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Play it Safe

Winter months give us limited hours of daylight, forcing many of us to do our rides and runs in the darkness. Working out in the dark, when the streets are eerily quiet, can be quite the adrenaline rush. On the flip side, there are also additional safety concerns you should take into consideration. Here are some items to consider before the next time you head out.  

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Reflective Vest Even if you’re running in a well-lit area like a neighborhood, wearing 360-degree reflective gear is imperative so that cars will see you – crucial for nighttime. Get over the vanity of how it might look; your safety is worth it. With the anatomical design of workout-specific vests, you can also be sure that you’ll be noticed without any loss of range of motion.

Headlamp For those who want to take that longer run or ride off the main roads and onto a trail at some point, a headlamp is a great idea. It will allow you to always see what is all around you. A well-lit path can ease some anxiety and also minimize any accidental falls. A small handheld flashlight would also work fairly well if you’re looking for a cheaper option.

Go Noiseless While music has been shown to be an effective workout boost, forego your headphones while running at night. This way your hearing is at its best and you can sense any cars or people around you. There’s a reason so many races are going music-free – a University of Maryland study found that 74 percent of pedestrian injuries occurred because of headphone use.

Road ID These bracelets allow you to wear any critical information and emergency contacts on your wrist, shoe, ankle or whatever you choose. You can include information that’s essential to you, like name, contact numbers and allergies should anything happen. The company’s new app allows you to update five contacts from your phone about the workout you’re about to do, such as “going on a three-hour ride,” which will also alert them if you’re stationary in your location for more than five minutes without turning off the alarm. Road IDs seem to be most popular among cyclists, but it’s a great safety accessory for any runner or athlete.

Self-Defense Spray There are a variety of options out there, most spraying up to 10 feet. For comfort, try one like The Runner, a three-in-one pepper, tear gas and UV dye spray. This model is made for the active, as it fits in the palm of your hand, has an adjustable strap for comfort and only weights 0.75 ounces.

Photo by Ryan Murphy

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