Solo Night Running

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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. 
  5. 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.
  6. Don’t listen to music. If you’ve got music turned way up, you’re less aware of your surroundings.
  7. 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.
  8. 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

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