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Winter Running – Be Safe, Be Seen

Reflective gear on a rainy winter run

The clocks have fallen back, and with the days getting shorter, wetter and darker, it is more important than ever to make sure you are properly equipped when you are out there for your run.

It seems like all too often, we think it’s all about whether or not we can see where we are going, versus considering whether other people can see us. I have to admit that I am guilty of this as well. Sure, running on a neighborhood sidewalk that has street lights is relatively safe – the only people you might come across are the occasional walker and cars at intersections you cross. But if you are like many runners I know, you tend to run in the road versus sidewalk… or you incorporate part of the Springwater Corridor or another multi-use trail into your loop. I know I enjoy doing that whenever possible – and I know there have been times I have been out on the trail without being as visible as I should be.

As a person who uses the Springwater Corridor to bike commute daily, I am reminded all too frequently how important it is for everyone to be well illuminated. Making sure cars can see you when on a bike is a no brainer – we all need to be aware of things that are bigger or faster than we are.

It is not just cars that bikers and runners need to be aware of. I don’t know how many times I have been biking home and nearly run over a walker or runner without enough reflective gear on to pick up my headlamp. A reflective jacket or vest would be good; a light even better. I know I always appreciate it when someone is well illuminated out on the trail. And even when not cruising along at 20 mph on a bike, I know there are times I have been doing a wintertime headlamp-lit tempo run on the Springwater and nearly run over walkers or off-leash dogs that haven’t been wearing reflective gear. When going the opposite direction, they can at least see me if I have lights, but it is important for both sides of the equation to be thinking about safety. While we can’t do anything about the behaviors of anyone else, we can all choose to think safety first anytime we head out for a walk, run or bike ride – put on some lights and reflective gear. It’s not just for your own ability to be able to see where you’ve going, but for the safety of everyone else trying to get out and enjoy some fresh air in these shorter days of the year.

If you are looking for options to make yourself seen (and see better in the dark), here are a few options I am personally* a big fan of:
Black Diamond Sprinter headlamp – bright, lightweight, rechargeable, and has a rear red blinking light
Amphipod Xinglet reflective vest – nice fitting highly reflective “vest”

But those are just my own personal picks. I know there are plenty of other options people use, and many more available at local running stores. Perhaps it is time to go use your membership discount at Foot Traffic and get yourself stocked up on some safety gear for the season? After all, we still have almost 2 months left of the days getting shorter before we start gaining any light (that doesn’t come from the headlamp or reflective vest we are wearing).

Be safe and be seen out there!

*These are personal preferences and not an endorsement on behalf of the club


One Response to “Winter Running – Be Safe, Be Seen”

  1. Well said and yes I agree ” more is better ” whatever promotes better visibility for you ” is going to keep you running or biking or whatever” and out of the Doctors office or worse yet hospital or….
    Lights , vests , armbands arm warmers and reflective

    Jo-Ann’s fabrics has a good assortment of reflective yarn , thread , tape etc..

    Posted by Paul Johnson | November 5, 2014, 4:52 pm

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