The clocks have gone back, winter is closing in, and the days are getting shorter. It’s now getting dark much earlier than most of us would like. This never stops us runners from doing what we love, but we need to all keep safe during the winter months. In this post I’ve put together a few tips and ideas for keeping safe through the dark and cold evenings.
This is so, so important. It is important whether you’re running off road or whether you are running in well-lit areas nearby roads. If you are wearing dark clothing (which I see runners do constantly in the dark) people cannot see you! It is not worth the risk, you may think you’re safe but you aren’t. You are not visible to people in cars and if you injure yourself people are unable to find you easily.
HEAD TORCHES: The brightest piece of equipment to make you seen. It also helps you to see where you are going to avoid trips and falls. I wear my headtorch even when I am running along well-lit streets as it makes me feel safer knowing that everyone can see me coming. The headtorch I own is from amazon, click here to have a look. It isn’t the cheapest you can get but it comes with a case to keep it in when not in use and it’s held it’s charge for around 2 months of everyday use, before it runs out. This one also charges by USB, so if you are going for a run lasting 4 hours+ you can charge it up by portable charger and not worry about trying to get batteries in. Wearing a head torch does take some getting used to with wearing it on your head but after a few runs I don’t even notice it. Another way if you don’t get along with the head torches is to buy a beanie hat which has a light fixed into the front which you can view here.
BODY LIGHTS: Another option if you don’t want to wear a head torch, are body lights. Again I have some off amazon, click here to view them. These lights go on top of your running clothing and flash bright white light at the front and then red lighting from the back, so you are seen from front and behind which it more than the head torches. Again these just ensure that you are seen by traffic and by other people if you are in need of help.
HIGH VISABILITY CLOTHING: This one is pretty simple and doesn’t have to cost you anything. The easy option is to wear as bright clothes as possible when running in the dark. I have been past so many runners who are still wearing dark clothes and I don’t see them until I run past them. It isn’t safe. Even when in a lit area you might feel like you can be seen but I’d never risk it. Just find the brightest sports gear you own and chuck it on! If you are willing to spend a few pounds you can easily buy a high visibility vest from Ebay or amazon. If you want to spend a little bit more most running retailers sell high visibility running jackets, leggings or accessories.
WARM WINTER CLOTHING
As well as being seen in the dark, the temperature has dropped so much in the past few weeks and will continue to drop. It is important to keep warm during our runs, as even though we will feel warm when we’re running, our body can still cool down without us realising it.
LAYERS: At the moment as November begins I’m starting to wear full length leggings with a long sleeve under top, and a high visibility light weight, waterproof jacket. As the winter goes on I will more than likely add to this with another layer on top of a long sleeved base layer and a thicker high vis jacket. I usually wear trainer socks but as it gets nearer the freezing temperatures long socks over my leggings are a must have!
ASSESSORIES: As it gets colder adding winter accessories is a great idea. So get your woolly hats and gloves out ready if you haven’t already! I tend to prefer non-woolly gloves when running as I feel the wool rubs my skin and makes my skin irritated with the sweat mixed in, but I’m pretty sure most other people aren’t as fussy!! Ear buffs are also good if you don’t like your head getting too warm but need to cover your ears!
I’m adding this one to the list as my running club have upped their game, and it really is important all year round not just in the winter. ICE stands for ‘In Case of Emergency’. This can be anything from making a note as a screen saver, or having a piece of paper in your pocket or sock. It is just a little note with your basic details and the details of your emergency contact. I myself have been in situation where I have fallen and people have come to help me and I haven’t had details on me. Luckily I’ve been conscious and able to contact them myself, but I’ve been lucky!
I hope this post has been helpful, the main point of it all is just to make sure you all keep safe over winter. All of us runners need to keep each other safe and pass on any tips you come across! Any questions feel free to comment below or contact me directly!