Running Safely

I have been provided with free Energizer products to
permit me to review 
them. The opinions expressed in
this post are my own and do not necessarily represent
the opinions of Energizer Canada Inc.

With the fall and winter seasons approaching, runners start thinking about how the change in daylight affects their running schedules. Currently in Ottawa, it starts to get light at 6am and it is dark by 8pm. Soon it will be darker even sooner. There are still many races still to come in the season: Army Run, Chicago Marathon, NYC Marathon and others. For those who are running the NYC marathon – the last weeks of the training cycle will have runners most likely running in the dark (unless they have non-typical working hours).  Winterman, a race during Winterlude, happens in the middle of February – it is really hard to find daylight running time!

With saying that: safety starts becoming an even bigger concern when running in the dark. Personally, I try to avoid running in the dark – but if I do go ahead with the NYC Marathon next year, I will need to run in the dark more often. So, there are a variety of things that one needs to keep in mind while running in the dark.

Running in the Dark Suggestions:

1. Wear reflective clothing – many running shirts that I have from MEC and The Running Room already have strips of reflective material on them.

2. Run with a Buddy – always a good option in any light condition

3. If you can’t run with a Buddy – Have a set route and let someone know where you are going

4. Carry a cell (I know, easier said then done)

5. Stick to routes that you know and are ‘busy’ (meaning no Ottawa River trail for me – I stick to the streets)

6. Wear a headlight

So lets talk about headlights.  Back years ago I was starting my camp job after finishing university. I brought a crappy $5 flashlight and thought that I was set. When I got there, I saw many staff members wearing these cool headlights. I totally wanted one. I didn’t actually get one until 2008, when P gave me one for Christmas. Now I use it all the time: camping, reading when Max was in our room, snowshoeing and to look in dark places. I might have also played the ‘flashlight’ game with Max when I was pregnant with him…..

Anyways, Energizer has sent me one of their headlights to try out. The Energizer Micro LED headlight has two light settings: the standard white light and night vision. The White light dims from 100%-6%. With an Energizer battery, the white light will last for 2 hours, while the red night vision will last for 8 hours. It is really light (less than 60 grams) and is weather proof (ya, because runners don’t stay home because of a little drizzle!). The headlamp comes with a lifetime guarantee and is available for about $35.

So out of the package, I really like the fact that this headlamp has a red night vision light. My previous headlamp does not. This is really useful for when you are out camping, need to go to the bathroom, but don’t want to be woken up fully by the white light. When I set up the lamp, I must admit it looks a little ugly. My other headlamp has the battery within the lamp, so there are no wires sticking out. With this headlamp, the battery is put behind, which does balance things out a bit more. Also, the straps are adjusted with velcro, not a sliding adjuster. The headlight fits perfectly on my head, but may not fit on someone else’s perfectly. The material on the inside of the band is nice and soft, which will become important once you start bobbing up and down while running.

So now for the running part. I took the headlight out for a little run. It was very light weight! One of the problems with my other headlight is that because it is so heavy on the front, it bobs up and down a bit while I run. The Energizer Micro headlamp didn’t do that. It was nice and light, barely knew it was there. I also like the dim feature as on the city streets, as I do not necessarily need a light source – I just really need people to be aware that I am there. Having tested out the headlight indoors in the dark, I’m sure the headlight would suffice for winter time snowshoeing as well! As mentioned before, I am lucky that the headlight fits me well – with the velcro adjustments, it may not fit perfectly. Some people might not care, but I kind of do. Overall, the headlight does what it is supposed to do and is a good option if you are looking for something a bit more light-weight than the usual headlights out there. It may not be the most fashionable choice, but it does the job!

All in all, a headlight is a good investment not just for running, but to have on hand when you need it! As always, remember to be safe while running – that includes planning a good safe route and taking precautions when out in the dark!

Happy Running!

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