Safety tips for running in the dark

What should you wear? Where should you run? Night running has its own set of rules to follow. Keep reading to learn more.

woman and man running at night

1. Lights on!

When running at night, it's very important to see and be seen, that's why every night runner needs a headlamp. Never leave without one, even when training in relatively well-lit areas. You'll also want to bring a set of spare batteries and practice changing them before you head out - it will be easier than doing it in the dark. If you're running in a remote area, you could even wear two sets of lights (one on your head, and one on your chest) for additional safety.

2. Don't underestimate the cold

Running after dark usually means running during the coldest months of the year. For all your runs (even the short ones), wear several layers of warm, breathable clothing. If you get too warm, you can take off a layer.

Pro tips:
- Keep your extremities warm with gloves and a hat. Always wear them at the beginning  of your run and take them off if you get too warm.

- Choose bright colours! Neon clothing will help you stay visible in the dark.

- Take your phone and a few basic supplies. You'll want be able to call emergency services and be self-reliant for a few hours if anything happens.

man checking his light for running at night

3. Plan your route

When running at night, it's best to know where you're going. Try going with a friend for your first few times, and practice with smaller distances before committing to long runs or a timed race.

Pro tips:
- Take it gradually, starting with a short route you know well. This way, the terrain will be familiar, even in the dark, and you'll be aware of possible shelters along the route if you need them. 

- Make sure to check the weather before heading out. During races, organizers will usually make sure to keep competitors informed. It's best to cancel a run if heavy rain or snow is in the forecast. If you're new to running, you should also avoid heading out when temperatures drop below zero.

- Keep your strides shorter than normal to avoid slipping. Keep your eyes focused on your path and your immediate surroundings. Be sure to check regularly that you're not approaching any sudden or unexpected changes in terrain. It's best to slow down on slippery or muddy ground.