How Runners Can Stay Visible as the Daylight Hours Shrink

Welcome to the Running newsletter! Every Saturday morning, we email runners with news, advice and some motivation to help you get up and running. Sign up here to get it in your inbox.

Dear Readers,

Now that it’s officially fall in the United States and the hours of daylight available for running are getting shorter, you may be starting or finishing a run in the dark.

Since I care about each and every one of you and don’t want you to get hit by a car or cyclist, I hope you’re making yourself visible while on those pre-dawn or post-sunset training runs.

Time to update your gear? Here are three ways to light yourself up.

The most obvious thing to do is put lights on yourself. Headlamps will make you visible and light up the path in front of you too (and some trail races require that you have one). (Wirecutter, the product reviewing company of The New York Times, has recommendations.) You can also wear the Noxgear Tracer360 to wrap your torso in light; in the same way, Knuckle Lights wrap around your, well, knuckles.

You don’t need to go too high tech for lights, either. I’ve used blinking lights designed for bikes and dog collars, and my mom has run wearing a Christmas light necklace she found at a drugstore.

Most running shoes and jackets come with small strips of reflective material, but you’ll want more than that. You can buy everything from reflective vests to running belts to wrist or ankle cuffs.

Last winter, after I stopped at my local running store for water and realized that I’d be finishing that run in the dark, I tried a sample of Safety Skin, which looked like deodorant but is supposed to reflect light when smeared on your skin. I don’t know how reflective I was because I was not a driver looking at me, but I didn’t get hit, and the spread didn’t irritate my skin. Have you tried that? Let us know how it worked.

At the very least, wear a neon-colored or white shirt when you run in the dark. I highly doubt that most people reading this newsletter are ninjas. Even if you are, I don’t think you’re doing ninja things at 5 a.m. on a Monday. So dress brightly.

What do you do to make sure you’re visible in the dark? Let me know — I’m on Twitter @byjenamiller. And of course, choosing a route that keeps you out of the path of cars as much as possible is a good idea any time of day, but especially in the dark!


Forward it to your friends, and let them know they can sign up here.