The long days of summer are starting to get shorter and before you know it, daylight savings will be here. I thought it was only fitting to talk about being safe on your runs.
When running in low light or when it is really dark out, there are some important things to keep in mind. I am very fortunate to live in an area that has great sidewalks that are well lit. We also have designated bike lanes. When running on the road, you should always run facing traffic. This will allow you to keep an eye on the cars that are coming and get out of the way of people who are texting and driving. It seems like that is becoming a bigger issue.
When it is darker out, you should be more aware of your surroundings. This includes not listening to music or at least having the volume low enough so you can hear what is going on around you. Also, you should look for animals and other people who are out. If you make your presence know, most predators will leave you alone. Police suggest that if you can identify an aggressor, they will most likely leave you alone and look for someone who is not paying attention. Try to run in areas that are lit by street lighting or have other runners around.
I strongly suggest wearing some sort of running light. There are plenty of good options out there. The Nathan Strobe Light is one cheap and effective option. They are small and you can replace the batteries, which last about 100 hours. You can find the Nathan Strobe Light on Amazon for about $10. There is also the Nathan Light Bender, which is an arm band that lights up. It sells for about $16 on Amazon. There are several running vests out there as well. I recently came across a running vest called the Tracer 360. It looks like a great product and I hope to review it on my blog in the next few months. The Tracer 360 has fiber optic cables that light up and can change colors. It is waterproof and will make you stand out to traffic. The Tracer 360 can be purchased on Amazon for $57.
When it comes to protecting yourself, pepper spray is a good option. I would strongly recommend that you look at the pepper spray canister to make sure you understand how it works. If you need to use it quickly, the last thing you want if for you to have difficulties spraying your attacker. You could always buy some silly string at the dollar store and practice with at home (if you have kids, I am sure they would love to try and sneak up on you). Make sure to not spray the pepper spray into the wind because you will most likely spray yourself too and could leave you immobilized.
I know this is a scary subject for many runners, but if you think about these situations before hand, you will be better prepared in case the situation ever presents itself. Stay safe out there and enjoy your cooler fall runs. If you have any tips for being safe in lower light situations, please add your comment below.