I do much of my running in the dark. When you have to run, shower, get a toddler ready for school and be ready for work by 7AM, that’s the way it goes. But I really don’t want to be hidden from cars driving around. I know that a lot of drivers may not see runners on the side of the road, especially in the dark and at 5 in the morning when they may be bleary-eyed already. I’m just doing my part to help them out, as well as helping my own peace of mind. Here are some ways to improve your running visibility:
I have a set of KnuckleLights that I purchased through Amazon. It can be a nuisance to hold something in your hands and if you have a handheld water bottle, then it’s one more thing to hold… however, these are really bright and I really like the way you can aim them at something to get a good luck in different directions. I ran past a dark, vacant lot the other morning and got a weird vibe. It was nice to be able to sweep my light across the lot to get a look at the whole area… and then hustle my butt past the area because it’s always smart to trust your intuition.
I backed this project on Kickstarter and I’m really glad that I did. The belt charges via USB, one charge lasts 2-3 weeks (depending on how long you’re running in the dark) it has different settings (solid light or blinking light) and it provides a nice chunk of light to make you visible. I like wearing it on my waist, with the light on my side, so it wraps around to my front and back.
There are a wide variety of headlamps available in a wide range of prices. I bought mine for about $20 at REI in 2008 for a midnight race. I find a headlamp is very annoying without a hat/visor on, but it is a convenient way to get light that doesn’t require the use of your hands. I wore it for my long leg in the middle of the night during my most recent Ragnar so I could carry my handheld water bottle as well.
This is a necessity if you are doing a relay race, not just for your own running legs but everyone must wear a vest during the specified “night” hours. I wore the Road Noise vest, the only product I’m mentioning here that I didn’t purchase myself but it’s a great product and it’s really pretty comfortable. You can tighten it up so you don’t have a lot of extra material flapping or twisting around you. Plus it has removable speakers in the shoulders so you can listen to tunes without obstructing your ears with headphones.
There are lots of clip-on blinking lights on the market. Most of these are not meant to help you see things better, but are designed to help make you more visible. One that looks cool but I don’t have, is the Armpocket Flash. I do use an Armpocket for all of my runs to carry my phone, so this one kind of makes sense because it wouldn’t be an additional thing that I’m not used to carrying already. PS – I really recommend Armpockets because they’re comfy, they can hold a lot of crap and you don’t have to wear something on your waist!
Bonus: Light-up Elsa dress
My two-year-old daughter ran a 5K in her Elsa Halloween dress. This one has motion-activated lights AND music! However, I don’t think they make it in my size…
What are your favorite ways to make sure you’re seen when running/walking in the dark?