Tips for Safe Night Running

Tips for Safe Night Running

, by Chas Waters, 14 min reading time

Is It Okay to Jog at Night?

Many people wonder if is it safe to run at night? With the right gear it can be!

Some people head indoors to train when the sun goes down, choosing to run on a treadmill or lift weights. Other people love the sights, smells and freedom of the outdoors and would rather stay outside when working out, no matter how dark it is. You don’t have to work out indoors just because the sun is setting.

Whether you run to unwind and relax at the end of the day or to maintain or improve your fitness levels, one of the challenges of late-night, outdoor running is a lack of visibility, especially during the winter when the sun sets early.

The evening is often the most convenient time for many individuals to work out but people often wonder is it safe to run at night? Being hyperaware of your running environment is extremely important especially when you are running in low visibility. While running at night may seem unsafe, there are many safety tips for running at night that can help ensure you are doing all of the right things to stay safe while taking a jog at night. Often, night running safety gear is one of the best ways you can keep yourself safe while enjoying your nightly run. We encourage you to check out all of our night running tips and make sure you have the proper gear before going out for your next night jog.

Running at Night Benefits

Going running at night can have many benefits on your health.

Benefits of running at night

We get it — running during the day isn’t always an option if you’re at work or it’s just too hot outside. Nighttime often brings cooler temperatures, less traffic and fewer pedestrians. For some, those perks make the evening hours the best for running. But there’s also less light during the night, reducing visibility and potentially increasing your risk of injury. Night runners can suffer minor and major injuries if they’re unaware of what’s in front and behind them. In 2020, 6,721 pedestrian deaths occurred in the U.S., this  number is on the rise since last year making it more important than ever to pay attention to how you can keep yourself safe while taking your next night jog.

Although it pays to think safety first, running at night isn’t exactly bad. You’re likely to find that running at night has multiple benefits, including.

  • Maintaining an active lifestyle: Running at night can help keep you active. If you get home from work and lace up your running shoes, you’re less likely to park yourself on the couch and watch TV all night. Going for an evening run can give you a boost of energy so you’re ready to do some chores or other tasks when you return home. The benefit of getting up and moving at night versus sitting on the couch and diving into your next TV show binge has both long-term health and habit benefits that can last a lifetime.
  • De-stressing: Have you had a stressful day at work? Are you looking to relax? Taking a run after the sun sets also helps you de-stress. Running refreshes your mind, helps you think positively and gives you more energy to read one more chapter, look over your presentation or finalize any big plans.
  • Encouraging healthy habits throughout the day: If you run at night, you may be more likely to make healthier decisions during the day. For example, you might decide to eat a healthier lunch rather than hitting the drive-through window. Eating a light lunch can help you with your weight loss goals and can help you feel better as you run. If you choose a salad with lean protein instead of a burger and fries, you may enjoy your evening run a lot more. Running at night also influences what you eat and drink at dinner. After a run, you might choose water rather than a beer or other type of alcoholic beverage with your meal.
  • Improving sleep: Another benefit of running at night is better sleep. You’re more likely to fall asleep quickly if you schedule an evening run, especially if you’re the type of person who gets tired after exercising. To get the most benefit, schedule your evening run at least a couple of hours before bedtime. If you exercise too close to bedtime, you might disrupt your circadian rhythms.

Panther Vision has a few safety tips for running at night. Along with playing it safe, you can also check out our line of POWERCAP® LED Lighted Hats for exceptional visibility during your night run.

Top Tips for Night Running

How to Stay Safe on a Late Night Run.

The key to staying safe when running at night is to see and be seen. Increasing visibility lets drivers see you and lets you see and react to hazards such as branches, potholes, fences and puddles. Make it your biggest priority to stay visible and alert. While the following tips also hold true for daytime activities, they are even more crucial after sunset.

1. Pay Attention to Your Surroundings

Though running helps you clear your mind, it’s still important to pay attention to what’s happening around you. Make note of others on the road, including cars, pedestrians and fellow runners. If possible, don’t wear earbuds or headphones when you run, or wear them in just one ear. You need to be able to hear approaching cars, sirens and people. If you prefer to listen to something, choose a podcast or audiobook. Music can drown out noise, while listening to a voice may still allow you to hear what’s happening around you.

2. Keep It Simple

Instead of heading out along a 5-mile route, consider running along a 2.5-mile loop twice, so you don’t go too far from home in the dark. Make sure to warm up before sprinting on the road by eating a healthy snack and performing several stretches to stay loose. You can even start by walking the first bit if you’ve been sitting all day at work to keep yourself from experiencing tight muscles or injuries.

3. Run Against Traffic

Running on the left side of the road is one of the best ways to give drivers a clear view of what’s in front of them and helps you see what’s coming your way. Try to stay away from exercising during rush hour or along busy roads. Instead, stick to less-congested routes. You can also run on the sidewalk, if one is available, instead of in the street.

4. Wear Bright, Vibrant and Reflective Colors

Colors such as white, orange and yellow are perfect for running in the dark. You can also choose to wear apparel made of high-visibility fabrics. Your gloves, hats and shoes should have reflective properties, too. You can also wear a headlight. To make it easier for others to see the light, wear your reflective strip gear around your arms and legs, not around your waist.

5. Run Behind Cars at Intersections

You can be a defensive runner by assuming drivers aren’t looking out for you and remembering to look out for them. Run behind cars at intersections, not in front. The driver might not have seen you and could pull out into the street while you are in front of their car. Running behind vehicles also helps keep traffic moving and causes less confusion. When you come to an intersection, try to make eye contact with the drivers there, to confirm that they see you.

6. Wear a Baseball Cap and Clear Glasses

A hat and glasses protect you from low-hanging objects such as tree branches. A pair of glasses can keep bugs and debris from hitting your face or getting into your eyes. If you wear prescription glasses normally, it’s a good idea to keep them on when you run. Otherwise, choose a pair of protective goggles to keep things away from your face. You might also want to attach a strap to your glasses to reduce the chance of them falling off your face.

7. Switch up Your Route

Changing up your course can be a smart move, as it can reduce the risk of being mugged. Always make sure you are familiar with the route before you set off so you don’t get lost. You might want to pick out several different courses and rotate through them during the week.

8. Exercise With a Friend or Companion Animal

It’s more fun to run with a friend or two, not to mention safer. You can take turns planning routes and can lower the chance of having a confrontation with a stranger when you’re with someone else. It’s also a good way to catch up with people you might not often see otherwise. Plus, making a date to run with a friend helps you hold yourself accountable. You are more likely to go for a run if you know your friend is waiting for you.

If a friend isn’t available, consider bringing your dog with you on the run. Your canine companion provides an extra layer of protection for you. They may also enjoy the benefit of exercise if they’re running alongside you.

9. Run in Well-Lit Areas or Use Night Running Lights

Working out in bright areas helps you to be seen by pedestrians and cars, and helps you see as well. For example, run at a local track, a sidewalk in a more populated area or along the main street where there are restaurants, shops and other nightlife. If you do not have the option to run in a lighted area, we strongly encourage you to use night running lights. A solution like a lighted LED baseball cap can provide you with the visibility you need to see properly while running at night.

10. Dress Appropriately

Wearing layers helps you avoid getting overheated or being too cold during a run. Wear clothing made of moisture-wicking material closest to your body. The fabric should pull sweat away from you so you don’t become too cold as your sweat dries. Moisture-wicking fabrics, such as technical fabrics or wool, are also more comfortable to wear.

If you are going for a run on a chilly night, you might want to wear gloves and a beanie, too.

11. Use a Night Running App

night running tips
If you got lost or need assistance, some apps have features that notify your emergency contacts. For example, if you’re feeling scared, you’re injured or you can’t find your way back, you can tap a button on an app to send a message to a contact. Along with keeping you safe, your app can help you keep track of your route and can tell you how many calories you’ve burned.

12. Carry Your ID and Your Phone

Tuck your ID card into your phone case, pocket or an ID tag when you go for a run at night. Emergency responders and medical professionals can use your ID to determine who to contact if you are injured or unconscious. It’s also a good idea to have your phone on you, even if you aren’t using an app. You can use it to call for help if needed. You might want to put emergency information into your phone, such as an “in case of emergency” (ICE) contact. Another option is to write out emergency instructions on a card and carry it with your phone and ID.

13. Gear up With Smart LED Technology

You might find yourself in a situation where you want more light during a nighttime run. Wearable LEDs light the path ahead of you while keeping your hands free. A hat or beanie with a built-in light keeps the path ahead illuminated, even if a street lamp has burned out or other sources of lighting aren’t available.

Best Night Running Safety Gear

The key to running at night safely is having the right gear.

best night running gear

When we mention night running lights to take with you on your workout, we aren’t referring to lanterns or having to run only in places with light poles. Panther Vision manufactures a collection of light solutions that help you take on your night exercises. From our hands-free POWERCAP® hats and beanies and LIGHTSPECS® to our BUTTON LAMPS™ and FLATEYE™ flashlights, you will find our uncommon solutions for common problems are accessible and functional.

If you’re thinking of what to wear running at night, Panther Vision has you covered with our line of POWERCAP® hats and beanies. Both the baseball caps and beanies deliver hands-free LED lighting to help you jump over sticks, dodge potholes and be seen by oncoming traffic. As the sun begins to set and the moon gives you a bit of light for your run, slip on a POWERCAP® to shine a light on your unclear strides ahead. Our patented designs have LED lights, and they are made of reflective material to increase the safety of you and others.

Our equipment can help keep night runners safe — whether you’re out for a refreshing exercise in the summer or completing a full workout in the colder months with snow well on its way. Our POWERCAP® fleece hats will keep you insulated, and our hats will provide the right amount of ventilation as needed.

The LED lights we use in our caps are more than safety lights for runners at night. You can implement our beanies or hats into daily life or for things such as hiking, camping, automobile maintenance and much more. Panther Vision LED lighted caps have lithium coin cell batteries and are functional for when you’re in need of light but don’t want to hold anything.

Instead of a lack of light or even weather getting in your way of pounding out that mile or quick sprint around the neighborhood, rely on POWERCAP®. Our products are ideal for athletes who need extra light when running in the dark and even workers who need light in hard to reach places with hands-free options.

The Power Within the Panther

Panther Vision delivers unique solutions for daily difficulties such as exercising at night — or performing any activity where you need a bit of extra shine. We strive to provide smarter lighting products that you may not have ever known existed. We want to make your life more comfortable and offer a fresh viewpoint when it comes to our POWERCAPS®. Our experts purge conventional solutions and replace them with our LED technology and hands-free lighting.

Backed by a limited lifetime warranty, our products are ready to light up your view. Panther professionals are outdoors people, too. So we know all about the need for comfort, safety and accessibility. We do our part to preserve the environment by manufacturing our products with recycled material.

Brighten Your View With Our Night Running Safety Gear

Order our Powercaps™ online and be prepared to put your best running foot forward. No more tripping over branches or potholes, no more feeling unsafe and no more invisible exercising where you blend into the bushes, buildings and parked cars. Stay safe no matter how many hills you conquer or how many sprints you undertake. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us. We look forward to helping light your way soon.

About the Author:

Chas Waters

As the VP of Sales and Marketing for Panther Vision, Chas Waters has played a pivotal part in helping Panther Vision continue to create innovative lighting products. As a true outdoorsman, Chas brings a wealth of expertise into what lighting solutions are the most useful for our customers. He has been a key member of the Panther Vision team, starting in the business when he was 16 years old, and prides himself in finding the best solutions to help our customers experience the outdoors and make their lives easier with our products.


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