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Be safe, be seen – winter running advice

Updated: Oct 17, 2023

Sarah Baker is a leader with Jog Derbyshire group Rogue Runners Ripley. With colder, darker nights upon us, she shares her love of all things bold and bright and how to make sure you stand out for all the right reasons when running in the winter.

Brighten up your clothing

For a while my mantra has been – “Dare to be different, dare to be bold. Stand out in a crowd. Be original, be amazing be you!”

I’ve been a ‘hobby jogger’ for a few years now, but right from the beginning, I have expressed myself through my jazzy leggings and accessories and tried not to take myself too seriously as I took up running to get fit and have fun. However, despite my love of garish gear, there is a serious reason for my choice of attire – be seen, be safe.

Fluorescent colours help you to be seen in the daytime as they react with the ultra-violet rays from the sun. However, once it starts getting dark, these colours become ineffective and you need to add something reflective to your outfit. Reflective materials bounce back the light from the source, e.g. car headlights so that the driver can see you.

Light up your life

Due to the time of year, lots of us are finding ourselves out in the dark with low visibility and with this comes increased danger from traffic and uneven terrain; not to mention the potential to step in something unpleasant. Therefore, as well as wearing reflective clothing, it is strongly advisable that you wear some lights. There are lots of different lights available to choose from and everyone will have a personal preference.

For a normal on-road run, I like to wear an adjustable chest light to help other pedestrians and drivers know my direction of travel; with the red light on my back and the white one on my front. I also have flashing ankle bands/shoe lights to help illuminate my path and to show that I am a runner.

Head torches are also great but to avoid blinding your fellow runners, it is essential that you learn ‘light etiquette’ and are able to operate it whilst wearing it – this skill continues to evade me!

Where to buy

With choice comes varying degrees of cost, but you should be able to purchase a good set of lights for between £10-£15 and sometimes even less from the central aisle of a couple of well-known bargain supermarket chains. There’s also lots of choice on Amazon and other websites.

I recommend that where possible you buy rechargeable ones as long as you remember to charge them between runs. Also, allow a bit of extra time to get fully illuminated before you set off, this can take longer than you think.

To ensure that all my fellow Jog Derbyshire runners continue to be amazing, please stand out in the crowd by making sure that you can be seen so that you’re safe.

You can find out more about Rogue Runners Ripley by visiting their website here.
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