Six top tips for staying safe while winter running
HEADING out for an evening run in winter can feel daunting, but the change in seasons shouldn't put you off altogether. A bit of smart thinking can help to keep you street safe...
1. WEAR REFLECTIVE GEAR: Dark winter evenings can make you vulnerable to cars, even if you're running on an adjacent path towards the traffic. Invest in some pieces that will help you to get noticed by oncoming vehicles in low-lit environments, which means plenty of reflective strips and hi-vis materials. Try the Lumi Women's Reflective Water Resistant Jacket (£34.99, trespass.com).
2. DITCH THE LOUD MUSIC: A great playlist can help to supercharge your run, but if you're running in the dark, you'll need your ears to stay alert and aware of your surroundings – the last thing you want is to be caught off guard. If you do use headphones, keep the volume low so you can hear the sounds of cars and other pedestrians.
3. HAVE A GPS TRACKER: Most smartphones have an option to share your GPS location with a friend, via maps or messaging platforms like WhatsApp. If you don't like to run with a phone, you could also invest in a Vodafone V-Sos band (£78, Vodafone.com). Push the band's SOS button for four seconds and it will send a signal to four emergency contacts, along with your exact whereabouts.
4. WEAR A HEADLAMP: If parts of your run aren't well-lit, it's a good idea to take a head torch so you can always see the track ahead of you – you never know when the ground might become unsteady. As well as safeguarding against potential trips and falls, it will also alert oncoming traffic to your presence.
5. RUN WITH A BUDDY: There's safety in numbers. Running with a friend can boost your confidence during evening running, especially if you live in a quiet area. If don't have any pals that run in your area, try to find a running group. Be mindful of social distancing
6. ALWAYS TELL SOMEONE YOU'RE GOING FOR A RUN: Tell – or text – a friend or family member before starting off. Include details of your route.
Liz Connor (PA)