I prefer running first thing in the morning when the streets are quite; there is something magical about being one of the first people out in the morning. At that time in the morning, certainly where I live, the streets are mostly quiet, except a few other runners, dog walkers, and those coming home from work/starting work early.
The downside to early morning running is that I don’t feel 100% safe by myself, especially during the winter months when it’s pitch dark before 6am. Maybe I am just a big scaredy cat, but EVERYTHING makes me jumpy on a solo early morning run; a rustle in the bushes; someone walking around a corner that I didn’t hear; wildlife scurrying across the road.
So here are a few things to keep in mind in order to stay safe while out running in the dark:
Don’t wear earbuds – you want to be completely aware of what is around you. I know running with music is a must for some folks, and if that’s the case, keep the music really low and only have one earbud in.
Let someone know where you are planning on running and how long you will be out for – better yet, use one of the tracker apps that allows a loved one to track you.
Try to mix your runs up – don’t run on the same day, at the same time, on the same route. You don’t want anyone knowing what your schedule is. And don’t post on social media telling people where and when you will be running. I get it, if you don’t post your run to social media it didn’t actually happen, but publish the photo/video/route details after your run.
Carry a whistle and/or pepper spray – it’s always good to have something on you that can be grabbed quickly to either alert others to you, or can be used in an emergency to give you time to get away.
Be vigilant – if something doesn’t feel right, or someone looks sketchy, turn around and go in a different direction.
Learn self-defence – this is a great thing to know, not just for running.
Run with a buddy or group – now this one is a little more difficult to coordinate for early morning runs, but as well as safety in numbers, it also keeps you accountable knowing your friend is waiting for you to get your butt out of bed.
Wear bright reflective gear and lights – during darker months it’s not the time to be dressed like a ninja running in all black, wear neons or at the least bright colours. Some running gear has reflective strips on it, which is great, but increase your chances of being seen by wearing reflective armbands as well as lights.
Stay safe out there.
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