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I'd like to start running - need tips for after dark!


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I've never been a runner, but I would like to start. I'd prefer to do this after work, but by the time I get home it's dark outside and there are no sidewalks and not many streetlights on my street. What should I wear to be seen? Is clothing with reflective material enough? Or should I have a light or something? My neighborhood is in a quiet suburb in the boonies, but I've noticed drivers are often not paying much attention because there isn't anything to see. I'd rather not be taken out by one of them! :nightmare:

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Wear bright colors, ie. white, anything "highlighter," neon, etc. and of course reflective. The most important thing is to remain cognitive while out after dark. If you're listening to music, be sure to accommodate for the lack of hearing with your eyes. If you're careful, you'll be all right.

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Wear bright colors, ie. white, anything "highlighter," neon, etc. and of course reflective. The most important thing is to remain cognitive while out after dark. If you're listening to music, be sure to accommodate for the lack of hearing with your eyes. If you're careful, you'll be all right.

 

 

Ok so my mostly black wardrobe isn't going to cut it? lol

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I'd add a flashlight (because it's dark) and maybe a whistle or something (depending on your comfort level with the neighborhood). YMMV. When I ran in the morning I carried a flashlight, both so I could check my footing if need be, and just in case I heard weird noises. I assume you have & will be carrying a phone.

 

Then again, I'm a fuddy-duddy :)

 

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Blinking lights are good. Bikes stores have many options to choose from that can clip onto clothes.

I reflective vest works well too.

Remember to run toward oncoming traffic too.

 

I have run in both the city and suburbs and suburban driven tend to drive faster and not pay as much attention (there is less to pay attention to!) so be careful!

 

Good luck!

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There's also the glow bracelet option - $1 for 15 at Target in the dollar spot.  They don't always have them, but when they are available I stock up.

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One more thing, I like being on the oncoming traffic side of the road so that I can see when a car is approaching, even if I don't hear it because of the music. I think it helps them see you too... you can wave or motion that you're there. 

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One more thing, I like being on the oncoming traffic side of the road so that I can see when a car is approaching, even if I don't hear it because of the music. I think it helps them see you too... you can wave or motion that you're there.

 

This is the proper rule of the road for all pedestrians, regardless of the time of day :)This is from Deleware, but that rule is pretty consistent worldwide.

 

 

B ) Where a sidewalk is not available, any pedestrian walking along and upon a highway shall walk facing traffic only on a shoulder, as far as practicable from the edge of the roadway.

C ) Where neither a sidewalk nor a shoulder is available, any pedestrian walking along and upon a highway shall walk as near as practicable to an outside edge of the roadway, and shall walk facing traffic.

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Dorothy Beal runs a running blog (www.mile-posts.com) and wrote some good safety articles about running in the morning. You can find them here and here. Although she talks about early morning running, lots of these tips can be applied to running late at night too :)

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Running on unlit roads warrants a good light source: I really love the Petzl head torch (Myo RXP, a bit OTT but glorious) I got for evening trail running a few years back.  It's daylight in a can.  Point down so you don't dazzle other road users.  Wide angle for tangly horror-movie woods.

 

As a driver, reflective heels are super visible because of that bopping motion.  Shoulder-height blinkies are good too.  I can't recall anything interesting about the fronts of runners, so they're probably just "any old thing, more is better".

 

As a night runner, really, headphones don't matter so long as you run into traffic.  Vehicles' headlights will let you see 'em from an actual mile away.  

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I've been running in the dark for almost 2 years now (since I work nights) in a town with few sidewalks and fewer streetlights.  Honestly I don't have a lot of reflective materials on my gear (although they do have little strips... thanks Nike), I run long distances, and I run with headphones.

 

The best advise I can give you is the following:

 

1) Use one headphone.  I listen to audio books (better than music, especially for pace reasons), so the ear-destroying music and volumes aren't there, plus one headphone gives me a pretty good sense of whats around me.

2) Pay attention and run against the flow of traffic.  I can't tell you how many people I see running, even during the day, with traffic.  Personally, I prefer to see a car coming.  Also, paying attention helps since regardless of how many strobe lights and industrial glowsticks you attach to yourself, you are the only one with a serious interest in your preservation.  You won't much hurt a car.

3) Pick your routes and times with a care.  It took me a while to fine tune some of my many routes, but shoulders (paved preferably) are helpful where sidewalks aren't available, residential neighborhoods are normally low traffic, etc  I run around 3 am so there are next to no people on the road.  I more frequently see cops than regular folks driving around.  I feel that a chosen route is smarter than random routes, which has been recommended.

4) Bring ID and a mini pepper spray can.  The ID is always a good idea and folks make mini pepper spray cans specifically for runners and such.  I'm a dude so I'm generally less concerned about it, but it's not a bad idea.

Do please be safe, though.

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