Runners are acutely aware of the changes in seasons, and the specific concerns that come with each change. As autumn arrives, we realize that suddenly, the sun has yet to rise when we set out on our pre-work morning runs, or it has already started to set when we run in the evenings. This is a unique challenge, as we want to focus on our run more than anything, but find ourselves worrying about whether or not drivers can see us, or if we’re merely shadows on the side of the road that someone in a hurry to get to or from work will miss. It can be really scary out there!
Of course, there are a lot of things we can do to help keep ourselves safe when we’re running and the visibility is lower than we’ve become accustomed to during the spring and summer. The first thing is really important: always follow rule one and run against traffic so you can see any oncoming cars and proactively avoid them. (You should be doing this all year round, mind you, but I know as well as anyone else it can be very easy to become complacent when there’s an abundance of daylight in which to run.)
The most important pieces of running gear you will need and want during the autumn and winter (after your running shoes and weather-appropriate clothing) are light up bands and reflective gear. We have a large selection of LED light bands that are bright enough to add up to ¼ mile of visibility – and will certainly alert drivers to your presence on the road.
Our LED Slapn’Go safety light band can be worn on your leg or arm and has three modes – fast blink, slow blink, and steady light – so you can choose what works best for you. The nylon covered slap on bracelet has a replaceable lithium battery and is also ideal for cyclists and triathletes. The entire band lights up, so no matter how you hold your arm or leg when running or biking, the light will be bright and visible and almost impossible for a driver to ignore. It is also available in three colors and you can wear more than one because they are so lightweight and comfortable.
One of my personal favorite additions to our LED collection is the LightGUIDE LED shoe clip. They easily slip onto the back of any pair of running shoes and give off either a blinking or steady light for extra visibility as you’re running. A perennial favorite of runners for many years now, drivers tend to be attuned to look for shoe clips and tend to notice them, if only because they have been such a popular choice for so many years. I think they are most effective at dawn and dusk, as they do not illuminate from all sides, just behind, but they are still a great piece of safety equipment that can, and has, saved lives.
Similarly, our LightGUIDE Versa LED Safety Light is a popular choice that not only clips to shoes, but to belts, bags, and other gear and has three modes. One of the reasons I love this light on my shoes, though, is it is bright enough that, in addition to helping ensure I am visible to drivers and cyclists, when it isn’t blinking, but rather set to steady mode, it somewhat illuminates the road as I run, enabling me to keep an eye out for branches or other debris that could cause me to trip, slip, or injure myself.
Some runners prefer multi-use products – and that’s why we offer our LightGUIDE LED multi-use LightBAND. This flexible band is great for so many reasons – if you run with your dog, attach it to his or her collar so people will see there is also a dog running with you. The last thing you want is for anything to happen to your canine running partner! They can also be attached to bikes, backpacks, or anywhere you feel it will be most visible to others. Made from both reflective material and LED lights, it really is the best of both worlds and comes with an adjustable Velcro(R) strap and clip.
In addition to these great LED lights available on Gone For a Run, here are some other safety suggestions:
Wear light or bright colored clothing. While we tend to gravitate toward darker colors when the weather cools down, it can make it very difficult to spot you if you’re dressed head to toe in black, navy blue, or a similarly dark color.
Wear a brightly colored headband or hat. We offer great multi-functional RokBAND headbands in bright colors that really stand out. (Bonus: these specific headbands can be worn as face masks, scarves, or beanie hats if the winds pick up, and are moisture-wicking for maximum comfort.
Run with a friend. It never hurts to have a second set of eyes on the road and your surroundings! Plus, it’s been shown time and again that runners who run with a buddy tend to outperform those who run solo. Some say it is due to our competitive nature, as a species. Others say it’s due to the inspiration and encouragement of having a running buddy with you. I say it’s a bit of both. (Just ask my friend Jenn!)
Did I miss any great tips or tricks you’ve picked up over the years to stay safe while running in the dark? Let me know! Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and your tips may be included in a future blog.
Stay safe, my friends, as the days grow shorter – and keep running!