Whether you are an early bird or a night owl, when it comes to autumn and winter you're likely to be running in low light or darkness. No matter where you plan to run, it's important to see where you are going and also for others to see you.
The more visible you are, the less likely that collisions will happen. Be that with other pedestrians, road users or branches on trees! One of the easiest ways to make yourself visible is to wear running lights (and wear reflective clothing). Here's everything you need to know about brightening up your nighttime miles.
Do you need a light to run at night?
Even if you are able to see clearly when you step out the door, don't assume that others will see you. Darkness draws in quickly and so wearing a light will make you more visible to others at all times. You may be running under street lights and on paths, but it's better to be safe and be seen than be sorry. If you are crossing any roads, a light will make you easier to spot for road users and other pedestrians. For those of you who like to trail run, a running light will help light the way too.
Types of running lights
Head torches are great for lighting the path ahead of you. Most head torches use LED for bright, long-lasting light. They come in different styles, some with single bulbs/LEDs or some with multiple bulbs/LEDs. Single lights act as a spotlight whereas multiple bulbs/LEDs spread the illumination meaning you can see more to the sides as well. Many headlamps offer both the spotlight and multiple LED options and you can switch between the settings based on where you are and what you need.
Clip-on lights are great for attaching to bags/ hydration vests so you can be seen from behind too.
How many lumens do I need for night running?
Lumens are the measure of the brightness or intensity of light. If you are a road runner, where you'll be mostly running around streetlights or car beams, we recommend getting a headlamp that can crank out around 100-200 lumens. For those who love to tackle the trails or run off the beaten path, a head torch with 300 lumens will light the way so you don't take a wrong step and roll an ankle. Many headlamps have multiple settings so that you can click the torch onto the brightness that you require.
Rechargeable or battery-powered?
Lots of running lights can be charged up via a USB cable and will last for many, many runs. This can be more convenient than using batteries because you don't have to remember to buy batteries when the brightness starts to fade or the light runs out completely. Simply plug it in, wait for it to charge and off you go.
Features to look out for
Most running lights are at least shower-proof but waterproof is best. Once the heavens open, you don't want your light to die and leave you in the darkness. Be sure to also check out the weight of head torches and how the strap can be adjusted as you don't want it to start slipping down your head or feeling too heavy. It can often be tempting to purchase the cheapest options, but lights are made to keep runners safe, so investing a little more will be worth it and stop you from buying twice.