8 Tips for Running Safely in the Dark

January 31, 2024

Nick Hancock
A man running through a dimly lit street at night.

I get it – life is a whirlwind, and squeezing in a run can sometimes mean hitting the pavement when the stars are out. Whether you're an early morning runner tackling the dawn or a night owl hitting the road after sunset, running in the dark can be an exhilarating experience.

Juggling busy schedules and those chilly winter months means sometimes the darkness is your only option.

No worries, though! I've got your back with some game-changing tips to make sure your night running adventure is not only safe but downright rewarding. Let's shed some light on how to own the night!

1. Choose a Well-Lit Route

When it comes to night running, choosing well-lit routes is your first line of defense for a safe and enjoyable experience. Stick to paths adorned with ample street lighting to keep visibility at its peak, helping you stay aware and reducing potential risks.

While there's an allure in exploring new territories, consider running the same route you know during the dark hours. Familiarity breeds confidence, and you'll navigate with ease.

Now, if you've got your eye on a fresh route, take a moment to recce it in the daylight before venturing out after dark. This simple step ensures you're well-acquainted with potential twists and turns, making every stride a confident one.

A woman jogging alone at night on a road.

2. Wear Reflective Gear

When you're out there running in the dark, being seen is non-negotiable, and rocking some reflective gear is your secret weapon. Invest in reflective clothing and accessories to ensure you're easily seen by both drivers, pedestrians and even other runners.

There's plenty of available running gear with reflective detailing. Think reflective vests, belts, harnesses, wrist straps, arm bands, and even tape.

3. Run Facing Oncoming Traffic

When you're rocking that night run, boosting your awareness can be made that much easier by running against oncoming traffic. Staying safe is your priority, especially when running in the dark!

When you face those headlights, you can spot oncoming cars and potential dangers much quicker.

4. Bring a Running Buddy

Running the dark is much easier (and safer) when you have a buddy by your side. If things do go sideways for any reason, it's good to know someone is there with you. Whether it's a human running mate or your trusty four-legged friend, safety thrives in numbers.

No running buddy on the horizon? No problem. Ask a friend to bike alongside you, or check out local running clubs for a crew that's ready to run along with you.

Three women sprinting in the dark at night.

5. Carry a Light Source

When you're running in the dark, bring a light with you, like a headlamp or a flashlight. You can attach the light to your belt, shoes, or hat.

A good head torch helps you see where you're going and makes you easier for cars to notice. This is especially important if you're running in places with uneven ground. If you're running early in the morning or at night, using a head torch is really helpful.

Even if the street is well-lit, there might be spots where it's hard to see, and head torches make you more visible to people and cars.

6. Avoid Noise-Cancelling Headphones and Loud Music

Skip the noise-cancelling headphones and loud music for late night running sessions. It might be tempting to jam out, but being aware of your surroundings is super important.

Noise-cancelling headphones block out important sounds like traffic on busy roads, people, or even a stream you might not see.

Running in the dark means you want to stay alert and hear what's going on around you. Stay safe and save the music for daytime runs or gym sessions!

A female runner enjoying music on her phone, wearing headphones at night.

7. Let Someone Know You're Going Running

Before you hit the road for your nighttime run, make sure someone knows your plans. It's a safety must-do for male and female runners! Tell a friend or family member how long you'll be out, how many miles you're running, and the direction you're headed.

Just in case anything happens, they'll have the info they need. If you've got a smartphone, you can even share your location with them while you're running.

It's a simple step that adds an extra layer of safety to your nighttime run.

8. Bring Your Phone and ID

When you're out for your nighttime run, make sure to bring your phone and ID. It can be a literal lifesaver. Put your emergency contact information on speed dial or set them up so they're easy to reach, even if your phone is locked.

A cell phone also share your location with others using apps like what3words in case you need help. Carrying stuff on your run is an art itself, and it's important to leep your phone safe from rain in a watertight bag or case. You can stash it in your waist pack or vest too!


Running in the dark has its unique vibe, especially when you want a break from the daytime hustle. It's quieter, and if you're on trails, you might even catch a glimpse of the stars. But remember, safety first!

Use the safety tips for running at night in this guide to make sure your run stays awesome, and safe. Stay visible, bring a light, and let someone know your plan. That way, you can enjoy the calmness and stillness of the night, and feel comfortable running late at the same time.

Author: Nick Hancock is a UESCA Certified Ultrarunning coach and UK Athletics Coach in Running Fitness (CiRF) and has coached many busy professionals and parents to achieve finishes, top-10s and podiums in events such as London Marathon, Manchester Marathon, Amsterdam Marathon, UTMB, UTS, Centurion events, Endure24, Backyards and many more. Host of the Maximum Mileage Running Podcast and author of the Ultimate Cookbook for Runners.

He can be found on Instagram @runwithnick

Now go run hard! And remember, if you ever want to talk about the potential you can reach with an online running coach then do get in touch by hitting that enquiry button

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