There are few things that make me happier than lacing up my kicks and hitting the pavement for a nice long run. But, with fewer hours of daylight during the winter months, it can be tough to get the miles in before the sun goes down.
And because I refuse to run over 3 miles on a treadmill for fear I’ll keel over from sheer boredom, I’ve grown fairly comfortable with running at night. Of course, running in the dark is not without its risks, but I’ve found ways to safely coexist with drivers on their evening commutes.
5 tips to keep you safe while running after sundown
1. Stick with what you know
Dodging people on a sidewalk can be a bit tedious, but if you’re running in the early morning or evening, it’s best to stick to well-populated, well-lit routes that you already know. I’m loyal to the downtown waterfront for post-work runs because there’s lots of light and plenty of great people-watching. Just remember that things tend to look a bit different in the dark, so save the unfamiliar routes for daytime.
2. Share your plan
Whenever you head out on a run (especially if you’re flying solo and it’s dark out), it’s important to let someone else know your plans. I always give my boyfriend a general idea of where I’ll be running, and in case I get hurt (or more likely, totally lost), I keep my drivers license and cell phone in my pocket. If you want extra protection, carry a compact pepper spray keychain, which is lightweight enough not to slow you down.
3. Stand out
Look, I get it, black is flattering. And while I’m happy to rock all-black everything, it’s not a good idea when running after dark. Get some gear that’s bright, reflective, and can be seen from space. Want to go the extra mile (heh)? Wear a headlamp to light your way and help drivers spot you sooner.
4. Skip the Jock Jams
Exercising is great for guilty-pleasure playlists (I jam almost exclusively to my girl, Queen Bey), but if you’re running without daylight, it’s safest to ditch the headphones and pay extra attention to your surroundings. And if you don’t like making an 8-mile trek without your tunes? Find a buddy! Not only is there safety in numbers, but running with a friend is the best way to ease headphone withdrawal.
5. Travel against traffic
It’s always best to stick to the sidewalk, but in some places, it’s possible to find yourself suddenly jogging on the shoulder of the road. Keep your eye on oncoming cars by running against the flow of traffic until you find the next sidewalk.
At Esurance, we believe in making the roads safe for cars, runners, pedestrians, and cyclists alike. Whether you’re a driver, cyclist, or motorcyclist, it’s important to stay protected. See if our motorcycle or auto insurance is right for you. (And when you get back from your run, homeowners insurance might be a good idea, too.)