5 Tips for Running at Night

5 Tips for Running at Night

Running at Night

The nights are drawing in, there’s a little chill in the air and before the month is out the clocks (at least in the UK) will be going back.

Welcome to autumn and running at night!

If you want to continue to run during the darker months it seems to me you have a few options.

  • Only run in the daytime. For most people this will mean limiting your running to weekends only
  • Wake up before the birds and go for an early morning run
  • Take to the treadmill
  • Embrace running at night!

I guess a lot of people will do a mixture of the four but I thought I’d write some tips on staying safe when running at night.


If you are running at night you will want to be seen. Fluorescent tops and jackets are good but reflectiveness is even better. Look for reflective strips, logos, stripes and anything else. I rather like these leggings from Under Armour, there’s a matching top too!

Under Armour Luminous running leggings
An all over reflective print. Perfect for nighttime running!

As well as reflection how about lights? Lighted armbands, shoe clips and vests will certainly get you noticed. Nathan Sports have a range of things that light up. Head torches are another good idea if you are running anywhere with low or no streetlights. You’ll be able to see where you are going and people will be able to see you.

Whatever you do just don’t wear all black!

Know where you are going

Even if you are pounding the pavement in well lit areas it’s worth knowing where you are going! Running at night things can look a little different and the last thing you want to do is get lost. This goes double if you are planning any off road routes or roads and paths that are unlit.

Join a gang

photo by David Jones (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Autumn and winter is a great time to join a running club. Running with other people is a fantastic motivator to get you out of the house on a cold, dark evening. Club runs will have a group leader who will keep you on track and safe. Running with a club might mean you get to explore new routes too. Run England have a group locator but a quick google search is bound to come up with a group near you.

If you don’t think a club is right for you then try and meet up with running friends and go running together. You can even make it a social occasion and end up in a pub for food and a drink, or plan to finish at your house for a quick and easy bite to eat.

It’s much more fun running with other people at night.

Unplug your headphones

Although listening to music might make the nighttime run go faster it’s not the safest thing to run with headphones at night. You will need all your senses working well to keep you safe from nighttime traffic. It will also mean you aren’t spooked by passing dog walkers or pavement cyclists, just because you are highly visible doesn’t mean other people will be!

Embrace the night time noises

The spookiest thing I have ever heard was when running at night last winter. Not rustling or the hooting of owls but the cry of the muntjac deer. It took me a while to get used to it!

A muntjac deer in a sunny grassy spot taken by Peter O'Connor via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Muntjac deers may look small and cute but their bark is quite startling! {source}

You probably have other distinctive noises to get used to. Foxes can be quite spooky when they cry out, or perhaps it’s just the noise of other people!

So what are your tips for running at night? Do you keep running or do you do other activities once the darkness draws in?

  • Sarojini

    Thanks for this post; it’s certainly very important to make a few changes when you run at night. From now, just about all of my runs will be after dark. Love all your tips, and I would add to look where you’re treading more carefully; that is, be aware of irregularities in your surface. It’s easier to stumble and trip over bumpy pavements, tree roots, fallen twigs etc. when there are shadows, especially the annoying ones caused by passing cars that leave you momentarily blinded. I’d much rather slow down a little if I’m not sure what I’m about to step on than risk a fall and possible injury.

    • Good point! Things like bumpy pavements and tree roots, or even rubbish people have dropped on the street, can be hazardous in low light.

      How was your race today?

  • Great tips! Running at night definitely requires some preparation if you want to stay safe. I would also suggest staying on side walks whenever possible and if there isn’t a sidewalk, run against traffic in the bike lane/shoulder so cars can see you coming. Flashing lights make a big difference and lights on your arms and legs will also help you to be seen. Arms and legs are moving, so any lights will also be moving and are more likely to be seen by cars.

    • Good tips, it makes sense that if you are in a town you should stay on the pavements if possible. Although you then have to watch out for the bins on bin collection day. The wheely bins we have here can be dangerous!

      I’ve been looking for some light up arm bands to use with my running group. Having to look out for other people definitely makes me more aware of how noticeable I am when I run.

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