Pilk’s Points: Safety First!

If you head out for a run after dark, always take some safety precautions. Photo: www.shutterstock.com

Running at night poses more safety risks than doing so in the daylight hours.

The kids are heading back to school, work hours seem to start earlier and drone on later, and your morning run is becoming a distant dream instead of a euphoric memory. With jam-packed schedules and five meetings per day, it’s hard to roll out of bed extra early to crank out a few miles before the daily grind. So what’s left for those of us that suffer from runner withdrawals?

The quiet, decompressing, much-needed joy of a post-work run. But before you reach for your trainers, make sure you play it safe, especially if you’re flying solo. Especially for us ladies, safety is just as necessary as a good sports bra. Here are some easy ways to ease the nerves of both you and your worrisome roomie when you step out after hours:

Carry Identification

Many identity accessories can be customized to include whatever info you feel is important — name, phone number, a parent’s phone number, school, hometown, favorite color, etc. Looking to stay safe and save some cash? Run with your driver’s license — shorts have those mini pockets for a reason!

Wear One Headphone

Many runners love to jam to favorite tunes while logging some evening miles. Be aware of your surroundings and leave one ear free while cranking up the sound. The other ear will come in handy when your neighbor’s annoying dog comes chomping after you and you need to make a quick escape.

RELATED: 5 Trail Running Safety Tips For Women

Run Against Traffic

Often drivers are on their cell phones (er, I mean …) and are not paying attention to activity around them. Running against traffic lets you see cars before drivers see you. If you’ve mastered the art of tuck and roll, you’re in the perfect position to gracefully dive out of the way if needed.

Be Bright

Now is a perfect time to dig up those obnoxiously bright socks or that hideous neon shirt you promised you’d never wear around your best friend. Headlamps are also an extremely useful — they stay in place, and they light up your path to minimize tripping issues. Throw in some cool reflective gear or trending blinkies, and you’re a moving traffic cone.

Stretch Under Light

If you’re a warm-up-and-stretch type of person, don’t stop in that awkward pitch-black park to perform the mid-run ritual. Find a streetlight or populated area to loosen up those muscles. It’s always good to force eye contact with passerby action — it’s like saying, “Nice try. I see you.”

Carry Your Phone

If I’m flying solo, I never step out after dark without my phone. Since phones can call, text, map, Facebook, and basically function as a human, you will never be stranded or disconnected from the world. It’s like a handheld run bud. Just don’t forget to charge it after work.

RELATED: More Safety Tips For Running In The Dark

Explore New Routes … Ahead Of Time

Never try a new route at night. Instead, source out an alternative ahead of time so you’re familiar with the ins and outs and potholes before turning nocturnal. It’s much harder for creepazoids to keep tabs on you if you shake up your schedule and location every week.

Tell Someone Where You’re At

It’s always good when your mother knows where you’re headed for the next hour.

Have another safety tip I didn’t include? Tweet @caitpilk and enlighten me!

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