It’s that time of year again where we are forced to spend a great deal of time running in the dark (or worse yet on treadmills!) For me the cold and dark outside usually trumps treadmill running. Unfortunately an unavoidable evil of this is exposure to traffic while running in the dark. As a result I try to do everything I can to be visible to nearby motorists for my own safety.
I purchased a Nathan Streak Vest last year to use for winter running. I used it all last winter, and have pulled it out again
this fall. While some of my warmer running gear is bright and reflective, I also have some that is dark colored. This is where I really like having this lightweight, bright vest with lots of reflectivity. I can throw it on over my darker clothing and I don’t even notice it. The velcro is well positioned to not interfere with arm movement, and I don’t find it shifts around at all while running. The material is nice and light so I don’t have to worry about it making me too warm or reducing the breathability of the clothing I am wearing. Overall it’s something you don’t even notice – usually a sign of a good running product!
I find even with lights and reflective materials it is even more important to be hyper-aware of traffic when running in the dark evenings in fall and winter – it can be difficult to see runners while driving when you have oncoming headlights, poor street lighting, etc. to deal with. I also suspect that many drivers aren’t expecting to see runners/pedestrians out on the streets in the dark when it’s cold out. I have gotten out of the habit of wearing headphones while running, which is an even bigger advantage when running in the dark because it frees up another of my senses to be aware of what is going on around me.