November is National Running Safety Month, and it also happens to be the first of many challenging, wintry months for runners. Now more than ever, it’s important to stay safe on the roads and trails. Take a look at some the best running safety tips for a worry-free November!

Get The Right Gear

The dwindling sunlight in late fall means that it’s getting colder and darker outside each week. Before winter hits, take the time to pick up a weatherproof jacket to keep you warm and dry in all weather conditions. Reflective surfaces can keep you safe too, and investing in a quality headlamp will improve visibility. You’ve probably heard that twilight is the most dangerous time on the road, and the end of daylight savings time means that the sun sets earlier. Don’t forget that the late afternoon run you’re used to could leave you in the dark!

Stay Alert

In order to run safely, you need to stay alert. Cyclists, motorists, and even other pedestrians can sometimes appear unexpectedly, especially around blind turns. Always run against traffic, and use all of your senses to be aware of your surroundings. It’s safest to keep your music turned down, only wear an earbud in one ear, or leave the tunes at home when running in busy areas. And watch your step on potentially uneven surfaces. Trails, sidewalks, and even roads can present tripping hazards, especially in the rain or snow.

Be Prepared

Running with a cell phone may sound cumbersome, but your phone is particularly helpful when running on a new route or in uncharted territory. Having some cash or a credit card on hand could bail you out in the case of an emergency; you never know when you’ll need a cab ride or a quick snack mid-run. Above all, don’t forget your ID. Whether you wear a runner’s ID or carry a driver’s license, you don’t want to be caught without identification when you need it most.

Plan Ahead

An aimless ramble on the roads might sound fun and relaxing for plenty of runners, but with temperatures dropping and the sun setting earlier, now is the time to plan ahead before stepping outside. Running familiar routes is the safest option, but if you want to wander, have a backup plan and budget enough daylight to stay safe. Sticking to well-populated areas can give you peace of mind as well, so that help won’t be far away if needed.

Any sport or exercise brings its own share of risk, but running year-round doesn’t have to be scary. Take your time and use your head to stay safe and strong through winter and beyond!