I had a conversation with a friend yesterday about night time running. She expressed that she didn’t feel safe to run at night on her own, and I gave her a few tips that have made me more comfortable on my night runs. I hope they’re useful for other runners out there who may have the same concerns.
- Bring your phone. This might sound obvious, but you don’t always have a ton of places to put stuff when you run and maybe your phone gets left behind. I try to keep my phone on my body, or in a pocket rather than in a waist belt. My thinking is that, if someone mugs me, they’ll take the waist belt assuming it contains money, a phone. etc.
- Let someone know where you’re going and what time you’ll be back. I plot my routes on mapmyrun.com and usually leave that tab open on my laptop when I go so my husband knows exactly what route I’ve taken. As he knows my pace, he can make a good guess on when I should be back.
- Keep your keys in your hand. This is an old habit of mine from working in a sketchy neighbourhood and having to walk across a massive parking lot at 3am when I finished my shift. I keep my keys in my hand so they can be used as a weapon if I need to. It also serves the same purpose as above. If they’re in a stolen waist belt, I’m locked out. To reassure my OCD brain, I keep them on a lanyard and wrap the lanyard around my hand a few times. There’s no way I can accidentally drop them.
- Run with a dog. This is clearly only an option if you have a dog, but I take my girl on shorter runs at night because she’s scary looking to others for some reason. She’s a big softie but she’s 50 lbs with Rottie markings, so people avoid us.
- Wear something visible. This can be a light that clips on, or a high visibility jacket, but make sure you’re not out running at night dressed all in black.
- Don’t listen to music. If you’ve got music turned way up, you’re less aware of your surroundings.
- Run in populated areas. We’re lucky to have some beautiful trails around our flat, but I don’t go on them at night. They’re not lit and you can’t tell who’s lurking until you’re right up on them. I stick to the main roads, even though it makes for a less scenic run.
- Take some money. I try to have a few pound on me for night runs, just in case I decide I want to take the bus back because I feel unsafe or so that I can flag a taxi if something comes up. Don’t take your whole wallet, but under £10 is a good idea.
-Sweaty Ms. J