Moving the clocks back an hour, means less daylight for running. Some will move indoors to the treadmill, but many runners will be hitting the roads in the dark. The 5 tips below will help make these runs a little safer:
1. Run with a Light – Be as visible as possible by running with a head lamp or blinking light attached to the torso. Hand held flashlights are less visible to drivers because of a runner’s arm swing, but a hand held light is better than nothing.
2. Wear a Reflective Vest – Again, be as visible as possible, and run with a reflective vest even if running with a light. Most running clothes have a little bit of reflective material, but more is better. A reflective vest provides more visibility.
3. Adjust Running Loops – When designing loops for the dark, try to incorporate roads with street lights and well maintained surfaces. The shadow play from a head lamp or headlights from passing cars makes it difficult to see potholes or raised road patches.
4. Adjust Running Stride – As stated above, the shadow play will effect one’s perception of the foot strike on the running surface, so run with a slightly shorter stride and slower pace. This will improve balance, and the ability to adjust a stride to avoid obstacles on the running surface.
5. Don’t Run with Music – The darkness limits the sense of vision, so the sense of hearing becomes more important to maintain running safety. One needs to be able to hear dangers like animals and other people.
As always, let someone know the loop being run and an estimated time of completion, and/or run with a cell phone just in case a fall or injury occurs.