Stay Safe and Shine Bright with Alex’s Top Tips for Running Confidently in the Winter

The longest day may be behind us, but those dark mornings and long nights aren’t going anywhere just yet…

No matter how motivated you are to embrace the outdoors and hit your training goals, there should be one top priority for every run in the winter: safety.

As a running coach at a female-only club, Expedition Leader Alex knows the importance of running safely in the winter.

“Running in the evening or even early morning may be the most practical option for many of our club members. Year round, we ensure to accommodate our sessions to everyone’s schedules, so that we can get more women running. This also means that we have to pay more attention to safety. I’ve built up an excellent knowledge of safety tips and advice for running in the winter, that every runner – no matter their gender – should be aware of”.

As you lace up to train for the Cancer Research UK London Winter Run in February, make sure to stay safe with Alex’s 5 Top Tips for running with confidence in the dark, winter months.



Alex’s Top Safety Tip Number 1: Planning is Power

Before you leave the house, the first step to running safely in the dark is to have planned your route and assessed its safety. A route plan which sticks to well-lit roads – ideally with people around – is important; it means you won’t make any spontaneous decisions which could lead you to potentially unsafe areas.

When deciding on a route, always stick to well-lit roads and avoid remote or particularly quiet areas. If the route is residential, anticipate cars pulling out of driveways and consider running closer to the curb.


Alex’s Pre-Run Quick-Fire Questions

  1. Do you know the route?
  2. Do you have to cross many roads?
  3. Are the roads well-lit?
  4. How narrow are the roads?
  5. Are there going to be people around at all times?
  6. Are cars pulling out of driveways?


Alex’s Top Safety Tip Number 2: See and Be Seen

Stop putting off that eye test! Clear vision helps you to see hazards you might miss in the dark, such as potholes, curbs, wet leaves and ice.

What’s more, a high visibility jacket is your best friend in the winter months. Wear it at night – but also in dull or overcast conditions during the day (check me out in my colourful kit below!)

Finally, for runs where there is little artificial light, an attachable running headlamp can be a good option to stay visible – however, I would always recommend trail running during daylight hours (or at least running in a group). 


Alex’s Top Tip Number 3: Buddy Up

Running with a club or group increases your motivation to train and also – most importantly- your safety while out in the open. Before you and your group of high-vis heroes set off, make sure everyone knows the route and, especially for larger groups, make sure that everyone is accounted for regularly. 


Alex’s Top Tip Number 4: Unplug (your music)

Unfortunately, the combination of poor vision in darkness with music is a safety recipe for disaster. You need to keep your wits about you and senses as sharp as possible when running in the winter – especially when visibility is low and there may be fewer people out and about.

So, save your pump-up playlist for the gym or fair weather runs in open-spaces like parks. On the bright side, running without audio can be relaxing and even quite therapeutic!


Alex’s Top Tip Number 5: Keep Connected

Before setting off on your run, always let a friend, partner or family member know where you are running and for roughly how long.

In case of emergencies, you should also always bring a charged phone with you and consider downloading a tracking app, such as RoadiD or Strava Beacon. These apps are designed for keeping you safe in emergencies – for example, Strava Beacon lets you share your live location with up to three people while you exercise.


With that said, enjoy star-lit sessions safely and with confidence for the remainder of the winter months.

Thank you Alex for sharing your tips!