Running through the darkness

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With our days getting shorter and the night’s drawing out – it can be hard to get motivated to exercise outside. But darkness shouldn’t be a barrier to getting out and keeping up your regular outdoor exercise routine. Follow our helpful tips to make sure you stay safe when you are out exercising at whatever time suits you best.

Brighten up

It can be difficult for cars to see runners in the dark, especially if you’re wearing dark coloured clothing. Wearing bright colours with reflective material can really help illuminate your presence! Most sports shops sell reflective clothing or reflective bibs if you don’t want to shell out for totally new kit. The aim is to stand out like a beacon! Whichever way you chose to light yourself up, always make sure you are visible from the front and the back so both directions of traffic can see you.

Light up

Not only is it hard for others to see you in the dark, but it is also hard for you to see the road, trail or footpath in front of you while you run. There are loads of fit for purpose small lights available that you can wear or hold while running to light up the path ahead. Plus, drivers and cyclists will be able to see you better. Most sport stores sell lightweight running head torches that are not as heavy or bulky as your traditional minor’s light, with some that even fasten around your waist. These are great, relatively inexpensive, options to improve the visibility and safety of your run!

Stay hydrated

When it’s colder, you may not notice your body’s thirst signals as clearly as you do in warm weather, which may result in drinking less water. Also, if you’re cold, your body has to work harder to maintain its core temperature, so your body actually loses more fluid through respiration and sweat. Likewise, if you are overdressed in cold weather, your body may be producing more sweat than you realise. Cold, dry air from outside and indoor heating can also lead to increased fluid loss. So, make sure you dress appropriately and keep up your water intake throughout the day.

Warm up

Taking 5 minutes to properly warm-up goes a long way to activate your core and legs, and that translates to having a great run. A simple routine of 5-7 lunges forward, side to side, and to the rear, run on the spot for a couple of minutes and a couple of yoga sun salutations will open things up and have you ready to go once you hit the cold weather. And the cold never feels quite as cold when you’re already warm! Don’t forgot to put on warm, dry clothes as soon as you get back from your run as your core body temperature drops as soon as you stop running.

Run right

If you are running on the road, it’s best to stick to the right so you’re facing the traffic. This way the traffic can see you more easily and you’re in a better position to see them. You’re much more likely to be able to get out the way quickly of cars or road users if you can see them first.

Check your sounds

Listening to music on your run is a great motivator but can be dangerous when it’s dark. When running in the dark, you need to rely on all your senses, not just your sight so, it’s important you can hear what is going on around you. Try running with just one side in, or some newer headphones have a hear-through function so you can listen to music but also hear surrounding noise at the same time.

Eat up

It’s so important to keep your nutrition in check through the winter months. With more colds and respiratory infections doing the rounds at this time of year, taking care of your body and supporting your immune system with a diet filled with nutrients is key to staying healthy. Try adding White Wolf Nutrition – Greens + Gut Health & Immunity to support your healthy diet. You can also improve your body’s natural immunity by adding Gaspari Nutrition – Elderberry Immunity Gummies.

Run to the light

Rethink your run route if you’re used to running on trails. Although it can be nice and peaceful, some secluded trails can be more dangerous at night and it’s also easy to get lost. Stick to busier roads and well-lit areas. It may not be as exciting, but you’ll be a lot safer. Well-lit routes also reduce your risk of injury.

Run with a Friend (or your four-legged friend)

Safety in numbers! A running group can give you extra motivation and keep you safe. If you don’t have a club near you, running with someone else – or your dog – drastically reduces the chance of someone accosting you. You’ll have a mate to keep you motivated and an extra set of eyes and ears to stay on the lookout. If you do choose to run alone – tell someone where you’re going and always be aware of your surroundings.

The winter months shouldn’t put a freeze on your training. Follow our tips, stay safe, warm and light up the road ahead!

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