There are certainly times when I have to force myself to go on a run, knowing that I need to, but wanting to be lazy.
Warm (but not too warm!) spring-like nights, however, are not some of those times.
I am absolutely in love with running at night.
I feel like something about the atmosphere changes. It’s like a whole new world, and it’s just me, the streets, and the pounding of my feet on the pavement coupled with my heavy breathing. I’m both alone in and at one with the world, and I’m completely and utterly in love.
I do know, though, how dangerous it is to run at night. As much as I love it–and as much as I regretted having to stop tonight after my hour long run (and trust me, I do not say that often. lol)–I’m aware that I’m putting myself at risk in taking these late night runs. I’m an 18 year old girl, after all, and I’d like to think that in the dark of the night, people might mistake me for being somewhat attractive. (;
Safety is a real concern when you’re running, especially at night, and especially for young women and girls.
To make sure you’re as safe as possible, it’s a good idea to remember some simple tips (many of which I need to work on myself!):
Make sure you tell someone what route you’re taking, and about when they should expect you back. Have a way to let them know if any of this information changes.
I think this one is pretty self explanatory, but it’s something I almost never do, even though I know that I really should. By letting someone know where you are and when you’ll probably be back, you’re ensuring that anything that could possibly go wrong will be discovered almost right away, and you’re helping anyone who tries to retrace your steps. You could literally save your life simply by telling someone where you’re going to be.
Don’t run the same route day after day–switch it up often. If possible, switch up the time that you run, too.
When you run the same route at the same time day after day, it’s entirely possible for anyone wishing to know where you are to do just that. Though it’s important to make sure someone you trust knows where you’ll be, it’s just as important that others don’t know this information. Keep your route fresh, and if you can, change up your running times, too.
Run in well lit areas with many other people around.
Don’t be that girl who goes down the dark alleyway in the horror movie. Really. You have to know that in doing this, you’ll be setting yourself up for danger. Anything that may happen to you is much less likely to happen if you’re surrounded by other people, and if there are plenty of lights where you are. Not to mention it’ll be much more likely that someone is able to help.
Wear bright clothing.
Make sure cars can see you! I had reflector bands that I wore on my wrists for a while before I lost them, unfortunately. I know that many shoes are reflective, too. And, if you’re really brave, you can go all-out with a vest and everything! (;
If possible, carry pepper spray or some sort of safety item on you.
My dad keeps trying to get me this–lol! He’s sweet. As much as I laugh, though, I know that there are times when I really would feel much safer if I simply had some small sort of defense weapon that would give me time to get away if nothing else.
Don’t be afraid to be impolite.
If someone pulls up alongside you asking for directions, though I know that your first instinct (and my first instinct) may be to step up to their window and try to help them out, think again. If it’s light out and there’s many other people around, you’re probably fine giving them directions. However, if it’s dark out and/or you’re all alone, think before you act, and if anything at all seems “weird” to you about the situation, get out of there. You’re not required to stop and help other people–and you have to put your own safety over your desire not to appear impolite. If you simply can’t do this, try a quick “sorry, I’m just visiting this area!” while still running on.
Above all, trust your gut.
If something doesn’t feel right, it’s probably not right. Don’t tell yourself you’re worrying for nothing. Trust your instinct, and get away from wherever you’re at. This is probably the most important tip of all, and yet the one that is followed the least. Even if you don’t have a rational explanation for why a situation feels wrong, it doesn’t matter. Just get out of there as fast as you possibly can. You are much better off safe than sorry.
Moving on from the safety tips, I had a great run tonight! I did have to stop and stretch after about twenty minutes because my left leg was a little tight, but I felt great the whole time. I just kept wishing that I didn’t have to come back and get work done, or I would’ve gone longer! I love runs where I feel great the whole time, and like I just want to keep going.
Lots of love,
P.S.: Do you like running at night? What are your favorite running safety tips? Are there any I missed?