Most runners are not lucky enough to run during the day. Work and school schedules, not to mention family and other obligations, force most runners to either get up before the sun rises to get in their miles or go out after the sun has long since set. Contrary to the belief of some beginning runners, nighttime running is not a death wish and in fact can be an exhilarating and magical experience. The trick? All you have to do is follow this one simple rule:
Surprisingly, this can be a difficult thing to do during the day when all the objects on the road fade into one another. But at night it is a different story. It is much easier to stay visible while running in the dark than it is when the sun is shining at midday, and you can use this contrast to your advantage in order to stay visible.
In order to stay visible, though, there are two areas to focus on.
There are sorts of running lights for sale at your local running store. Shoe lights, headlights, lights worn around the waist, etc. However, the most valuable light to have when running at night is the headlamp. The reason the headlamp works so well is because it has a dual function. First of all, a bright headlamp will get the attention of most drivers, and because you can point the headlamp in any direction you choose simply by moving your head, you can aim it wherever you want so that oncoming drivers will see you.
In addition, a proper running headlamp will allow you to easily turn your head from side to side as you run so that you can keep an eye out for any hidden potholes, road debris, or possible roadkill.
Reflective gear is just as important as lights when running in the dark. The light from car headlamps will often wash out your own lighting, and in that instance, the reflective gear that you are wearing will be the only thing that can warn oncoming drivers that you are around.
One of the great things about reflective gear is that it can be worn on almost any part of the body. This type of gear is being worn on everything from ankle bracelets to hats and vests. Of course, the more reflective surface are you are wearing the more visible you’ll be, so don’t expect to be seen 100 yards away if you are only wearing a reflective wrist band.
As I mentioned earlier, running early in the morning or at night can be a great experience, especially when you follow the simple rule to stay visible.