Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Reflecting on Night Safety

The days are getting shorter, which means that any outdoor workouts done before or after work will probably be done in the dark.  For the next few months it's important to take some time to make sure you are prepped to ensure your safety when training at night.

Remember to:

Dress to be seen - The biggest difference between exercising at night versus during the day is visibility.  This is an excellent occasion to go a little overboard; wear tons of reflective gear and blinking lights.  Reflective strips on your arms and legs are more effective because drivers are more likely to see the light in motion.

Light up your path - Invest in a head lamp and/or flashlight in order to see the ground in front of you.  Depending on your path, you may need to avoid, litter, potholes, branches and fences.

Recruit a friend - There is safety in numbers, it not only increases your visibility, it may deter potential attackers. If you are out alone, let someone know where you are going and when you plan to be back.

Bring a small safety kit - Bring a cell phone, your ID, some money and a credit card.  Waist packs can be good for this since they are designed to stay in place without bouncing.

Dress for the weather - Layering and hydration are very important when the cold weather hits.  Try to avoid cotton since it will just absorb your sweat and make you damp and cold, instead, stay dry with technical wicking fabrics.

Bring your sense of adventure - If you're feeling bored with your regular training routine, exercising at night can add some fun.

Although there is no guarantee when it comes to safety (sometimes drivers just don't see you) if you dress appropriately and pay attention to your surroundings you can minimize the risk when exercising in the dark.

References from the SIRC Collection:

1. Battling the elements: dark. Cycling Weekly. October 28, 2010;:54-55.
2. Be smart: a guide to running safely. Running Times. October 2003;(310):28-30.
3. CHASE A. TRAIL RUNNING AT NIGHT: BASIC TIPS. Running Times. October 2010;(380):38.
4. Dudney G. BEGINNER'S CORNER. Ultrarunning. May 2010;30(1):24.
5. MIONSKE B. BRIGHTEN UP. Bicycling. December 2010;51(11):34.
6. Welch D. Street smarts after dark. Shape. November 1993;13(3):30.

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