Safety Tips for Running at Night & Using a Headtorch
Top Running at Night Tips
- Run with a friend – one of the best tips for running at night is to run with someone else. Running with a friend or family member will make your run much safer and means you have someone there to help if something happens. If you don’t know anyone who is into running, joining a local running group is a great way to meet new people and run safely at night.
- Stay on the pavement and other well-lit areas – another important safety tip for running at night is being aware of your environment. It is best to stick to well-lit pavements and paths rather than dark parks and woods.
- Bring your phone but be wary with headphones – a top tip for running at night is to keep your phone with you. There are lots of accessories and straps that will keep your phone secure while you run. If you are going to use headphones try and keep the volume low so you are aware of your surroundings, especially when crossing busy roads.
- Have the right night running gear – one of the most common running at night tips is to make sure you have all the right kit. Reflective clothing is very important as it allows drivers and cyclists to see you more easily. A headtorch is another useful addition if you are venturing into unlit areas. Read on to discover to choose the right headtorch for running.
What to look for when you’re buying a headtorch for running
- Batteries: Most headtorches run on AA or AAA batteries, but some utilise a rechargeable battery. Consider how easy it will be to change the batteries. Bear in mind you may have to do this in the dark with cold or wet hands and away from a convenient electrical supply to recharge them.
- Tilting head: So you can direct the beam of light, say to the ground, just ahead of you or to the tent guy line you are adjusting. It is important to be able to tilt the head down a little. This needs to be easily adjustable, but not so loose and floppy that it fails to stay in place once it’s set.
- Light output: One of the most important tips for running at night is the light output your headtorch has. A headtorch’s light output is measured in lumens. An output of around 80-100 lumens is suitable for camping and general walking, while 200 lumens is ideal for navigating across open hillsides. Higher powers are useful for crossing terrain with few features, or search and rescue, as well as fast-paced activities, such as mountain biking, running or skiing.
- Burn time: The light output will dim over time as the batteries run down. The burn times provided by manufacturers are not always based on the same criteria. These will vary with temperature and function settings, so they cannot always be trusted. A must do safety tip for running at night is to always pack spare batteries. In the event that your batteries run out, you can continue to run safely in the dark. To avoid this happening often, longer burn times are a worthwhile benefit.
- Operation: Small buttons are used to operate light output. The two most important points to consider are: can the torch be operated with cold, wet and gloved hands in the dark? And could it turn on by itself in a rucksack pocket, leading to flat batteries?
- Colour of light: Most headtorches are provided with standard white LEDs, and generally these are adequate for most purposes. However red LEDs are handy when you want to preserve your own night vision, and green LEDs are useful for reading maps.
- Headstraps: Now our final tip for running at night with a headtorch is all about the fit of your headstrap. The headtorch is attached to a headband that needs to be adjustable to ensure a secure yet comfortable fit. The last thing you’ll want is this falling loose during your evening run!
To help you decide what kind of torch you’ll need when you head out of the door think about how much light you will need. Around 300 lumens will help you in all but the darkest conditions, while something like 5 or 10 will provide enough light for cars to see you.
- What type of night running will I do?
- Will there be any available light - such as street-lights, a nearby town or village - on my route?
- Will I be heading into the mountains?
- Will I be running local trails?
- Do I run in woodland? Keep in mind there is less background light available.
- Do I choose full moon outings or am I happy with moonless nights?
- How much will I be carrying?
- Is weight an issue and do I mind carrying extra batteries? This is always advisable on longer runs.
- Will I be out for one hour or 12?
- Will I be running solo or in a group? There’s more lighting available in a group due to the volume of headlamp units.
Our safety tips for running at night should give you all the advice you need! And hopefully now you’ll feel more confident with running in the dark and choosing your headtorch. If you are ever unsure on the type of head torch you are going to buy, it’s always wise to do the research beforehand. Find further tips and advice for running by heading over to our main tips page.
Find a Local Running Group
Interested in running at night but want to do it as part of a group? At RunTogether, we provide friendly and inclusive running groups all over the UK. With thousands of members joining each month, why not get involved today! Find a local running group near you using our online tool. You can also search for running routes in your area if you need inspiration for where to go.