base layers come in a variety of weights and will keep you cosy on frosty mornings and snowy nights.
6. Run with friends
If you’re unsure about running alone in the dark, make it a sociable run and encourage friends and club mates out.
…your mobile phone and ID just in case of any problems. For the peace of mind, it’s well worth a little bit of extra weight.
8. Let someone know you are out!
Tell a family member, friend or flatmate where you plan to run and for roughly how long.
With a little bit of planning and the right kit you can get out and enjoy the darkness. Remember to stay alert, stay visible and have fun!