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Running In The Dark: 8 Stay-Safe Tips

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Love it or hate it, winter is coming and the days are getting shorter. If you run, expect to log more and more hours in the dark.

Running at night can be glorious. Many of the GearJunkie editorial team love the peace and tranquility of running at night on deserted streets and trails.

But with reduced visibility come increased risks. Hazards like potholes and low-hanging branches are harder to see and motorists have a tough time seeing you. Here are some tips from the GearJunkie staff and several Nathan Sports athletes on how to stay safe running at night.

Andy Potts, Olympian and World Champion triathlete – “When running or cycling, I always assume that people cannot see me. As such, I always dress in reflective clothing/vests and use some sort of light or strobe.”

Max Fennell — First professional African American triathlete – “I love running at dawn – watching the sun rise in the middle of a training session energizes me. In the early morning hours, commuters are accustomed to seeing red blinking lights in traffic, so I like to make myself a bit more noticeable with NATHAN’s neon green StrobeLight.”

Mike Wardian — Marathoner and ultra marathoner – “Try not to wear all black when running at night. While it is fun to dress like a ninja sometimes, this is not the time or the place – it only makes it harder for people to see you. I try to make sure I wear something reflective or carry a handheld light.”

Emily Harrison, Marathoner and ultrarunner – “Be sure to tell someone you’re going for a run and what route you’ll be taking. Also check the most recent weather report before heading out.”

Ian Torrence, Ultrarunner – “If you plan to run in a busy area, use only one ear bud so you can hear what’s going on around you and stay more alert. When possible, run with a partner and carry your cell phone.”

James Bonnett, Ultrarunner and coach – “While running in city streets, be sure to run toward traffic so you can always see what’s coming toward you.”

Stephen Regenold — GearJunkie founder, editor and adventure racer — “I really love running at night, but you need to be a little more aware of the terrain. It is easier to twist an ankle or take a misstep with reduced depth perception of low light.”

Sean McCoy — GearJunkie managing editor and ultra-runner — “I almost always wear some type of clear glasses when running in the forest at night. It’s really hard to see eye-level branches and an eye injury can be devastating. It’s easy for me because I wear glasses, but even if you don’t, protect that perfect vision.”

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