The clocks have gone back, there is darkness all around; from the moment you get up to when you are back from work, the only ray of light at this time of year should be that coming from you and your running clothing!
Staying visible is really important when you are out running. It sounds like common sense, but there are so many runners who go out dressed head to toe in black and it is irresponsible. Not only should you highlight to pedestrians that you are running so they can get out of your way, and not get scared that runners are creeping up on them in the darkness, but busses, cars, lorries and cyclists will be able to see you and act appropriately.
Colourful Colours. Most high visibility clothing is bright yellow, but it could be any florescent colour. Ladies be happy - pink is a great high visibility colour, because it is not a colour often found in nature, it will stand out against autumn leaves.
Reflection is king. The better the product the more Scotchlite™ tape will be on the garment. The tape is a reflective material, which will bounce light off it and glow, making you more visible. This tape is expensive, so you should find more of it on a garment that is more expensive.
Science of Scotchlite™! The tape will have the visibility of about 500 candles (yes, they measure it in candles), however on regular tape this will only be if the light hits the tape directly face on. If you catch it at an angle, it will only be 100 candles. adidas have just bought out their adiVIZ range that has scotchlite™ tape that gives 400 candles off, but this will be from any angle, not just from head on - making you more visible at night.
Let there be light. Try to stick to well light pavements and roads. There are over 7.5 million streetlights in the UK, so plan your running route using as many of those to guide you as possible.
Be your own lighthouse. Your own light to guide you can be very useful. Headtorches are inexpensive and will light up the road in front of you, especially if you can't find a route which is well lit. They don't affect your running and means you can see where those feet are landing.
It's faster at night. You will actually feel like you are running faster at night than at day. There is a reason for this. We judge speed by using optic flow information and motion parallax. We know that things move past us at various speeds. The ground below you moves very quickly, but that pub at the end of the road only slowly comes closer during your run. Our brain takes all this information in and can process our feeling of speed. At night we remove a lot of this optic information, we only see the things close to us moving quickly, not the pub at the end of the road. So, we feel as though we are flying along on our run.
It's cooler at night. It will be colder at night, so wrapping up warm is important. Perhaps just putting on a high viz vest will keep you warm, but a good pair of running tights would be a sensible purchase. Find some with Scothlite™ tape on them and combine heat with visibility! However, don't need to put loads of layers on because it is a bit cooler, you will warm up during you run. The best way to think of this is dress how you will finish the run. Going for a nice easy run, get an extra layer on. Out for a 10k speed session, leave the fleece at home!
Don't be afraid to look like a Christmas tree. Wearing lights on your body is a great way to be seen. These lights will usually be red. Studies have suggested that red carries the strongest reaction of all the colours.
Leave the tunes out. It is dark so things should be a lot more peaceful, the roads quieter and pavements emptier. We have already removed a lot of your sense of sight, so don't make things worse for yourself by strapping on the headphones and removing another sense.
Accessorise. It isn't just the jacket that can light up. There are gloves, hats and rucksacks that all have high visibility properties so get creative. Companies like SealSkinz and Proviz have some amazing products, check out the high viz product page for product reviews.
There is no reason to dress like a ninja during the night. Statistics show that darkness increases the level of risk on the roads, to drivers and pedestrians alike, so do your bit. Remember, be safe, be seen.