Want to know what products we have to be seen or to see with? Austin Bonds finishes our visibility series with a list of helpful products!
According to author and marathoner Dr. George Sheehan, running is a journey into revelation. He describes it like this: “Out on the roads, there is fitness and self-discovery and the persons we were destined to be.” Running has helped me discover much about myself. This simple, cardiovascular activity is a remarkable pathway towards discipline, diligence, and distance. Running is a proving ground for discovering my perceived boundaries – and then exceeding them. Running doesn’t require much either, though a good pair of shoes is an excellent starting point. (Big Peach Running Co. Guest Advocates can take care of that) The right gear enhances any run, though, and this truth is readily apparent when it comes to workouts at night.
As the “Fire Up Your Run” series comes to a close, I’d like to take a few moments and unpack some thoughts on product selection. Before I begin, however, let’s revisit the four principles of note on the subject of visibility. First, see and be seen. Second, know the route you run and what hazards may exist on the road (e.g. potholes, loose gravel, and cracks). Third, run with friends if possible. Seek out a Big Peach Running Co. group run near your home and join up with the glowing herd. Fourth, find a night race and run fast. Set a new personal record in the process. In short, have fun. Here is the fifth and final principle: invest in visibility gear. Since 360-degree visibility is based on donning multiple points of light, I suggest that we look at products for the whole body. From head to toe, this will be an illuminating makeover for sure.
1. Head. Daylight and temperature will drop in tandem as the coming months unfold. Accordingly, acquire a thermal cap of some kind to keep your head warm, and look for one that has some reflective strips on the front and back. A headlamp will be a welcome addition to the cap, and Nathan has three models for your consideration: the Nebula Fire, Neutron Fire, and Halo Fire. With 115 to 288 lumens and multiple brightness settings available depending on the model of interest, you will see and be seen by other runners and any automobiles in the area.
2. Arms. Remember my reference to Slap Wraps in the second article of this series? Apparently, they didn’t go out of style as Nathan makes reflective snap bracelets in three colors (green, blue, and yellow). Slap one down across each wrist. For added visibility on the arms, look no further than the LightBender. Available with a replaceable battery or with a USB cord for multiple charges, the LightBender is sweat proof, water resistant, and durable. Finally, the Zephyr Fire flashlight, which produces 113 lumens, is a strong complement to the headlamp for brightening the path before you.
3. Chest. If you refer back to the second article again, you will recall the reference to a neon colored shirt as a base layer of sorts. This is the starting point for 360-visibility. An ideal product to complement the shirt is a vest of some kind. Nathan offers numerous models, and these too are brightly colored (think orange and safety yellow). Which is best? Think about your running needs. Some have zippered pockets for storage; some have LED lights; all have reflective strips. Try one on at your local Big Peach to get a sense of the fit.
4. Legs. In light of the cooling temperatures, many runners opt for tights for added warmth. Unfortunately, many tights are black in color, so this is where reflective strips again become a valuable commodity on the fabric. Nathan offers reflective ankle bands for added visibility, though the trendy snap bracelets are equally effective at the base of the leg.
5. Shoes. Shoes are straight forward, and they are bright these days. Mark Remy, creator of Dumb Runner, puts it this way: “In their efforts to get noticed, shoe designers appear to be engaged in a frantic, no-holds-barred battle, deploying stripes, strips, mesh, bumps, bits, grids, insets, cutouts, layers, panels, studs, grooves, welts, ridges, text, logos, icons, and colors not found in nature to see who can produce the tackiest-looking (i.e. most noticeable) product.” As I said – shoes are bright these days. Reflective Lock Laces from Nathan can only add to this wow factor, and they also negate the need to keep tying your shoes. The icing on the shoe cake comes by way of the LightSpur, an LED light that affixes to the heel of a shoe. Remember, 360-visibility is the focus.
You may have noticed that I haven’t referenced lights much yet. They deserve their own paragraph as there are quite a few to select from. Here’s the rundown from Nathan: the StrobeLight, Mag Strobe, Pulsar Strobe, Orion Strobe, HyperBrite Strobe, and Lux Strobe. The aforementioned lights are versatile. They can be situated all over the body. Affix any one of these dazzling lights to the front or back neck collar of your shirt or vest. Sandwich one between your shoe laces. Clip one to the bottom of your shorts or the bill of a cap. The possibilities abound.
Between the headlamp, vest, flashlight, and strobes, ample visibility for night runs is undoubtedly doable. Yes, there will be extra gear to carry, but this is a small sacrifice for the sake of safety when light is gone for the day. Is there an ideal product mix amongst these options? I suggest a visibility package of some kind that incorporates a minimum of two pieces of gear. I favor a neon yellow shirt, a headlamp, two strobes, and snap bracelets. Other runners might gravitate towards a vest, flashlight, and the LightSpur for shoes. Both are valid packages. What’s yours going to look like? Enlist the wisdom of a fellow runner or a Big Peach Running Co. Guest Advocate for added insight and perspective. What’s left to say about visibility? Not much I suppose, at least for now. Venture out into the night and discover more of yourself on the area roads and sidewalks. Make sure others see you though too.
Austin Bonds is a Guest Advocate at the Big Peach Suwanee location.