True night owls understand that sometimes a moonlit run is necessary. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of lacing up your favorite workout shoes, setting your fitness tracker and filling up your water bottle before heading out to get some exercise while the rest of the world is sleeping. The same goes for early morning runs where you’re up and active with the sound of birds chirping and the morning dew to keep you company.
When running in the dark, it’s important to keep your safety in mind by taking the proper precautions and being aware of your surroundings.
For Kristin Stokes, a Philadelphia-based marathon runner and coach, simply having your cell phone on you and letting someone know when you’re out are essential steps in protecting your well-being.
“On an iPhone, there’s an emergency setting where you can set up a safety option. You can add contacts to it and just pull it out while you’re running if you don’t feel safe,” she said. “You just press the side buttons a few times and it actually will call them and send them a notification with your location and say that something’s wrong.”
(You can find more information on Android phone emergency settings here.)
Cars can also be a threat to runners at night because of poor visibility, but there are ways to make yourself stand out.
Amanda Brooks, a Denver-based certified running coach, said runners should assume that cars can’t see them. “[This mindset] reminds you to slow down at intersections instead of assuming they’ll stop and not make that right on red,” she said. “Additionally, it’s really important to run towards traffic. It ensures you are in control of moving out of the way if they get too close.”
In addition to being aware of your physical proximity to vehicles, Stokes and Brooks both agreed that you should also do what you can to help drivers see you, which includes being intentional about what you’re wearing. Reflective gear, lights and other personal safety accessories can help with increasing your visibility in low light.
We asked Stokes and Brooks to share the items they use frequently when they go running in the dark. Check them out below.
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Nathan Vibe reflective vest
According to Brooks, one of the easiest and cheapest ways to stay visible is to get this reflective, adjustable vest from Nathan Sports. It allows you to be seen from every direction since it has 360-degree reflectivity.
“The thin straps mean you can size it to fit you comfortably without adding weight or heat if it’s …….