Deputy Science and Tech Editor, Izzy Sinanian, gives us tips about how to stay safe when running at night.
Up until last year I despised running and to this day, there is still nothing more off-putting to me than running on a treadmill at 2 o’clock on a Saturday afternoon. Oddly specific, I know. Before now, the only time that I voluntarily chose to run on my account was at night when I was stressed. I have never been a good runner, which has inadvertently put me off going on runs, and it has taken me a long time to come to terms with that. Over the past few years, I have explored going on night runs every so often. People would always tell me how unsafe it was, and how mad I was. Yes, I would be lying if I said running in the dark as a woman isn’t scary, but why is the onus on me to change? What I have learnt is that running at night clears my head and allows me to process my thoughts. It’s like my mini-break away from reality. So honestly, if I am not good at it, who cares?
Now, I do feel confident enough to run in the dark. Am I often still on edge and paranoid? Yes, but I have learnt that all these “what if” situations are never going to just disappear, whether at night-time or in daylight. Consequently, we should take matters into our own hands and provide ourselves with solutions to make us feel more comfortable.
At night, I prefer to run on the right-hand side of the pavement towards oncoming traffic, so I can see what is going on ahead. Therefore, if I see something strange or feel uncomfortable for any reason, I know ahead of time and can simply adjust my route accordingly.
That moves onto my next point: plan, plan, plan. I always, always have a general idea of the route I am going to run and tend to stick to areas that I know well. I just want to make myself feel as comfortable as I can, so I know where I am going, and I’m not going to get lost. The other bonus is that I know which roads are the most lit. I can’t tell you how many times I have almost tripped or run into a puddle because I physically couldn’t see where I was stepping, never mind other people that could also be around. It has given me a gauge for my improvement, as I know where the “finish line” is.
Lastly, I cannot stress enough to always bring your phone, ID, and a £20 note (ideally in the back of your phone case). For me, it is all about having that extra security, in case of an emergency. Additionally, someone always knows when I am out on a night run or when I’m walking back at night after basketball training.
For any women out there that want to run at night or are walking home from training or the gym, don’t prevent yourself from doing these things just because you’re a woman. The onus isn’t on you as a woman, it is on society. Remember, that you always have a hand in how comfortable you can make yourself feel and how confident you can be in where you’re going.