My name is Carol Bird, I’m a member of the Bear Team, Running Bear Ambassador, Congleton Harriers Club runner & the ladies rep for NSRRA (North Staffs Road Runners Association).
Autumn is one of my favourite times of year for running as I prefer the cooler weather & beautiful scenery, when the leaves turn golden and red! However, now that the clocks have changed, I can’t pretend to like the short days and dark nights.
It’s a sad fact that as female runners, we can feel unsafe running on our own in the dark. So with that in mind, I thought it an appropriate time for a few reminders about staying safe.
Sadly we can’t eliminate all the risks but by taking a few sensible precautions, we can run with more confidence.
1. Safety in numbers
I love the social aspect of running with other people as I find it fun, it passes the time and it makes me go out on dark
dreary nights when I don’t feel motivated. I also feel safer knowing that other people are with me. It can sometimes be
hard though to fit in with other people’s plans or club nights and some runners just prefer to zone out and have some
‘me time’ running alone. That’s fine but all the more reason to pay attention to safety.
2. Inform someone that you’re running.
Wherever possible, let someone know that you’re going out, where you are intending to run, and approximately what
time to expect you back. Some watches and Apps allow live tracking.
3. Be careful about sharing information.
If you do share your runs on an App such as Strava, It’s sensible to vary routes and times so that your whereabouts are not
so predictable. Strava now has a facility to hide your last mile if you don’t want people to know where you live.
4. Carry your phone
Anything can happen – even on shorter runs.. So it’s good to have the reassurance that if you, or someone else is injured, in
difficulty, or feels unsafe, you’re able to contact someone. Most phones also have a payment facility should you need it.
If you don’t have a pocket in your shorts/leggings, then phone holders are available in the shape of belts, arm bands and
5. See ..
Running in darkness can throw up a few trip hazards especially on roads that are not so well lit so it does help to carry, or
even better wear some form of torch. They vary in price which usually indicates Lumens (how bright it is).
I personally prefer a rechargeable chest light as I find it more comfortable. Good lights are always a great investment as
they also enable runners who enjoy trail to continue running throughout winter.
6. ..And be seen.
Hi viz vests, lights and reflective gear are essential on dark nights especially on roads with narrow or no pavements at all.
I wear a Gato vest with white lights on the front and flashing red on the back. There are also arm bands and even flashing
clips that fit on to the back of running shoes.
7. Safe Headphones
Many runners like to listen to music or podcasts when running. Whilst it’s great to zone out or disappear into your own
world during a run, it can be dangerous to be unaware of what’s going on around you. Bone conductor headphones
(such as Shokz) don’t go into your ear so you can still hear traffic, instructions, or anyone approaching from behind. They
are also the only headphones permitted in races for those who feel that they can’t run without them.
8. Alarms and Sprays
Hopefully you will never have to use one but personal attack alarms are now really small and easy to carry. Many are just
on key rings which can be bought for under £10. They are surprisingly loud and are easily activated by pulling
out the tab which can be quickly put back in if its a false alarm. It just makes me feel a bit less vulnerable knowing I have it
with me. Sprays are also available which emit dyes and foul odours as well a dyes and a loud alarm.
In all the time that I’ve been running, I’m glad to say that I have never had any real safety concerns and I think it’s very important to keep things in perspective but it’s also important to be sensible and take your safety seriously so that you can continue running at all times of day or night. I know that many of you are very experienced runners and will already be aware of much of this information, but it may assist those who are newer to our sport or not as up to date on technology.
Happy running everyone and if you would like any further information or advice regarding the above or anything else please don’t hesitate to visit me at Running Bear!